Hong Kong Olympic showjumper Samantha Lam has been named the Equestrian Athlete Role Model for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
The appointment of 37 Athlete Role Models was announced by the International Olympic Committee on Monday.
Selected by the 28 International Federations, whose sports will feature at Nanjing 2014, the list features many legendary names from the world of sport, including Olympic and world champions. In Nanjing, they will play a key role in supporting, mentoring and offering advice to the 3800 young athletes who will be participating in the Games. Also on the list will be ARMs from the world of rugby sevens and golf, which will make their YOG débuts at Nanjing 2014 before appearing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The ARMs will be accessible to the athletes both in the Youth Olympic Village and during a series of educational activities and workshops that will focus on areas such as skills development, how to lead healthy lifestyles, environment and social responsibility and Olympism.
Lam became one of the youngest athletes to contest an FEI World Cup Final in 1997, when she competed in Gothenburg’s Scandinavium arena in Sweden aged just 18.
She went on to represent Hong Kong at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and in 2009 secured team bronze at the National Games in Jinan, China, where she was also presented with the Sportsmanship Award. In 2010, Lam helped to secure Hong Kong’s first equestrian medal, team bronze, at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
After a short “baby break” following the birth of her son Daniel in December 2012, she jumped back in the saddle and is now competing in the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour, with her sights set firmly on the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in Korea, which open on September 9.
“The Youth Olympic Games are a fantastic opportunity for our younger generation of athletes to get a taste for the Olympic Games, and meet athletes from different cultures,” Lam said.
“Equestrian will be extra special in Nanjing, simply because our athletes will be competing for YOG medals with horses, making us entirely unique. The team format for equestrian at YOG is also very exciting with one rider from every continent forming a team, teaching our young athletes the vital sporting and life skill of working together for a common goal.”
Lam, 35, who in 1993 at the age of 14 won the prestigious Spruce Meadows Junior of the Year Award, and repeated the feat in 1995, has some wise words for the young equestrians heading to Nanjing: “At the end of the day, you cannot always control the outcome. Do your best and enjoy the experience. It is not about winning, it is about sportsmanship, overcoming hardships and accepting defeat. Winning can come easy, but so can losing. It is important to be humble and be a sportsman in every situation. These are qualities that I will be teaching my son about.”
FEI President HRH Princess Haya said Lam is a superb ambassador for equestrian sport, and role model for young athletes in Nanjing.
“As a mother and international athlete, she is also a great role model for our young female athletes as they consider their future careers,” she said.
“The Youth Olympic Games represent an incredible opportunity for the next generation of Olympic equestrian athletes, and Nanjing will be a valuable character building experience, which our athletes will cherish for the rest of their lives.”
The Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, which encompass 26 sports, open on August 16. A total of 30 athletes will compete in the Individual Jumping and Team Jumping events in the Xinzhuang Equestrian Venue on August 19-24, followed by four days of cultural activities before the Closing Ceremony on August 28.