Be your best self – inspiring message from London 1948 Olympian in Rio

12 | 8 | 2016

Rose Voisk has a message for Olympians everywhere: strive to be your best in everything you do.

The former Yugoslavia gymnast, who competed at the London 1948 Olympic Games, delighted fellow Olympians, including WOA president Joël Bouzou, on her visit to the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, regaling those around her with her memories of Games gone by.

Most striking was her impassioned message about what it means to be an Olympian.

“It means everything to me”, said Rose Voisk. “This is the highlight of my life. I will never forget, when I walked into the Olympic stadium in 1948, the first thing I noticed was Pierre de Coubertin’s motto – the most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but participating; the most important thing in life is to fight well and not to conquer.

“This is the motto that has remained in my head for the rest of my life and I truly believe that we should be our very best in every field, not just in sport but in everything we do”, added Rose. “I learned this from the Olympic Games. Not to compete against others but to compete against yourself to be your very best. This is what it means to be an Olympian.

“That is why I appreciate every competitor from the gold medallist to the person who comes in last place because they had to work just as hard to become an Olympian.”

Rose has attended a remarkable 11 Summer and Winter Olympic Games as a spectator since 1976, including Montreal, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Torino, Beijing, Vancouver, London and Rio de Janeiro.

Her fondest memories were saved for London, which she returned to in 2012, having first competed there in the 1948 Olympic Games.

“London, my Olympic city. That was so emotional for me to return in 2012. England had the honour to host three Olympic Games, 1908, 1948 and 2012 and I was there for the second two.

“When I visited Wembley Stadium, believe it or not, the guard asked me if I wanted to see the Olympic cauldron from 1948 and he showed me where to look for it. It was not displayed for everybody but because I told him I was in the 1948 Olympic Games; I saw the cauldron and had my picture taken with it.”

Rose is a regular visitor to Olympian Reunion Centres and has spent time at every ORC since the concept was established in 1996, missing only Sochi, which she didn’t attend.

WOA president Joël Bouzou, said Rose was an inspiration and her words would encourage future generations of Olympians.