To the Youth Olympic Games—After Exams!

Kalnu Ereliai team member and candidate to the Sochi Olympics, Aivaras Tumas will serve as a Young Ambassador during the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehapper, Norway.
Kalnu Ereliai team member and candidate to the Sochi Olympics, Aivaras Tumas will serve as a Young Ambassador during the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Photo: LTOK.LT

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.

Aivaras checks out the Lillehammer ski jump during a Young Ambassador orientation meeting in Lillehammer, October 2015. Photo: Aivaras Tumas.
Aivaras checks out the Lillehammer ski jump during a Young Ambassador orientation meeting in Lillehammer, October 2015. Photo: Aivaras Tumas.
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.

Aivaras surrounded by other Young Ambassadors during a curling match in Lillehammer, October 2015.
Aivaras surrounded by other Young Ambassadors during a curling match in Lillehammer, October 2015.

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; translation by Jenn Virskus.

New challenges after Lithuanian championships

On the second day of competition at the Lithuanian Alpine Skiing Championships in Italy, participants had to contend not only with their competitors, but also with the dangers of the course

—Marius Grinbergas, Translation by Jenn Virškus for

After the awards all the medal winners gathered for a picture
After the awards all the medal winners gathered for a picture


The same leaders

The giant slalom competition of the Lithuanian Alpine Skiing Championships were held at the Italian resort of Kronplatz on Thursday where 17-year-old Aivaras Tumas confessed that to win the overall gold medal took not only his skill on the course, but also a lot of luck.

After the first run, Tumas was behind Karolis Janulionis, the 21-year-old winner of the slalom the day before, by .35 seconds. But in the second run, Janulionis skied out of the course—although he did finish—and lost the win.

“I had hoped to be first. Of course, my success was due to Karolis’s crash and I skied both runs calmly,” said Tumas. It is his first Lithuanian overall championship title.
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For the favorites, bad weather was not a problem

Tough winter conditions for the Lithuanian Alpine Ski Championship slalom meant that not all competitors made it to the finish line

—Marius Grinbergas, Translation by Jenn Virškus for

On course, Ieva Januškevičiūtė. More pics available on the original article’s site.

I came, I saw, I conquered. That’s how the Lithuanian Alpine Ski Championship slalom competition, which took place in the Italian resort of Kronplatz, can be titled for Ieva Januškevičiūtė. The 17-year-old arrived in Kronplatz only on the eve of the race, but no one could equal her in the overall results for the women and she ranked third among all championship participants. Only the men’s pre-race favorites, Karolis Janulionis and Aivaras Tumas, had a clear advantage over her.
Continue reading “For the favorites, bad weather was not a problem”

Pre-race training marathon

Lithuanian alpine skiers are training intensively in the Alps for the season’s most important competitions—Lithuanian and World Championships, and other international races.

—Marius Grinbergas, sportas.infoTranslation by Jenn Virškus for

Lithuanian alpine skiers in Austria


A week in the Alps, a few days at home, and back to the mountains. That’s the kind of rhythm Lithuania’s alpine skiers are living this year, moving between training camps.

Lithuanian national team members Karolis Janulionis and Aivaras Tumas were training in Kaprun, Austria, with coach Audrius Santackas and other Ski Club Snow Bees members Oct. 27 – Nov. 5. At the same time, in Hintertux, another Austrian glacier, Anžela and Vytautas Aleksandravičius were working with the young members of their club, Alpiu Aidas—it was the club’s second camp in Austria this fall. On Friday, Lithuanian team members will be on their way back to Kaprun to participate in the European Ski Federation’s fall camp.

The most important races this season for Lithuania’s skiers will be the country’s national championships in Italy Jan. 12 – 19, the European Youth Olympic Festival in Romania in February, and the World Alpine Ski Championships in Solden, Austria, held also at the beginning of February. There will also be several junior/senior and children’s International Ski Federation (FIS) races.

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Young talent—a valuable prize!

“Youth is our perspective. Since as they well understand, that ski poles are not simple sticks,” said Leki Cup sponsor Arūnas Milkus.

—Marius Grinbergas,; Translation by Jenn Virškus for
Rokas Zaveckas nearing the finish line. Photo by Stefanas Milčevičius

In Ignalina, where the Žalgiris Winter Games alpine ski race was held, Milkus joked that he was born too early, and was unable to get such prices as a young athlete.

The Žalgiriada is a traditional workers’ sports festival for participants over 21 years of age. In order not to exclude young skiers, the Lithuanian Ski Federation traditionally organized events for younger athletes. These races are usually sponsored by equipment distributors, so that the talented medal and diploma winners also receive an impressive array of useful prizes.

This time youth at Lithuanian winter sports center in Ignalina competed in the Leki Cup. There was no less intrigue and competition here than in the Žalgiriada—the boys race attracted the best young alpine skiers.

Continue reading “Young talent—a valuable prize!”