International Olympic Committee Press Release, 02 November 2011: French freestyle skier Kevin Rolland was unveiled today as the latest Youth Olympic Games Ambassador for the first edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck from 12 to 23 January 2012.
Rolland, 22, joins figure skater Yuna Kim and Alpine skiers Lindsey Vonn and Benjamin Raich as Ambassadors for the upcoming Games. Rolland was introduced in his new role by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge during an informal media gathering with Kim on the sidelines of the Bidding for the Games meetings in Lausanne.
Rolland, a FIS Freestyle World Ski champion, is aiming to make his mark at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, which will feature halfpipe skiing for the first time on the Olympic programme following its debut at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck.
The role of the Youth Olympic Games Ambassadors is to inspire and mentor the athletes competing at Innsbruck 2012, while encouraging young people from all over the world to become more active in sport.
“It’s a great honour to be part of the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games and to share the responsibility of being an Ambassador with such a fantastic group of athletes,” Rolland said. “The values of the Olympic Games have always been important to me and with ski halfpipe now on the Olympic programme I can finally realise my dream of becoming an Olympian at Sochi 2014.
I hope my story helps inspire the young athletes going to Innsbruck 2012 to reach for their dreams and to make the most of the unique opportunities the Youth Olympic Games have to offer.”
President Rogge said: “Kevin is a gifted athlete who embodies the passion and energy of his sport and I am certain he will have a huge impact on the athletes he comes in contact with as Youth Olympic Games Ambassador. Kevin can surely lead by example as a young man of 22 who has already been at the pinnacle of freestyle skiing for a number of years.”
Kevin, along with Kim and Vonn, also features in a new IOC social media contest designed to engage with young fans called “I Copy U”. Launched today, fans are tasked with tweeting a photo of themselves copying the poses of their favourite athletes. The winner of the contest will win a trip to Innsbruck for the Games.
Innsbruck 2012 will attract over 1,000 top athletes between the ages of 15 and 18 from 65 countries. The athletes will compete in the same seven sports as those on the programme of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in 2014, but a number of the 63 events will feature for the first time at an Olympic event. These include ski halfpipe, snowboard slopestyle and women’s ski jumping.
In addition to mixed gender events, there will also be mixed National Olympic Committee competitions. The athletes will also participate in a Culture and Education Programme (CEP) featuring fun and engaging activities designed to provide guidance on a wide range of topics, including the Olympic values, the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle, and the prevention of sports injuries, among others.