GUEST BLOG: BOA chairman Lord Colin Moynihan
ON SATURDAY a delegation of Britain's most talented young winter sport athletes will depart to compete in the tenth edition of the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOWF) in Liberec, Czech Republic.
LOOKING AHEAD: Lord Colin Moynihan wishes the 15 Brits, that include his son Nick, good luck ahead of their trip to the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Liberec next week (Getty Images)
For every one of the 15 athletes representing Team GB on the snow and ice, the EYOWF will be their first taste of Olympic competition and their first exposure to the unique Olympic environment.
An unforgettable experience and an important step on their aspirational journey towards becoming future Olympians lies in wait for the outstanding young athletes involved.
The group of Team GB athletes travelling to Liberec is packed with exciting talent and great potential.
As chairman of the British Olympic Association (BOA), I will be supporting every Team GB competitor out in Liberec.
I will also be a proud father watching nervously as my son races in the alpine events.
All the Team GB athletes will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of triple Olympian skier Chemmy Alcott, who won a pair of medals at the 1999 EYOWF and I am sure they will have drawn hope and inspiration from the outstanding achievement of Britain's Amy Williams, who became skeleton Olympic Champion 12 months ago in Whistler, despite the absence of an ice track in the UK.
I am a passionate believer in the benefits that sporting participation can deliver, especially to young people.
Sporting participation is the base of the pyramid from which all our sporting heroes rise.
It is key to a proactive health policy. Its social, economic and educational benefits are indisputable and the opportunity it offers for enjoyment and excitement can never be underestimated.
Chairing the European Olympic Committees' (EOC) Youth and Sport Commission, which met at the BOA headquarters last September we reviewed the breakthrough success of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore last summer.
Our conclusion was that the Games had been a resounding success and provided a platform on which future generations will build.
Like the Youth Olympic Games, the European Youth Olympic Festivals - summer and winter versions - were the inspirational brainchild of International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.
He developed the concept of bringing together the best young athletes from across the continent during his time as EOC President with the first Festival taking place in 1990.
The president's foresight and ambition has provided generations of young athletes with the opportunity to test themselves against the very best competitors of their age group in a high quality Olympic sport environment.