#iLoveYOG: Athlete Role Model Rasmus Stjerne explains his curling inspiration

  • #iLoveYOG #YOGcurling Photo: WCF / Laura Godenzi

With the 2016 Youth Olympic Games only a stone’s throw away, last month the International Olympic Committee marked 100 days until the event with the #iLoveYOG social media campaign.

Denmark skip Rasmus Stjerne, 27, will be one of the event’s Athlete Role Models for young curlers and, together with the World Curling Federation, he got into the spirit of the #iLoveYOG campaign at the recent Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2015 in Esbjerg, Denmark.

Stjerne’s first curling role model was his dad – a long-time curler who’s been involved with the sport longer than his son’s been alive.

“My dad brought me into the game. He’s been playing for almost 40 years now, so he was my first big mentor,” he said.

Now, as an Athlete Role Model at the upcoming Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway (12-21 February), it’ll be his turn to mentor new, developing curlers. As a former World Juniors champion and sixth-place finisher at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He hopes to help young athletes see “what it is to compete in the Olympic Games and how you get there.”

“When you’re young, you hardly know yourself and it’s really easy just to get caught in everyday life,” he said. “If you have somebody to look up to, it’s easier to get down the right path.”
Athlete Role Models have been a part of the Youth Olympic Games since 2010, when the first Summer Youth Olympics were held in Singapore. At the Lillehammer Games, athlete mentors like Stjerne will attend competitions and offer support and advice on training and skills development to the 1100 young athletes from 70 different countries participating at the ten-day event.

Stjerne said when he was a young curler, watching high-level curlers, such as long-time Scottish skip David Murdoch compete, helped his team get better and stay focused.

He said: “We could see that if we wanted to keep pace we needed to do what they were doing and really push hard.”

Although he never competed at the Youth Olympic Games, Stjerne said participating at the Lillehammer Youth Olympics is a great opportunity for the next generation of top-level curlers – especially those whose country's curling programmes are still in development – to gain experience competing internationally.

“Its major to be a part of it, and I think it’s a really good way to just show a glimpse for these young curlers of what it is to be in the Olympics,” he said.

The World Curling Federation will be providing news, social media content and photography from the Youth Olympic Games between 12 and 21 February 2016.

For more information on the Youth Olympic Games visit: www.olympic.org/yog and www.lillehammer2016.no, or interact on social media using: #YOGcurling #iLoveYOG #Lillehammer2016

by Patrick Butler (Journalism Sport Media Trainee)