Reunion in Munich: Wrap-up meeting of the German Olympic Youth Camps

Three months after the end of the Winter Olympics, the participants of the German Olympic Youth Camps (DOJL) Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 met in Munich. Together with the leadership teams, 48 participants looked back on their time together in Frankfurt (DOJL Tokyo) and Bischofsgruen (DOJL Beijing), met Dajana Eitberger, silver medallist in luge at PyeongChang 2018, and learned from former youth camp participants how they can use their newly gained network in the future.

DOJL participant successful at the Paralympics in Beijing

The wrap-up meeting began with a highlight for all participants: Johanna Recktenwald, a DOJL Tokyo participant, who had qualified for the Paralympics (Para Nordic skiing) for the first time this winter, reported on her time in Beijing. As a young athlete, she achieved fourth place twice and also talked about the circumstances on site, which were particularly marked by the corona pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

DOJL-Tokyo participant Johanna Recktenwald reports on her participation in the Beijing 2022 Paralympics. © DOJL/Kai Peters

From 1972 via 2022 to 2072

After both youth camps that usually take place in the Olympic host country had been moved to Germany due to the pandemic, it was clear to the organising team that the location for the wrap-up meeting had to be an Olympic one. With the choice of Munich and the visit to the Olympic Park on Saturday, the weekend was all about the 1972 Olympic Games.

In the Olympic Stadium, the participants met the managing director of the Olympic Park, Marion Schöne. In addition to an overview of the Olympic Park’s sports facilities, the young people received a wide range of information about the 1972 Olympic Games. Another focus was the topic of sustainability in the context of the upcoming European Championships 2022, which will take place in nine sports in Munich in August.

Afterwards, the participants received first-hand impressions of the student youth camp of the 1972 Olympic Games from DOA Chairperson Gudrun Doll-Tepper, in which she participated as a chaperone of the British delegation.

Ilona Gerling and Volker Stürzer, two of the 180 selected German participants of the 1972 International Youth Olympic Camp of the Deutsche Sportjugend (dsj), met again for the first time in 50 years. At that time, they had to qualify for participation among 6,000 applicants in a competition consisting of sports and educational tasks. Both shared their experiences with the young people and gave them valuable tips for their future. They also caused goosebumps when they talked about the joint sporting, cultural and musical activities with the international participants of the 1972 youth camp and their newly gained self-confidence. “Mistakes are there to be learned from. Accept the balls that are passed to you on your way and make something great out of them,” Gerling motivated the young people.

Engagement formats in sport as important offerings

On Sunday, the organisers of the youth camp, the Deutsche Sportjugend (dsj) and Deutsche Olympische Akademie (DOA) first presented their engagement formats. Whether as a member of a junior team, in a federal voluntary service, voluntary social year or as a volunteer at the Olympic Day, the young people got an insight into the diverse work of dsj and DOA and learned how they can continue to get involved in sport in the future.

Learning from Team D member Dajana Eitberger

Finally, luge athlete Dajana Eitberger, silver medallist in Pyeongchang 2018 and member of the Executive Board of Athletes Germany e.V., visited the wrap-up meeting and reported on her experiences as a high-performance athlete. In addition, she gave the young people many tips for their own sporting and voluntary careers.

The young people left Munich with many impressions, a new network in their luggage and the firm intention to meet again. “The wrap-up meeting was a complete success. The participants were able to deal with many current topics in sport. The combination of the two youth camps enabled the young people to further expand their networks and learn from each other. In addition, they were able to experience Olympic flair in the Olympic Park in Munich and get to know important initiatives for sustainability development,” Dr. Gerald Fritz, Director of the DOA, sums up the weekend.

Text: DOA/dsj

The DOJL participants discuss current topics in sport in a bar camp. © DOJL/Kai Peters

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