The Athlete Role Model (ARM) programme is a really unique element of the Youth Olympic Games. Selected by the 28 International Federations, whose sports will feature at Nanjing 2014, the ARMs include many legendary names from the world of sport, including Olympic and world champions. In Nanjing, they will play a key role in supporting, mentoring and offering advice to the 3,800 young athletes who will be participating in the Games. The ARMs will be accessible to the athletes both in the Youth Olympic Village and during a series of educational activities and workshops that will focus on areas such as skills development, how to lead healthy lifestyles, environment and social responsibility and Olympism.
Athletes at the Youth Olympic Games will get to engage in conversations with the ARMs throughout the Games. They will be behind the scenes during competition and will also be available for informal chats in the ARM lounge that will be open to all participants. The athletes can also learn valuable lessons from the ARMs during “Chat with Champions” sessions, which will also be accessible to people around the world on the IOC’s digital platforms. And YOG fans will have the opportunity to put their questions directly to the ARMs during informal chat sessions on the IOC’s social media channels.
The full list of 37 Athlete Role Models (ARMs) who will attend the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing can be found here.
Equestrian Athlete Role Model – Samantha Lam (HKG)
Hong Kong Olympian Samantha Lam is the Equestrian Athlete Role Model for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
Lam became one of the youngest athletes to contest an FEI World Cup™ Final in 1997, when she competed in Gothenburg’s Scandinavium arena in Sweden aged just 18. She went on to represent Hong Kong at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and in 2009 secured team bronze at the National Games in Jinan, China, where she was also presented with the Sportsmanship Award. In 2010, Lam helped to secure Hong Kong’s first equestrian medal, team bronze, at the Asian Games in Guangzhou (CHN).
After a short “baby break” following the birth of her son Daniel in December 2012, she jumped back in the saddle and is now competing in the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour, with her sights set firmly on the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in Korea, which open on 9 September.
“The Youth Olympic Games are a fantastic opportunity for our younger generation of athletes to get a taste for the Olympic Games, and meet athletes from different cultures”, said Samantha Lam. “Equestrian will be extra special in Nanjing, simply because our athletes will be competing for YOG medals with horses, making us entirely unique. The team format for equestrian at YOG is also very exciting with one rider from every continent forming a team, teaching our young athletes the vital sporting and life skill of working together for a common goal.”
Lam (35), who in 1993 at the age of 14 won the prestigious Spruce Meadows Junior of the Year Award, and repeated the feat in 1995, has some wise words for the young equestrians heading to Nanjing: “At the end of the day, you cannot always control the outcome. Do your best and enjoy the experience. It is not about winning, it is about sportsmanship, overcoming hardships and accepting defeat. Winning can come easy, but so can losing. It is important to be humble and be a sportsman in every situation. These are qualities that I will be teaching my son about.”
“Samantha Lam is a superb ambassador for equestrian sport and role model for our young athletes in Nanjing”, FEI President HRH Princess Haya said. “As a mother and international athlete, she is also a great role model for our young female athletes as they consider their future careers.”
“The Youth Olympic Games represent an incredible opportunity for the next generation of Olympic equestrian athletes, and Nanjing will be a valuable character building experience, which our athletes will cherish for the rest of their lives.”