European Youth Olympics Festival

Anna-Maria Pollany

Austria

Anna-Maria Pollany

24 years old, intern at the United World Games

dodgeball

3 x European Champion (Women's Division - 2016, 2017, 2018), 2 x Runner-up World Champion (Women's Division - 2016, 2018), 1 x Bronze Medallist at the Dodgeball World Championships (Mixed - 2018), 1 x Bronze Medallist at the Dodgeball European Championships (Mixed - 2018)

German, English, French, Italian, Spanish

Interview

Why I am part of the EYA?

“I think that one of the reasons my NOC picked me was my enthusiasm and my positive energy. I am very passionate about sports and the Olympic Movement. I had a lot of ideas about how to engage the young athletes. Another reason definitely was my experience and my sports background: by that time I had already worked in this area and I had done lots of internships and volunteering and, being an athlete myself, I also know what it means to compete.”

What did I give to athletes?

“An amazing group dynamic. It was really important to me that the athletes wouldn’t just hang out with the people they already knew from their own sport, but to make them understand that we were one big team! We went to the events together to always support the ones who were competing that day. A lot of friendships have been established which makes me really happy.”

How do I describe a European Young Ambassador (EYA)?

“A person who sets a good example and who is not afraid to leave one’s own comfort zone to make sure that the athletes make the most out of their Olympic experience.”

How did I interact with athletes?

“I tried to make myself “available” and to just be there – without forcing them to hang out with me. I asked them about their daily routine in order to be around. I e.g. had a meal with them, we went for a morning run together, I simply sat down with them to ask them how they were doing and I introduced them to the funniest card game we then played all week. Once they found out that I was actually cool to hang out with, it was easy to convince them to do team activities and to spend time in the group.”

What did I learn from my job as a EYA?

“It is important to step out of your comfort zone and to get active to make your role as a YA work. The athletes will not make the first move – you will have to do that!”

What was my motto?

“Whatever you do to make your role as a YA work for you, make sure that you do it with a positive attitude and a big smile on your face!”

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