"It's a subject which I feel strongly about so I am happy to share my experiences with future champions"
Working closely with the CIO, a number of international federations, the University of Lausanne (UNIL), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL) and the University Hospital of Vaud (CHUV), Lausanne 2020 is preparing an educational programme for the 2020 athletes. 1,880 athletes, from more than 70 countries, will be able to benefit from a very varied programme, which will help them to deepen their knowledge of many different subjects. On offer will be advice about training on the basis of performance tests; how to prevent bullying and concussion in sport; meeting champions; dealing with the media; and much more.
Well-known athletes are often the best spokespeople. The following Lausanne 2020 ambassadors have offered their services for this educational activity: Fanny Smith, Sarah Atcho, Killian Peier, Pat Burgener, Augustin Maillefer, Timea Bacsinszky, Camillia Berra and Sarah Meier. They have been filmed talking about safety, with regard to several medical issues, in the context of the programme, Health for performance.
This time, it was the turn of the ice-hockey star, Cristobal Huet, to teach youngsters about 'Stress Management'. We were able to ask him a few questions, and we also talked to Stéphane Tercier, a sports doctor and pediatric surgeon. He is in charge of the SportAdo clinic at the CHUV and, for Lausanne 2020, of the health and safety aspects of the educational programme.
In the context of the educational programme, you have been producing videos about health and safety with well-known athletes. What does your project consist in exactly?
Stéphane Tercier : "These videos are part of a package called Health for Performance. In this context, we seek to give young athletes simple tips and advice about sports medicine in an innovative way. The message often has a greater impact if it is delivered by seasoned sportspeople. This is why we asked the Lausanne 2020 ambassadors to take on the task. Many of them have been very willing to help, which is most pleasing."
Cristobal Huet is one of them. You have made a video on stress management: is stress an emotion goal keepers have to be able to control?
Cristobal Huet : "As a Lausanne 2020 ambassador, I see myself as someone who can share and transmit the experiences I've had over the last few years as an elite sportsman. Stress is a subject of interest to all athletes, and hockey players are no exception. For a goalie, being able to stay calm and in control of the situation is essential. Every day, you have to be careful to keep a positive attitude. Sometimes, it's the opposite and you have to challenge yourself to get back on to the right track, depending on your stress levels or mental state. You can also learn to manage your stress by trying to put things into perspective: sport might occupy a very important place in our lives, but, at the end of the day, it is "just" sport."
In January 2020, the best young hockey players in the world are coming to Lausanne, to "your" ice rink. What advice do you have for them?
Cristobal Huet : "Breathing and relaxation exercises help a lot. They help you to refocus on yourself. You also have to try to eliminate anything potentially stressful, particularly by adapting your routine and making sure you sleep enough. It's extremely important to create a positive environment around yourself, with your coach, your parents and your friends. And don't hesitate to talk about stress with specialists, who will be able to give you good advice so that you are ready for D-Day.
My hope for the young Lausanne 2020 athletes is that they give of their best and have fun too. If you have trained regularly and as you should, then you can hope for results you can be proud of."
After this clip, there will be two more, with Timea Bacsinszky and Camillia Berra. In the end, 10 subjects will have been covered. Is that the goal?
Stéphane Tercier : "When you see adolescents regularly, those who practise a sport at a high level as well as those who practise at a lower level but on a regular basis, say three or four times a week, you realise that there are many variables that need to be watched with these growing adolescents. As doctors specialised in adolescent health, we watch these factors and offer treatment to those who need it. But sometimes, we intervene a bit late; treatment can be invasive and surgery might be required. With this sort of targeted safety advice, I try to make them aware of issues in a fun way, using modern technology. As youngsters use social networks a lot, the aim was to offer safety advice through short videos.
For youngsters, the message has a greater impact when it is delivered by well-known athletes with whom they can identify. When they are building, or have achieved, a brilliant career, these role models add to the forcefulness of the message. They are no longer just ambassadors of Olympic values, but also of the idea that health is fundamental to performance, just like regular and suitable training.
The aim of the videos is to make as many adolescents as possible, from the most athletic to the most sedentary, aware of the issues so that they can all practise a suitable physical activity. If we manage to do that, then we feel we have succeeded!"