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26 April 2007, 12:31 pm
IOC Executive Board Welcomes Idea Of Youth Olympic Games
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IOC News

On 25 April, the IOC Executive Board unanimously welcomed the idea to organize Youth Olympic Games (YOG). This means that the concept of this event will be put forward for consideration by the IOC Session in Guatemala City in July. The Youth Olympic Games are conceived, in conjunction with other initiatives, to address the decline in the relevance of sport amongst the younger generation and to give them an education based on values.
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The purpose of the YOG is to complement the Olympic Games and 'not to create mini Games,' explained Jacques ROGGE, IOC President. It would have a different character, and target youngsters aged between 14 and 18, adapted to the different sports. By creating a special occasion which places as much, if not more, emphasis on the manner in which things are achieved, rather than the sporting achievement itself, the YOG would be true to the vision of educating young people through the values sport teaches. Sports events would be carefully chosen to protect the health of the young athletes. The YOG would be a demonstration of the IOC's commitment to young people by providing for them an event of their own in the spirit of the Olympic Games.

The Format

The Summer and Winter Youth Games would alternate every four years, the Summer events would be staged in the years of the Olympic Winter Games and vice versa. The first edition of Summer YOG is envisaged for 2010. Estimates around participant numbers range from 3,000 for the Summer YOG and 1,000 for the winter counterpart. The organizational effort for a city to host the YOG would be significantly lower than for the Olympic Games. However the details of the concept still need to be defined in close cooperation with the members of the Olympic Movement. Experience can be gathered from events like the European and Australian Youth Olympic Festivals.

The YOG would create a true community for young people to participate in sport, to learn, and to share experiences with their peers. Moreover the event would offer an excellent platform to learn what the Olympic values are, what they mean and why they matter in a contemporary world. ROGGE also emphasised that the YOG would serve, alongside providing a special event for youth competition, to let young people understand the dangers of doping in sport, the risks associated with extremes - such as a sedentary lifestyle or overtraining - the benefits of a having a balanced diet and the advantages of finding a healthy balance between sport and other social and educational activities. Young people who live the YOG experience would either go on to become future Olympians, or simply ambassadors in society for sport and Olympic values, having learnt their relevance and meaning today.

The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship is ISAF's longest running event, having takening place every year since 1971. It is well known as as breeding ground for future stars of the sport, whether they be Olympic medallists, America's Cup skippers or offshore stars.

International Olympic Committee (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The ISAF Youth Worlds has long been a breeding ground for future Olympic Champions:© Peter Bentley
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