OLYMPIC REVIEW37YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMESYOUNGAMBASSADORSFLORIAN KOGLER,YOUNG AMBASSADOR FORAUSTRIAERIN KENNEDY, YOUNG AMBASSADOR FOR USAWhat were the highlights of the YOG for you?Some of the things that made the Games such anincredible experience were the team spirit withinTeam Austria, where all the athletes and coachessupported each other and formed friendships to last,and the warm-hearted and welcoming people inSingapore, inviting us to their marvellous city andhosting excellent Games. What else made the YOG special for you?The multicultural atmosphere at the Youth OlympicVillage, where over 200 nations could live next toeach other without any problem, and the activities of the Culture and Education Programme, which tried to help athletes grow and develop. Were there any particular highlights for you?I watched France beat the Cook Islands 58-4 athandball. However, what was remarkable was thatinstead of shouting at each other or losing theirspirits, the underdogs had fun. They were doing sometricks they've learned, interacted with the audienceand never gave up trying. And after the Game wasover, they had a blast in the mixed interview zone. Of course nobody likes to lose. However, if you cantake a bad defeat and still enjoy the game to the max, then you have understood what it is all about.What have you been able to take from the YouthOlympic Games?I came into this role uncertain of what I would be doing. I was uncertain of what I would get out of it. I wasuncertain of many things. I leave the Games now certain. I am certain that my presence at the Games was anexperience of a lifetime. I am certain that I leave theseGames a better person than when I entered. I am certainthat these athletes' lives have changed for the positive.What did you enjoy most about being a YoungAmbassador?I did a lot of different things at the Games, whichincluded logistical and administrative stuff and alsohanging out with athletes and fellow Ambassadors. I enjoyed spending time at competitions and participatingin cultural activities. I spent time getting to know many of our athletes not just as competitors, but as people.Were there any particular highlights for you?Watching Max [Schneider] compete for the gold medal[in judo] still gives me chills. Seeing him counter throwhis opponent and then drop to his knees in pureastonishment that he had just won was incredible. Do you think the YOG succeeded in educating young athletes about culture?In a heartbeat. Ask any athlete that participated in theYOG and ask them what the best part was.Reverberating like a drum you will hear: culture.
38OLYMPIC REVIEWYOUTH OLYMPIC GAMESHow do the Youth Olympic Games compare toother championships that you've competed in?It's the best one! It's a great feeling to be able to say I'm the YOG's fastest boy. Seeing the Olympicrings made me feel like I'm on the biggest stage and it helped me perform to my best. It's a greatfeeling to represent my country and have Jamaica on my chest.What was going through your mind when youcrossed the finish line?I won! I'm the champion and I made history. It was a very emotional moment for me.How much will this experience help you prepare for the future?This trip is a learning experience. It helps to knowabout different people, countries and cultures. Now,when I go to different countries, I know what toexpect when I get there.How much do you look up to people like Usain Bolt?Very much. Usain is an ambassador for our countryand he makes Jamaica proud.How much have you enjoyed the YOG?It's been awesome. Our event went over the wholetwo weeks, but we still managed to do some of theculture and education activities and they've beenreally good too. It's really interesting to see how other people are,what they do, what they eat. We've been trying tospeak to a lot of them, but sometimes we can't reallyunderstand each other. I've made quite a few new friends.How does it feel to represent your country?It makes you feel so much bigger and stronger, justknowing that you're playing for your country.Competing for Australia is something that doesn'thappen every day.What's it been like knowing that you'recompeting on the Olympic stage?It's awesome. Even wearing the Olympic rings on our shirt is just something I'm so proud of.Do you see the YOG as an important part of your sporting career?Hopefully it's a stepping stone. I'm sure going to tryand push on and get into the Olympic Games. It's been a real inspiration.YOUNG ATHLETESODEAN SKEEN(JAM) - GOLD MEDALLIST IN MEN'S 100MCASEY HAMMOND(AUS) - GOLD MEDALLIST IN MEN'S HOCKEY