Thursday, June 24, 2010

Olympic Day

Hey folks!

As most of you probably know, there was a big birthday celebration going on all over the world yesterday. On June 23rd, 1894, Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee in Paris, France. Two years later, the Ancient Olympic games were revived in Athens and started to shape the world of sports as we know it.

Being the Young Ambassador of Austria, I had the chance and privilege to take part in the official celebrations in my home country. And what better place could there possibly be to celebrate Olympic Day than in an Olympic Training Center. Since there are four of them in Austria, we also had four celebrations going on. I took part in the celebrations at the Institute for Sports Medicine and Science (IMSB) in Maria Enzersdorf, Lower Austria. The center has been closely working with Austrian (Olympic) athletes for nearly 30 years and is one of the leading institutions in Europe.

In this blog entry, I will write a little review about the Olympic Day celebration. However, in the next couple of days, I will also pick up some of the themes that were discussed or just arose in the course of the festivities.

To celebrate Olympic Day, two classes (approx. 50 students) from a nearby high school focusing on sports were invited to the IMSB. They were welcomed by Paul Schauer, president of the Austrian Swimming Federation and vice president to the Austrian Olympic Committee. He gave a very inspiring speech about Olympism and what it means to live your life by the Olympic values and to give your best every single day. For me, it was very cool how the Olympic Values and the Olympic Spirits easily transcend generations. Because although I am some 40 years younger than Mr. Schauer, I share the same message with people out there.

Following Mr. Schauer, Peter Seisenbacher, two-times Olympic champion in Judo spoke about what it means to be a champion and, even more important, how to become one. And then it was my turn to give a presentation about the YOG. I was a little nervous, since I had to present after two exceptional personalities in Austrian sports, however, it all went very well and I think I could transport the YOG message. To wrap up the presentations, Prof. Holdaus, the IMSB's director, talked about the range of services his institute offers.

And then, it was time for action! At altogether six different check points, the kids could experience what professional training means.
  • They went to the weight room and got a lecture on how weight training is done (and not done)
  • They met with the Austrian fencing team preparing for London 2012 and Rio 2016 and learned some cool fencing moves.
  • They tested their speed and reaction time at a fun performance diagnostics site
  • They practiced on the beach volleyball court with two Austrian Olympians
  • They tried out field hockey, coached by members of the Austrian team that won the European Championship
  • They were introduced to rowing by no less than Paul Sieber, who will represent Austria in Singapore!!
All in all, it was an action packed day and the kids really enjoyed it. Besides giving a presentation to reach out to the kids, I also got the chance to talk to two of the athletes going to Singapore and get to know them a little. It goes without saying that they are very excited and looking forward to the Games. So after Olympic Day, there is only one thing left: Counting down the days until Singapore!

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