5 questions to Beat Tschuor, Head of Youth Development, Swiss-Ski
1) Beat, you are the Head of Youth Development for Swiss-Ski since April 2015. What are the main challenges that the next generation of Swiss skiers face and how can the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne in 2020 contribute to overcoming these challenges?
Skiing is an incredible sport that contributes to the development of children in a positive way. In a world where there are more and more opportunities available, it is even more important to make our sport as appealing as possible for the youth. The biggest challenge nowadays is to make these young people want to play in the snow and create the most favourable conditions so that they consider practicing our sport. The objective is to develop a system through which the youth will see the opportunities of a sporting career and encourages them to pursue these opportunities. The World Championships in St. Moritz were a great example of the power that major sporting events have to inspire the youth.
The Lausanne 2020 project is another incredible opportunity to encourage the youth to consider a sporting career, particularly by combining the practice of a winter sport with educational projects. With these, the participants can develop themselves as athletes but also as future professionals. Not many events offer this type of opportunity.
2) You accompanied the young Swiss skiers last year in Lillehammer. Which main lessons did you take away from this experience?
We obtained great results for the Swiss team in Lillehammer. Beyond the sporting aspect, our young athletes learnt about many key aspects for their future careers, both in sport and in the professional world, such as learning to handle success, to speak to the media. It is through this type of experience that our skiers develop and prepare themselves to handle the pressure of participating in major events. The experiences that the athletes have at the Youth Olympic Games are therefore very important for the next steps of their careers.
3) Which opportunities do the Youth Olympic Games bring for elite Swiss sport?
The Youth Olympic Games bring many beneficial opportunities for the future of sport in Switzerland. They constitute a great chance for the general public to familiarise themselves with winter sports. They have the capacity to inspire the youth and to encourage them to practice sport. These Games will also allow Swiss sport to renew sporting infrastructure and therefore guarantee their sustainable future. Finally, it is also an opportunity for the Swiss politicians to acknowledge the fact that investments in sport and in the youth are worth it. The youth is our future and we have to support it.
4) You were educated to become an electrician and you have recently been part of the Swiss Olympic education programme in sport management. You are certainly sensitive to the importance of education in the development of an elite athlete. What is the importance of academic education in the development of a young athlete and what role can the Youth Olympic Games play to promote such importance?
The Youth Olympic Games will enable the young athletes to manage the elements that will allow them to perform better on ‘D-Day’ during a major event. Many factors can influence an athlete. To learn how to manage all this constitutes a great education for the development of each athlete.
We live in a society in which education has a great importance, whether it is academic or professional. A project such as the Youth Olympic Games has to promote education through sport. It is great that these notions are essential themes of the Lausanne 2020 project.
Personally, I have had the chance to benefit from many different types of education, both academically and practically. I can apply this education many aspects in my work every day. Indeed, because of the education that I have received, I have the privilege to work in sport – my passion – and I am very grateful for this!
5) In which way can the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne in 2020 inspire the next generation of Swiss skiers?
Our goal is to reach our objectives by doing specific work with our young athletes. 2020 is the perfect target for today’s youth, as we will have many opportunities to win medals. The Youth Olympic Games also constitutes a great opportunity for the youth to make a name for themselves on a national and international stage, and therefore create awareness that will help them approach potential sponsors and partners.