Youth Olympic skier, Sive Speelman flew the flag for Team South Africa for the opening ceremony of the Inaugural Winter Youth Olympics Games, that began Friday, 13 January, in Innsbruck Austria.
Officially known as the I Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG), the event is an international multi-sport event for youths, will take place from 13-22 January 2012, and the Eastern Cape teen has been honoured with the rights to hold the rainbow nation flag.
In an extravaganza that will see at least 1100 athletes from around the world compete, the 16 year-old will be the first black South African athlete at Winter Olympics.
Under the guidance of triple Olympian skier, Alex Heath, Speelman will be competing in the alpine skiing discipline.
Accompanied by Heath, Chef de Mission and Project Manager Chantelle Jardim, the Snow Sports committee is hopeful he will bring home invaluable experience and introduce the sport to a much larger audience.
Peter Pilz, president of Snow Sport SA said the Games would be be invaluable experience for the youngster. “He’s been training very hard and Saturday is his first competition, the Super G. We’re confident he can do well but we must also understand that the Youth Olympics are not just about the competition.
“The role of ambassador is also very important and there is a lot of emphasis on cultural exchange and skills development workshops. A key part of the experience is that of nation building and social enlightenment.”
Speelman will wear Bib Number 58 when his competition gets underway on Saturday.