Yulia Galysheva

Week 226 (10 - 16 February 2018)

There has, and most likely never will be, a sporting event quite like the Olympic Games, and the story of PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games bronze medallist Yuliya Galysheva is just the latest example of this.

In the past week, we have seen conflicting countries walk in unison, an entire country inspired by hosting the world’s biggest sporting and cultural celebration, and moments of pure emotion, drama and sporting brilliance. There really is nothing else quite like it.

Away from the sporting arena, the Olympic Games and the concept of Olympism encourage peace-building, innovation, education, healthy living and, of course, the Movement’s fundamental values of excellence, friendship and respect.

However, one element of the Games that is often overlooked is opportunity. Watched by billions of people all over the world, the Games provide unknown atheltes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become national, and even international, heroes.

In some countries, investment in athletes allows them to dedicate their lives to pursuing Olympic glory. But this is not possible for thousands of talented athletes all around the world. However, through the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Solidarity programme, talented athletes from poorer countries are given the resources needed so that they have an equal chance of succeeding on the world’s biggest stage. One of these athletes is Yuliya Galysheva.

The Kazakhstani moguls skier is one of 271 athletes at PyeongChang to benefit from an Olympic Solidarity scholarship. Yesterday, she proved the value of the programme by winning bronze in the women's moguls, Kazakhstan’s first ever medal in freestyle skiing and third ever in Olympic Winter Games history.

Speaking after the final, Yuliya Galysheva said:

“I would like to thank Olympic Solidarity for giving me this opportunity to come here and achieve my dream. Also I thank the NOC of Kazakhstan for their active participating and collaboration with this programme. I hope we will be using continuously these programmes in our preparation for next events.”

Galysheva’s success will serve as an inspiration to athletes with similar backgrounds and situations, and encourage them to never give up on their dream.

The IOC must be commended for providing 271 individual athletes and 13 teams participating in the latest edition of the Olympic Winter Games with Olympic Solidarity scholarships. And this is just one initiative that makes the Olympic Games such a special and inclusive event. Six world-leading sports brands are providing free competition wear to NOCs and athletes who would not otherwise have had an opportunity to source Rule 50-compliant uniforms for the Games - another inspiring example of the Games bringing people together.

For demonstrating why there is no other sporting event quite like the Olympic Games, Yuliya Galysheva is the JTA Communicator of the Week.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons