International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced Argentinian hockey legend Luciana Aymar as an Ambassador for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, which will take place between 1 and 12 October 2018.
The four-time Olympic medallist and eight-time FIH Player of the Year got off to a flying start in her role by participating in two days of activities to support the local Organising Committee in its mission to “bring sport to the people”. On Friday she started by hosting a hockey skills clinic at the Madre del Pueblo Club with 350 budding hockey players from the south of the city – an area of Buenos Aires targeted by the local government in need of urban regeneration. Assisted by Argentinian Youth Olympic hockey players, who claimed bronze at Nanjing 2014, together they spent several hours teaching essential hockey skills, giving advice and chatting with the youngsters.
In collaboration with the International Hockey Federation, on Saturday Luciana made a guest appearance in the lead-up to the opening match between Great Britain and Argentina at the Hockey World League final in Rosario, north of Buenos Aires. To an ecstatic crowd, Luciana gave a brief speech about her new role and what it means to have the Youth Olympic Games in her home country.
“Being named as an Ambassador for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in my home country, Argentina, is simply awesome! Buenos Aires is an unbelievably passionate sports city and I’m so excited to be part of such a special occasion. One thing I can guarantee is that everyone coming here for the YOG will have a truly life-changing experience.”
She added: “I hope that in my role as an Ambassador and by sharing all of my amazing experiences from hockey, I will be able to inspire young people, not only in terms of sport, but also as human beings. Many of the youngsters coming to Buenos Aires will be starting out in their sports careers – some may go on to become Olympians, whilst others may go on to pursue other careers. Regardless of their future, the Olympic spirit that they will experience here in Buenos Aires will teach them all valuable life lessons. I’m sure that each and every athlete lucky enough to participate in the 2018 YOG will embrace this spirit and in doing so provide inspiration to many others in their own unique ways, whichever path they choose.”
Luciana has been chosen by the IOC to inspire young people through the Youth Olympic Games platforms to get active and enjoy sport. She is the youngest Argentinian athlete to play for the national hockey team, the only player in history to win FIH Player of the Year eight times and has been nicknamed “The Magician” (“La Maga”) for her impressive skills on the pitch that have compared her to footballer Diego Maradona.
The IOC chooses athletes for each edition of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). Sporting legends such as Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Michelle Wie, Yelena Isinbaeva, Chad le Clos and Yao Ming have supported previous summer YOGs. The promotional campaigns are shared with the 50 million fans the IOC has on its social media channels.