Eight time FIH Player of the Year to inspire the next generation
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today that Argentinian hockey legend Luciana Aymar will be an official Ambassador for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires.
As one of the most successful players in the history of the game, the eight time FIH Player of the Year will use her experiences from winning four Olympic (two silver and two bronze) and four Hockey World Cup (two gold and two bronze) medals to inspire and educate young people around the world, including thousands of athletes who will be competing at the YOG between 1-12 October in 2018.
The news was announced following a day in which Luciana brought hockey to the people of Buenos Aires in a number of activities staged in the city last Friday.
This included a coaching session and skills clinic with Luciana and around 300 local school children at the Pope Francis Hockey Club in the south of the city - an area of Buenos Aires targeted by the local government in need of urban regeneration. There she was assisted by four Youth Olympians who claimed the bronze medals for Argentina women at the Nanjing 2014 YOG.
Speaking of this announcement, Luciana said: “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 the 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.”
FIH President Leandro Negre was also delighted that one of hockey’s greatest ever players will be an official Ambassador. He said: “There’s no one better to take on this hugely important role than Luciana. Whilst her hockey achievements are truly inspirational, she has always been a role model both on and off the field.”
He continued: “We’ve seen a lot of passion and energy from the local organising committee in Buenos Aires already and that’s exactly the qualities that Luciana will bring with her. I have no doubt that she will be looking to ensure that the YOG in her homeland is an amazing experience for all of the young athletes competing there, and the millions more following this event around the world.”
The last Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in 2014 saw 10 men’s and 10 women’s teams compete in an exciting Hockey 5’s tournament. You can relive some of the action from 2014 by visiting the Olympic YouTube channel by clicking here.
For more information about the Youth Olympic Games, visit the IOC’s website by clicking here.
Live hockey action is taking place this week in Argentina with the women’s Argentina Hockey World League Final taking place in Rosario between 5-13 December. For more information about this event, click here.
Luciana Aymar with YOG 2014 bronze medallists from Argentina, along with Argentina men's goalkeeper Joaquin Berthold
Photos: IOC/Pablo Elias