Young Olympian Volunteer Reflects on ORC Experience

21 | 11 | 2016

Winter Olympian Benoît Schwarz put his PyeongChang 2018 training on hold in August to spend two weeks soaking up the sun, culture and amazing atmosphere at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The Swiss curler joined the World Olympians team as a volunteer at the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY at his first summer Games.

Benoît represented his country at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, but said that Rio was a totally different experience for him and he was grateful for the opportunity to help out at the ORC.

“I really enjoyed meeting other Olympians from a range of different sports. This is something we can’t really do during the curling season as we’re always with the athletes of our own sport on the tour.

“It was also my first time at the ORC”, Benoît added. “When I was in Sochi with the Swiss team we were obviously focused on our competition. It’s definitely different if you can enjoy the Games without feeling the pressure of them.”

Benoît is a member of the Swiss Olympians Association and is actively involved in organising events and activities for Olympians in his own country. When he came across the opportunity to work at the ORC in Rio and again be part of the global community of Olympians both past and present, he jumped at the chance.

“My volunteering experience at the ORC was amazing. My role was to welcome Olympians and their guests and introduce them to the club. The great atmosphere in the club and the enthusiasm of all the Olympians was something I will remember for sure.

“The club also hosted several outstanding events which made my experience even more rich. For example, I had the opportunity to listen at Thomas Bach during an event hosted by EY, which emphasised the role and relevance of women in international leadership and governance.”

On whether he would recommend the experience to others Benoît was emphatic.

“The sports world needs people who give some of their time for the organisation of competitions or cultural and education programmes. Personally, my experience in Rio was fantastic and I recommend anybody who gets the opportunity to be involved in similar projects to do so. It was lot of fun and I met great people.”

He added that as an Olympian he continues to strive to make a positive difference in his community and did his best to pass on those values while in Rio.

“As soon as you become an Olympian many young people and other athletes look up to you. I think it’s a great responsibility. You want to inspire them as much as your own idols inspired you when you were younger.

“The Olympic Games are a great platform to share and teach important values such as friendship, respect and the quest for excellence. This can definitely benefit communities. In Geneva, for example, we are lucky enough to have a great program where Olympic athletes go to schools and teach the kids about what it means to participate in the Olympic Games. I’m convinced that it gives great motivation to the kids to become better athletes or become better at what they love to do.”