Cafaro named as YOG role model
Two-time Olympic gold medallist, Erin Cafaro of the United States has been appointed as an Athlete Role Model for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing, China.Cafaro named as YOG role model
Athlete Role Models play an integral role in the YOG and have since the YOG's inception in 2010. Each sport nominates one role model who then attends the event and collectively this group of inspirational athletes act as mentors for the YOG participants.
The Athlete Role Models answer questions, provide tips and support the young athletes. Together the athletes and role models participate in the Culture and Educational Programme that focuses on Olympic values and life development that runs in conjunction with the sporting events.
Cafaro, who retired from international competition after winning gold in the women's eight at the London 2012 Olympics, was nominated for the sport of rowing.
“Erin is a very accomplished and well-educated athlete in our sport," says FISA Executive Director Matt Smith. "She will be an excellent mentor for these young athletes."
Cafaro began rowing as a novice at the University of California, Berkley in 2001. “I actually grew up dancing." says Cafaro. "Although no one believes it now that I I danced ballet for 12 years."On taking up rowing Cafaro excelled immediately , making the top boat during her first year. “I always wanted to be the best at whatever I was doing,” Cafaro says.
Growing up Cafaro’s mother worked for the San Francisco Giants, a professional baseball team in San Francisco, California. Cafaro admits that while many of her athlete role models were baseball players she was always, “drawn to athletes who were at the top of their sport and who had that tenacity. When you are training hard or you question yourself, keeping a role model in mind is motivating. That helped me to keep going.”
After a successful rowing career at the University of California Cafaro went on to win seven World Rowing Championship medals, five gold and two bronze, as well as two Olympic gold medals. Now retired from international competition, Cafaro continues to work in rowing. She coaches indoor training sessions, travels around the country for Concept2 and Crossfit and teaches people about health and nutrition.
Looking back on her career Cafaro says, “All of the ups and downs I wouldn’t change for the world. You learn a lot. My biggest piece of advice for young athletes is to continue to challenge yourself mentally as well as physically. You’re challenged physically, but keep your mind going, it’s a muscle too.”
The YOG will be held from 16 to 28 August 2014 in Nanjing, China and is an initiative of the International Olympic Committee. It is for athletes aged 14 - 18 years old and 26 events will be contested including rowing.
The qualification process has already begun for rowers for this year's YOG began at the 2013 World Rowing Junior Championships. the African and Asian Continental Qualification regattas have been held and the Latin American YOG Qualification Regatta will be held from 17 - 18 March 2014 in Montevideo, Uruguay.