Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships, 2019, Helsingborg, Sweden

Curlers urge Youth Olympians to relish Lausanne 2020 experience

In January 2020 the third edition of the winter Youth Olympic Games will be hosted in Lausanne, Switzerland.

These Games have been the foundation for many curling athletes’ careers. At the recent Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2019 in Helsingborg, Sweden, ten Youth Olympians competed.

  • Curling at Lausanne 2020 will be played from 10 to 22 January
Italy’s Amos Mosaner, then and now, © WCF / Richard Gray and Cheyenne Boone

Italy men’s third Amor Mosaner – who won silver at the first edition of the Games in 2012, in Innsbruck, Austria – is an example of someone who had his first big international experience at the Youth Olympic Games.

Following that, Mosaner reached the highest level of curling, participating at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Mosaner highlighted the positive aspects of his experience at the Games. “It’s really close to the normal Olympics. You have the Olympic village with all sorts of athletes from all these different countries. The opening ceremony is really similar to the normal Olympics. The feeling you have at the Youth Olympics is amazing, just like the normal Olympics.”

Make the most of it

The age range for the Youth Olympic Games is 14 to 18. That means that for most of these athletes it is their first introduction to different cultures and sports.

Mosaner believes that the best thing the 2020 curlers can do is immerse themselves as much as possible in the experience and try as many things as they can. He said, “Do all the stuff that you can do, try different sports. I would always spend time around the arena to watch hockey and ski, it was great.”

Switzerland won gold in 2012, © WCF / Richard Gray

At the 2012 Games in Innsbruck, Switzerland won the gold medals, with Romano Meier and Michael Brunner being a part of that team. The two of them are another success story. At the European Curling Championships in 2019 the pair reached the men’s final on their debut at that event.

Meier explained the benefits he got from the Youth Olympic Games, “One of the best things I experienced was living in the athletes’ village. It was with all the other athletes, it was like you’re a big family, or that they’re all your friends. No matter where you went you could talk to someone. Also we go to support all the other Swiss athletes. We went to watch some figure skating for example. The other athletes came to see us curling. I recommend trying to see as much as you can.”

Shared experiences

Brunner also had positives, “It was the first time we got to play in front of a crowd that was more than just our parents. It was great that other athletes came and watched our semi-final and final. It was quite special. Taking that experience with me forwards to experience with curling was very important.”

Estonia’s Marie Turmann at #ECC2019, © WCF / Céline Stucki

Marie Turmann was also at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck and was the skip for the Estonian women’s skip at the European championships. She also took a lot from the experience and suggested what the upcoming athletes should do to make the most of it. “It was a great experience because there were lots of curlers the same age as me – that usually isn’t the case. Also, you get to play mixed doubles with other players from other countries. This is something you should make the most of. The fans are just like what you have at the world championships. There are many more nations that it makes it so special.”

Seven years on these athletes are now at the height of their curling careers, competing at the highest levels. This began with the Youth Olympic Games, where they had life changing experiences. Mosaner summed it up in one phrase, “In sport you need to have lots of fun and this is a lot of fun, so go out there and make the most of the experience.”

You can follow curling at Lausanne 2020 on TwitterInstagram, Facebook and Weibo. Search the hashtags #curling #Lausanne2020

by Sport Media Trainee Dimitris Kouimtsidis

Lausanne, Switzerland

4 December 2019