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Q&A with YOG Ambassador Ramone Cooper

3 January 2012

The 2012 Australian Winter Youth Olympic Team is lucky enough to have dual Olympic medallist Alisa Camplin leading them as Chef de Mission. Add to the mix Vancouver moguls Olympian Ramone Cooper and the two stars are providing a brilliant platform for Australia's future Winter Olympic stars. Cooper is a Young Ambassador for the inaugural Games and gives us a rundown of what to expect in Innsbruck this January.

As a Young Ambassador for the Australian team, what does your role in Innsbruck entail?

I'll be one of 33 Young Ambassadors from the 65 competing Nations at the first Winter Youth Olympics. As well as spreading the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games, one of my main tasks is to
prepare our athletes for the Culture & Education Programme (CEP). The CEP will provide athletes with an opportunity to learn and develop new skills, while being immersed in different cultures and activities. From my perspective, I think the program will provide our young athletes with the tools they require to be positive role models back in their individual sporting communities and be able to become an influential ambassador of the Olympic values.

What are you most looking forward to in Innsbruck?

I have already spent some time in Innsbruck for the Chef de Mission/ Young Ambassador Seminar, and was able to go around and check out all the venues, facilities and what is in store for the CEP. It will be great to see Innsbruck in January under a different light (covered with snow) and come alive with the spirit of the Youth Olympics.

What are some points of advice that you would like to pass on to the Australian athletes competing?

I think it is important for athletes to prepare for this event, just as they have prepared for past competitions. For many of our Athletes, this will be the first time they have been exposed to a sporting environment which encompasses all winter sports and not just their own individual disciplines, so there will be a very different atmosphere then what they are familiar with. It is important that the athletes take control over the areas of their preparation that they can, and try to minimise the external distractions. However, the Youth Olympics is very much a festival of sport, and I will be encouraging the athletes to take advantage of what is on offer with the CEP, and get out and meet all the other youth athletes from around the world.

What do you think is one of the key features of the Youth Games movement?

The CEP is definitely one of the key features of the Youth Olympics. The CEP is really focused on educating athletes on the various ways they can use what they learn in sport – in life. By providing athletes with the tools to manage a successful sporting career, with their ‘life outside of sport’. The CEP will also focus on ways athletes can become an ambassador of the Olympic values (excellence, respect and friendship) in their communities, and be a positive role model for other aspiring athletes. The CEP will achieve these objectives by operating workshops and activities, covering a total of 5 subjects: Olympism, Well-Being and healthy lifestyle, Skills Development, Expression and Social Responsibility. There will be all types of activities which will include; "Chat with Champions" sessions, where athletes can meet Olympians and ask them all the things they want to know; environmental awareness activities which will take place on top of the "Nordkette", where athletes can learn more about how to protect the alpine climate; cooking workshops, where athletes can learn how to cook healthy meals appropriate for their respective sport; drumming, dancing, media labs and much more.

You’ve been to Innsbruck to see the venues and facilities… how are they looking and do you think the city’s Olympic history will be a major factor in the Games’ success?

The venues and facilities look great. Having competed myself in Vancouver 2010, everything in Innsbruck seems just as you'd expect from an Olympic Winter Games. I think the city's success in hosting previous Olympic Winter Games, has really instilled a strong spirit of Olympism amongst the locals, and with such a large proportion of Innsbruck's population being students, it will make the Youth Olympics even more relevant.


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