After once dreaming of making it to the Olympic games and narrowly missing a birth in the Sochi Olympics, Aivaras Tumas has finally made it to the Olympics—just not as an athlete.
Lithuania’s 10-athlete team for the Youth Olympic Games to be held February 12 – 21 in Lillehammer, Norway, will have a perfect guide: former alpine ski racer Aivaras Tumas. Once upon a time he dreamed of making it to the Olympics and competing in the Sochi games with Rokas Zaveckas. Now Aivaras will finally get a chance to take part, just not as an athlete, but as one of the event’s Young Ambassadors.
Though the professional athlete gave up his career for serious studies in England, he briefly returned to Lithuania and dropped by the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee (LTOK). Aivaras spoke about sports, and what awaits the young Olympians in Lillehammer.
What was your goal in professional alpine skiing, and why did you finally give up the sport?
I started skiing when I was seven years old, and I started to really participate in races when I joined the Kalnu Ereliai Ski Team. Coach Jennifer Virškus from the USA paid special attention to Rokas Zaveckas and I. I was competing for a place at the Sochi Olympics with Rokas; he was stronger, and later I had to give up sports in order to go to university in England. Currently I’m studying computer engineering at the University of Manchester; I’m in my second year.
How did you learn about the opportunity to be a Young Ambassador at the Lillehammer games?
The LTOK discussed various possible candidates, and invited me to participate, not only because I was a candidate for the Olympic team, but also because I took part in two European Youth Olympic Winter Festivals. At first I didn’t think I’d be able to go because of my studies. Later after discussing it with my father I decided to accept the offer.
What was your impression of the Young Ambassador meeting in Lillehammer?
The Ambassadors are all young and very warm people who have just completed their professional sports career. They are real leaders, some of them have even participated in the Olympic Games. It was very interesting to meet these kinds of people. I didn’t expect such a warm welcome, they all accepted me very warmly, and they were all interested in what type of country Lithuania is.
What will your roll be in these games?
The athletes don’t only race, they get so much more—they’re able to learn how to be leaders and to act as a team. I will have to help the Lithuanian team, to inform them of what and where things are happening. If the Lithuanian athletes have questions, they will always be able to ask me.
I’ll also have to come up with a variety of activities to introduce the athletes to. I have some good friends from Turkey and together we’re planning to organize relay races, hopefully we’ll be joined by athletes from other countries—the Russians, Austrians, Estonians.
Is it not disappointing that you’re not able to compete yourself?
No, because now I’m intensely focused on my studies, and competitions require a lot of time and energy. The Ambassador’s role is ideal for me because I can see all the events, since I’m no longer an athlete I can relax more, and see the whole operation from the inside.
Do you have any suggestions for other young people who would like to become Young Ambassadors at the Olympic Games?
You need to have reached significant achievements in sports. Although I did not participate in the Olympics, I was an Olympic team candidate and I participated in the Olympic Festivals, so I should be able to reach a similar level. It’s important to be fluent in English. You also need to be a social person, warm and friendly, with good communication skills, and relate well to other people.
The Lillehammer Young Ambassador will leave immediately after his exams. He’ll live in the Olympic Village along with the other team members.
The 10 Lithuanian representatives to the second Youth Olympic Winter Games include biathletes Nadiežda Derendiajeva, Vitalija Kutkauskaitė, Linas Banys; cross-country skier Rokas Vaitkus; alpine skiers Andrejus Drukarovas ir Eglė Augustaitytė; ice hockey player (in the individual challenge tournament) Dino Mukovozas; snowborder Aras Arlauskas; and ice dancing team Guostė Damulevičiūtė ir Deividas Kizala.
The Youth Winter Olympic Games is being held for the second time; the first event was in 2012 in Innsbruck. The Games are organized by the International Olympic Committee and the Lillehammer Youth Olympic Winter Games Organizing Committee, managed by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and Lillehammer Municipality.
The Lithuanian National Olympic Committee finances the participation of the young athletes in Lillehammer, and contributes to their preparation.
This article was provided by LTOK.lt; translation by Jenn Virskus.
If not prevented by the weather, soon-to-be Olympian Ieva Januškevičiūtė will open a new chapter in Lithuanian alpine skiing history this weekend in SloveniaBy Marius Grinbergas, sportas.info
This weekend, Ieva Januškevičiūtė will be the first Lithuanian woman to start an Alpine World Cup ski race. The race will take place in Kranska Gora where the 19-year-old will race the giant slalom on Saturday and the slalom on Sunday.
Arriving in Slovenia with her Italian team, Kronplatz Racing Center, Januškevičiūtė did her excitement ahead of such an exceptional start. “You need at least one really serious race before the Olympics,” said the athlete who made her debut at the last World Championships.
Although, the weather in Kranska Gora has deteriorated in recent days. “Today there was already 70cm of snow, and it continued to snow heavily,” said the Olympian.
For the Vilnius resident, this will be her last rehearsal before the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, which start on Feb. 7. Januškevičiūtė will be the first female Lithuanian athlete to participate in the alpine compensations. She will ski in the slalom and giant slalom events. Seventeen-year-old Rokas Zaveckas will compete in men’s alpine skiing.
Until now, only two Lithuanian athletes have competed in the World Cup: 1998 Nagano Olympian Linas Vaitkus and Vitalijus Rumiancevas, who took part in the 2006 Torino and 2010 Vancouver games. The best result came from Linas Vaitkus, who was 34th in a SG in 1997 in the USA. Rumancievas started two GS races, but did not reach the second run in either.
Alpine skier and soon-to-be-Olympian Ieva Januškevičiutė now has one more thing in common with ski stars Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, and Mikaela Shiffrin: her own page in a magazine. She is Lithuanian Cosmopolitan’s “Fun, Fearless, Female,” for February. “It’s just so surprising, I still can’t believe it—Olympics, magazine, and I even have my own [ski serviceman] now!” Januškevičiutė exclaimed. The international team she trains with in Italy now employs a technician for the racers, though he won’t be able to accompany her to Sochi. Like many other young racers, she’ll have to prepare her own skis at the Olympic games.
Januškevičiutė qualified for the Olympic slalom in December, and qualified for the giant slalom at a recent race in Slovenia. “The weather was terrible,” she said, “but it was super easy to make those points there.” Points are calculated by the time difference from the race leader, combined with the race penalty, which is an average of the points of the top skiers in the race.
“But I’m really happy about how my slalom trainings are going, I’m hoping it will go even better in the race.” Januškevičiutė still has a few more days of training and racing in Italy before she returns to Lithuania to see her friends and family—and pick up her Olympic team gear—before flying to Sochi on Feb. 6 with teammate Rokas Zaveckas.
The February issue of Cosmopolitan hits newsstands in Lithuania this week. Watch Januškevičiutė in the Olympic women’s giant slalom on Feb. 18 and the women’s slalom Feb. 21.
Alpine skier Ieva Januškevičiutė: On Vanessa Mae, the positive power of music, conversations with her family, and relaxing before the raceFrom sportas.info; Translated for The Lithuania Tribune
Ieva Januškevičiūtė will be the first Lithuanian athlete to participate in the Olympic women’s alpine skiing events. This is the 19-year-old skiers third blog post, “The Road to Sochi.” Read part 1 here and part 2 here.
Hello! The Olympic games are getting closer. I will go to Sochi on Feb. 6. Until that time, I’ll be in Italy; I’ll travel back to Lithuania on Feb. 4 or 5. But before that, I still have a few races.
At a race in Slovenia I finally achieved Olympic giant slalom qualification. Therefore in Sochi I’ll be able to race in both the slalom and the giant slalom. The famous violinist Vanessa Mae also started the race in Slovenija. It wasn’t the first time that we’d met at a race. Personally, I don’t know her, but we’ve said hello to each other.
Alpine skier Rokas Zaveckas: On catching the Olympic spirit two years ago, his secret fears, containing his excitement, and his friendsFrom sportas.info; Translated for The Lithuania Tribune
Rokas Zaveckas will start the men’s Olympic alpine skiing events on Feb. 7. This is the 17-year-old’s second Olympic blog post, “the Road to Sochi.” Read part 1 here.
After the holidays at home, my dad and I got back on the road. I started races in Austria and Germany.
Like always, on the eve of the competition, we discuss our expectations, and which tactics to use. Should I put all my effort into the first run, or would I get too tired, should I risk more on the second, and so forth.
Alpine skier Ieva Januškevičiūtė writes her second Olympic blog post about the holiday at home, traveling to Italy with her alpine equipment and an impressive slackline workout (video)From sportas.info; Translated for The Lithuania Tribune
Ieva Januškevičiūtė will be the first Lithuanian athlete to participate in the Olympic women’s alpine skiing events. This is her second blog post for “The Road to Sochi.” Read part 1 here.
So I’m headed back to Italy. I got to spend about two weeks in Lithuania. I came back from Sweden on Christmas Eve. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family at my grandmother’s in Šilutė. The last thing I wanted to do was drive 300 kilometers to Šilutė after the long trip from Sweden, but I did really want to see my grandmother. It was fun to celebrate Christmas. I spent the rest of my vacation in Vilnius, it was good to meet up with old friends. But it was so sad to see Lithuania with almost no snow at Christmas. As a result, I wasn’t able to get any ski training in here.
Alpine skier Rokas Zaveckas: On a great childhood, learning to dance, security in Sochi, his mother’s cooking, and reading on the roadFrom sportas.info; Translated for The Lithuania Tribune
Rokas Zaveckas is the primary candidate to represent Lithuania in one month—Feb. 7—in the men’s Olympic alpine skiing events. This is the 17-year-old’s first entry in the “Road to Sochi” blog.
Sometimes they say, that serious athletes don’t have a real childhood or adolescence. It’s not true. My childhood was one of the best there can be. Without sport, I wouldn’t have had those experiences.
Of course, there wasn’t a lot of free time, but that was only in the winter, because after the trips I had to get serious about my studies. In the sumer, there was kite surfing, sailing, and wakeboarding. Everything was about sports. I can’t sit still.
“I’ve reached an intermediate goal,” said Ieva Januškevičiūtė, the first female alpine skier in Lithuania’s history to participate in the Olympic Games.—Marius Grinbergas, sportas.info; Translated by Jennifer Virškus for The Lithuania Tribune
The Lithuanian delegation to the Sochi Olympics will reach a new record—on Feb. 7, at least nine athletes will represent Lithuania in the Winter Olympics, although only a month ago only five had a guaranteed ticket.
Now it’s clear that the honor of Lithuania will be defended at the 2014 Winter Olympics by two cross country skiers, two biathletes, two alpine skiers, ice dancers Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniūnas, and speed skating and short-track skater Agnė Sereikaitė.
One of the most recent to jump on the Olympic train was Ieva Januškevičiūtė. The 19-year-old from Vilnius secured her ticket to Sochi on Nov. 30 at a competition in Italy. The Lithuanian champion has so far only qualified for the slalom race, but she expects to qualify for the giant slalom as well.
The Lithuanian alpine skiers place on the Olympic team was secured when she scored her fifth International Ski Federation (FIS) result under 140 points. The points are calculated by time behind the race leader—the smaller the difference, the lower the points.
Januškevičiūtė’s fifth result under 140 was at an Italian national junior slalom race on Nov. 30 where she scored 118.95 points. The next day she improved on that result with a 116.28. In addition, at a race in Sweden last week, she took 39th place with a score of 103.77 points.
“The feeling to become an Olympian—it’s perfect. I’m very happy, but I have not achieved a high emotional breakthrough, only an intermediate goal. There is no need to think about it too much because there are a lot of things going on. I need to focus on the next race, training, and not to forget that it’s the process that is the most interesting, not just achieving goals,” said Januškevičiūtė, who said that before Christmas she will participate in several more competitions in Sweden to try and meet the giant slalom Olympic qualifying criteria.
Eleven starts in 15 days. After such a race series in Sweden, Rokas Zaveckas set under the Christmas tree a spectacular Christmas gift—an Olympic qualification.—Marius Grinbergas, sportas.info
For the past half year, 17-year-old Rokas Zaveckas has been like a guest in his own house. From a camp at the end of June on an Austrian glacier, the road to the Sochi Olympics took the skier from Vilnius to South America for two months. There he participated in an International Ski Federation (FIS)-sponsored training camp in the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, and also started 11 races in Argentina and Chile.
Upon his return to Europe, the skier spent just a couple of weeks in his birthplace before leaving again. This time, a month of training in the Alps. In the three weeks before Christmas, Zaveckas was absorbed in a race marathon in Sweden, where he reached his most important career goal—Olympic slalom and giant slalom qualification standards.
Ieva Januškevičiūtė: On her start down a small hill in Lazdijai, a taste for traveling places that don’t include warm beaches, her studies, the Christmas spirit, and the darkness of Sweden.—From sportas.info
Ieva Januškevičiūtė will be the first Lithuanian athlete to participate in the Olympic women’s alpine skiing events. This is the 19-year-old athlete’s blog entry, “The Road to Sochi.”
Everything started like this… When I was six or seven years old, my dad started to teach me how to ski on the hill behind the Lazdijai swimming pool. Later we went several times per year to ski in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Of course, we also skied at Liepkalnis.