Youth Olympic Games

Youth Olympic Games
Youth Olympic Logo.jpg
The logo of Youth Olympic Games
Summer Games
2010 • 2014 • 2018
Winter Games
2012 • 2016 • 2020

The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is an international multi-sport event first held in Singapore from August 14 to August 26, 2010. The games are held every four years in staggered summer and winter events consistent with the current Olympic Games format.[1] The age limitation of the athletes is between 14 to 18. [2] The idea of such an event was introduced by Johann Rosenzopf from Austria in 1998. On July 6, 2007, International Olympic Committee (IOC) members at the 119th IOC session in Guatemala City approved the creation of a youth version of the Olympic Games. The costs of hosting the event will be shared by the IOC and the host city, while the travel costs of athletes and coaches are paid by the IOC.

While the 2010 Youth Summer Olympics lasted 12 days, the winter version is planned to be a maximum of ten days, with the first edition taking place in early 2012.[3] The IOC will allow a maximum of 3,530 athletes and 481 IOC accredited officials to participate the summer games,[4] while 970 athletes and 580 officials are expected to attend the winter games. The Games will also feature cultural exchange programs and opportunities for participants to meet Olympic athletes.

Several other Olympic events for youth, like the European Youth Olympic Festivalare held every other year with summer and winter versions, and the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, have proven successful. The Youth Games are modelled after these sporting events.[5] The YOG are a successor to the discontinued World Youth Games.



Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC

The concept of the Youth Olympic Games came from Austrian IOC delegate Johann Rosenzopf in 1998.[6] This was in response to growing global concerns about childhood obesity and the dropping participation of youth in sport activities, especially amongst youth in developing nations.[7] Besides, in order to improve the students' academic performance, schools are dropping sports and physical education from their curriculums.[7] It was further recognized that a youth version of the Olympic Games would help foster participations in the Olympic Games.[8] Despite these reasons for having an Olympic event for young people, the IOC's response of holding a purely sporting event was negative.[9] IOC delegates wanted the event to be as much about cultural education and exchange as it was about sports, which is why the Culture and Exchange Program (CEP) was developed as a component of each celebration of the Games.[9] Jacques Rogge, IOC President, formally announced plans for the Youth Olympic Games at the 119th IOC session in Guatemala City on July 6, 2007.[10] There are several goals for the YOG, and four of them include bringing together the world's best young athletes, offering an introduction into Olympism, innovating in educating and debating Olympic values.[11] The city of Singapore was announced as the host of the inaugural Summer Youth Olympics on February 21, 2008.[12] On December 12, 2008 the IOC announced that Innsbruck, host of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, would be the host of the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics in 2012.[13]

Requirements of host cities

The scale of the Youth Olympic Games is smaller than that of the Olympics, which is intentional and allows for smaller cities to host an Olympic event. Potential host cities are required to keep all events within the same city and no new sports venues should be built.[11] Exceptions to this building moratorium include a media center, amphitheater facilities for classes and workshops, and a village for coaches and athletes.[11] This village is to be the heart of the Games for the athletes, and the hub of activity.[11] No new or unique transportation systems are required as all athletes and coaches will be transported by shuttles.[11] According to bid procedures, the track and field stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies must hold 10,000 people, and a city must have a 2,500-seat aquatics facility (for Summer editions).[14]


The original estimated costs for running the Games were $30 million for the Summer and $15 million to $20 million for Winter Games, these costs do not include infrastructure improvements for venue construction. The IOC has stipulated that costs for infrastructure and venues is to be paid by the host city.[15] The IOC will pay travel costs to the host city and room and board for the athletes and judges, estimated at $11 million. The funding will come from IOC funds and not revenues. The budgets for the final two bids for the inaugural Summer Games came in at $90 million, much higher than the estimated costs.[16] The cost of the first games in Singapore escalated to an estimated S$387 million ($284 million).[17][18] Sponsors have been slow to sign on for the YOG, due to the fact that it is a new initiative and corporations are not sure what level of exposure they will get.[16] The budget for the inaugural Winter Games to be held in Innsbruck has been estimated at $22.5 million, which does not include infrastructure improvements and venue construction.[19]


Over 200 countries and 3,600 athletes participated in the inaugural 2010 Youth Summer Olympics.[20] Participants are placed in the following age groups: 14–15 years, 16–17 years, and 17–18 years.[21] The athlete's age is determined by how old he or she is by December 31st of the year they are participating in the YOG.[11] Qualification to participate in the Youth Olympics is determined by the IOC in conjunction with the International Federations (IF) for the various sports on the program.[11] To ensure that all nations are represented at the YOG the IOC instituted the concept of Unversality Places. A certain number of spots in each event are to be left open for athletes from under-represented nations regardless of qualifying marks. This is to ensure that every nation will be able to send at least four athletes to each Youth Olympic Games.[11] For team tournaments one team per continent will be allowed to compete along with a sixth team either representing the host nation or as proposed by the IF with IOC approval. There is a cap of two teams (one boys' and one girls') per nation.[11] Finally, no nation may enter more than 70 athletes in individual sports.[11]


The sports contested at the Youth Games are the same as those scheduled for the traditional Games, but with some adaptations, and a limited number of disciplines and events.[22] For example, in the aquatics sport the IOC decided to include diving and swimming events but excluded synchronized swimming and water polo.[23] Some of the sports have been modified for the Games. The basketball competition is a 3-on-3 half-court tournament, the periods are five minutes each, and the first team to 33 points wins.[24] The cycling disciplines are mountain bike and BMX, and road and track cycling have been left off the schedule.[25] Other youth-driven sports may eventually be contested if backed by international sports federations. In November 2007, it was revealed that pentathlon will be included, as well as sailing, giving an edge to candidate cities near water.

The Winter Youth Games will feature seven sports. Hockey will have not only a men's and women's tournament but also an individual skills challenge.[26] In luge, figure skating and short track speed skating there will be mixed NOC events that will allow athletes from various countries to compete together in teams. Alpine and cross-country skiing will have events in which men and women will compete on mixed-gendered teams.[26]

Culture and education

Flags of participating nations at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics

Education and culture are also key components for the Youth edition. Not only does the education/culture aspect apply to athletes and participants, but also youth around the world and inhabitants of the host city and surrounding regions. To this end a Culture and Education Program (CEP) will be featured at each Games.[8] The first CEP at the 2010 Singapore Games featured events that fostered cooperation amongst athletes of different nations. It had classes on topics ranging from health and fitness to the environment and career planning. Local students from Singapore made booths at the World Culture Village that represented each of the 205 participating National Olympic Committee.[27] The Chat with Champions sessions were the most popular portion of the program.[8] Participants were invited to hear inspirational talks given by former and current Olympic athletes.[8]

Emphasis on exchange goes beyond the CEP. Another unique feature of the Youth Olympic Games are mixed-gender and mixed-national teams. Triathlon relays, fencing, table tennis, archery and mixed swimming relays are a few of the sports in which athletes from different nations and mixed genders can compete together.[8] YOG organizers are also using social media such as Facebook, Flikr, and Twitter as key platforms for engaging young athletes before, during, and after each celebration of the Games.[8] Multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and multi-age requirements are the targets of the program, which stress the themes of "Learning to know, learning to be, learning to do, and learning to live together".[27]

List of Youth Olympic Games

Singapore, host city of the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2010
Innsbruck, host city of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012
Nanjing, host city of the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2014

In early November 2007, Athens, Bangkok, Singapore, Moscow, and Turin were selected by the IOC as the five candidate cities to host the inaugural Youth Olympic Games.[28] In January 2008, the candidates were further pared down to just Moscow and Singapore. Finally, on 21 February 2008, Singapore was declared host of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games 2010 via live telecast from Lausanne, Switzerland, winning by a tally of 53 votes to 44 for Moscow.[29]

On 2 September 2008 IOC announced that the executive board had shortlisted four cities among the candidates to host the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012. The four candidate cities were Harbin, Innsbruck, Kuopio, and Lillehammer.[30] IOC president Jacques Rogge appointed Pernilla Wiberg to chair the commission which analysed the projects. As with the Summer Games, the list was then shortened to two finalists, Innsbruck and Kuopio, in November 2008. On December 12, 2008, it was announced that Innsbruck beat Kuopio to host the games.[30] Nanjing, China was selected by the IOC over Poznan, Poland to be the host-city of the 2014 Youth Olympics. The election was held on 10 February 2010, two days before the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.[31] Thus far only Lillehammer, Norway, has applied to host the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics.[32]

Summer games

Year Olympiad Games Location
2010 XXIX 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games Singapore Singapore
2014 XXX 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games China Nanjing
2018 XXXI 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games TBA

Winter games

Year Olympiad Games Location
2012 XXX 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games Austria Innsbruck
2016 XXXI 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games TBA
2020 XXXII 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games TBA

See also


  1. ^ "FIS in favor of Youth Olympic Games". FIS. 2007-05-08. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  2. ^ "No kidding: Teens to get Youth Olympic Games". USA Today. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  3. ^ "IOC to Introduce Youth Olympic Games in 2010". 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  4. ^ "1st Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2010" (pdf). International Olympic Committee Department of Communications. 2007. p. 8. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  5. ^ "Rogge wants Youth Olympic Games". BBC Sport. 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  6. ^ "Olympischer Frieden". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 2010-12-27. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  7. ^ a b "Youth Olympic Games" (pdf). International Olympic Committee. p. 28. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Stoneman, Michael. "Welcome to the Family". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  9. ^ a b "Youth Olympic Games" (pdf). International Olympic Committee. p. 35. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  10. ^ "IOC Session: A "go" for Youth Olympic Games". International Olympic Committee. 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Factsheet Youth Olympic Games". International Olympic Committee. February 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  12. ^ Wang, Jeanette. "Perfect Pitch". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  13. ^ "Innsbruck Elected To Host the Inagural Youth Olympic Winter Games In 2012". 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  14. ^ "2018 Youth Olympic Games: Appraising Abuja’s Bid Plan". 2011-03-19. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  15. ^ "Youth Olympic Games Candidature Procedure and Questionnaire" (pdf). International Olympic Committee. p. 52. Retrieved 07 July 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Leyl, Sharanjit (2010-08-15). "Youth Olympic Games gamble for Singapore". Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  17. ^ "Cost of Youth Games goes up three-fold An extra $265 million". Comsenz Inc.. Retrieved 07 July 2011. 
  18. ^ "Youth Olympic Games to cost $387 million". Singapore Democrats. Retrieved 07 July 2011. 
  19. ^ "1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012" (pdf). International Olympic Committee. pp. 12–14. Retrieved 07 July 2011. 
  20. ^ "About Us". Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  21. ^ "Youth Olympic Games". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  22. ^ Murphy, Pam. "Youth Olympics:Which Sports?". Retrieved 12-July-2011. 
  23. ^ "Sports-Aquatics". Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Retrieved 12-July-2011. 
  24. ^ "Sports-Basketball". Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Retrieved 12-July-2011. 
  25. ^ "Sports-Cycling". Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Retrieved 12-July-2011. 
  26. ^ a b "Sports events and eligibility requirements". Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympic Games. Retrieved 12-July-2011. 
  27. ^ a b "Youth Olympic Games" (pdf). International Olympic Committee. p. 42. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  28. ^ "Teenage Kicks: The Inaugural Youth Olympic Games". SportsPro. Retrieved 12-July-2011. 
  29. ^ "Factsheet Youth Olympic Games" (pdf). International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 12-July-2011. 
  30. ^ a b "Innsbruck Elected To Host the Inagural Youth Olympic Winter Games In 2012". Retrieved 12-July-2011. 
  31. ^ "Nanjing, China Elected To Host 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games". Retrieved 12-July-2011. 
  32. ^ "One Bidder Makes Deadline For 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games". Retrieved 12-July-2011. 

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