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Usain Bolt joins star-studded list of Youth Olympic Games Ambassadors 
02/07/10

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt today became the latest high-profile athlete to sign on as a Youth Olympic Games Ambassador, joining a star-studded list that also includes Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps and pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva.

Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who holds the World and Olympic records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m-relay events, will encourage young people around the globe to become more active in sport in his role as Ambassador for the Youth Olympic Games, the inaugural edition of which is scheduled to take place from 14 to 26 August in Singapore.

Bolt said: “I know how important it is to have mentors and role models when you are young to help give you focus and dreams to aspire to. I couldn’t be happier to be an Ambassador for the first Youth Olympic Games and to provide inspiration and encouragement to the young athletes participating in Singapore this summer and to kids everywhere.”

IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “We are very pleased that Usain will now join Michael and Yelena as Youth Olympic Games Ambassadors. These athletes are at the very top of their respective sports and they know the importance of having inspirational figures in their lives. Children around the world look up to Usain and it is wonderful that he has decided to motivate young people to become more active by joining the Youth Olympic Games team.”

Youth Olympic Games fever rises on Olympic Day! Just 50 days to go! 
25/06/10

Olympic Day celebrations went to another level this year with the Youth Olympic Games just around the corner! On Wednesday, athletes and Young Ambassadors going to the Games in Singapore this August celebrated this special day in their own way!

Here are just a few of the cool activities that they shared:

Hong Kong’s Young Ambassador, Sherry Tsai, set up a booth to tell people in the streets about the Youth Olympic Games and invited them to compete against Michael Phelps in the Best of Us Challenge.

Florian Kogler, the Young Ambassador from Austria, also had activities organised - read all about it in his blog.  

Chivinn Chum, the Young Ambassador from Cambodia, chatted to young people about the many benefits sport can have on them. One of the messages he told the participants was “sport is the best medicine!”

Julie De Ruyver, Belgium’s Young Ambassador with the NOC of Belgium, organised a training camp in Ghent. She also visited training facilities and organised a press conference.

Fergus Bisset, the Young Ambassador for Great Britain, was in Olympia to celebrate the day… read his blog to learn more!

Also see what Korea’s Young Ambassador, An Eunhui, did for Olympic Day in Korea on this blog!

Annika Lenz, a diver from the USA preparing for the Youth Olympic Games, shared some very cool pictures of herself and her sister enjoying some summer fun with an Olympic theme! 

Fellow athlete Laurens Sweeck, a Belgian biker, had a very active day by celebrating Olympic Day with a big training session. He’s keeping his focus firmly on the Youth Olympic Games! Laurens said, “I hope all the athletes of the YOG will have a great summer!”

The Youth Olympic Games are being held from 14 to 26 August 2010.

Singapore 2010’s brand new TV commercial
24/06/10

Singapore is ramping up the excitement for the first ever Youth Olympic Games with this new TV commercial.  Have a look at the clip and take in the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games!   

WADA and the Youth Olympic Games
22/06/10

Take a look at WADA’s Youth Zone, where you can find information on drug use (doping) in sport and why it is banned. 

Win a trip to the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore as an official IOC photographer
18/06/10

As the excitement surrounding the first-ever Youth Olympic Games in Singapore this August continues to build, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is eager to get you in on the action with a special photo contest on: www.flickr.com/groups/youtholympics.

Youth Olympic Games Ambassadors Yelena Isinbayeva (a two-time Olympic gold-medal winning pole vaulter) and Michael Phelps (a 14-time gold-medal winning swimmer) are asking to the public to share photos that you think embody the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games. The winner of the contest will be flown to Singapore, where they will capture history by becoming an official IOC photographer at the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games and receive a training session from an experienced Olympic photographer!

The IOC will choose the lucky winner on 31 July

Find out more from Yelena and Michael here:

On the record!  Young Reporters announced for Singapore 2010 
16/06/10

The IOC announced today a line-up of 29 Young Reporters Programme that will travel to Singapore for the first Youth Olympic Games.  Under the Culture and Education Programme these talented young journalists will embark on an incredible cross-platform media training programme whilst taking in the experience of the Youth Olympic Games.

Chosen from five continents, the Young Reporters will receive training from experts in the fields of broadcast and print journalism, social media and photography.  Worldwide TOP Partner Acer will also be providing the Young Reporters with a limited-edition laptop to support them in their assignments.

The Young Reporters are between the ages of 18 and 24 and are journalism students or have recently started their journalism career.

Watch out for their blogs in the YOG news section on www.olympic.org/yog between 14-26 August!

Meet Shannon Andrew, Papua New Guinea’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
14/06/10

Hello, my name is Shannon Andrew. I’m 18 years of age and I am the Young Ambassador for Papua New Guinea (PNG). PNG is situated north of Australia, with the Solomon Islands to the east and Indonesia to the west. My country gained its political independence in 1975. PNG is a developing country and has an estimated population of over six million people. The majority of the population lives in the rural areas of the country. With over 800 different languages, you can expect my country to be one of the unique beauties of diverse cultures in the world.

As far as I can recall, my involvement in sport started 14 years ago at Manchester City in England. At the age of four, I started school and played soccer at St Wilfrid’s Primary School, Hulme, a kilometre away from the famous Old Trafford, the home of the great Manchester United Football Club. I’ve played at all levels within my country from school rep soccer to club rep soccer. I’m a centre mid-fielder, currently playing the Youth Division for POM CENTRAL FC (a select squad for the junior national team). I dream and aspire to be a professional footballer playing in Europe one day.

Well, to be an ambassador for your own country, I don’t know what else to say, it is such an honour. I am looking forward to the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Singapore this August. The greatest tasks I am currently performing are helping to prepare my delegation that is travelling to the Youth Olympic Games, making them aware of the beauties, excitements, learning, fun, and experiences that they will all find in Singapore this year during the month of August. Apart from the delegation that is travelling to Singapore for the first Youth Olympic Games, I am also involved in the promotion of the Olympic spirit with the new breed of games (Youth Olympic Games) within the Olympic family in PNG, allowing more and more young people to be involved in sports.

Singapore is such a beautiful place. In March, when all the 30 Young Ambassadors attended the Culture and Education Program (CEP) Seminar, we were acquainted with the friendliest people around, met 60 of the greatest CEP champions, ate the tastiest of foods from all around Asia, and what more can I say?……. I’m so excited, I can’t wait……. So come along and let’s all experience the awesome and amazing spirit of the first ever Youth Olympic Games this August!

See You There!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meet Primrose Mhunduru, Zimbabwe’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
11/06/10

My name is Primrose Mhunduru. I am 24 years of age, turning 25 on 11 June. I am the Young Ambassador for Zimbabwe. I am currently employed by the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee as the Development Officer, and am in charge of all the programmes related to coaches, medical and athletes. I service four Commissions, which are: Athletes Commission, Development Commission, Medical Commission and Technical Commission. I am also in charge of all the Olympic Games.

I have been involved in sport as an administrator, never as a professional athlete. I really appreciate sport and I’m a great fan. I hold a Sports Science and Coaching Honours Degree from the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe. During my attachment  I got an opportunity to work for the Sports and Recreation Commission from 2006 to 2008. The Youth Olympic Games are going to be my first Olympic Games I have attended. I have been in the national organising committee for the Zimbabwe National Youth Games since 2006.

After my university studies, I was employed by the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee in 2008 to date. I have been involved with the Youth Education through Sport Programme, which uses sport as a platform to address socio-cultural issues to young people. This programme aims at promoting our culture among young people, and I have been involved since 2007.

Being Young Ambassador for the Youth Olympic Games is one of the greatest opportunities that I have ever had. This is exciting and it is a very good challenge especially for my CV. The Culture and Education Programme (CEP) Seminar, which was held in Singapore in March, was really informative and lots of fun. I learnt a lot as to what the expectations are and how to promote the CEP activities to athletes in my country. I got to appreciate the CEP that will be offered at the Games.

The best thing that Singapore has done is to make the Games for young people by young people. It is a very good thing because most of us have been empowered to work with young people. It is easier for young people to understand each other. As such, it has bridged the gap between the young athletes and old officials. There is a very small age gap between the Young Ambassadors and the athletes, and it therefore makes the programme more exciting and the athletes understand more. Athletes in my delegation are really looking forward to the CEP during the Games. I have had been involved in activities with athletes in athletics and football, and they can’t wait to come and take part in the CEP. It’s really exciting to be a Young Ambassador, and I’m learning a lot from it!

Meet Paraguay and Qatar’s Young Ambassadors for Singapore 2010!
10/06/10

It is now time you for you to meet María Sofía Irala Castagnino and Mansour Ameen, Young Ambassadors from Paraguay and Qatar.

Check out their videos below and find out more about them!

Meet Irina Merlini, Ukraine’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
09/06/10

My name is Irina Merleni. I am happy and proud to be the Youth Olympic Games Young Ambassador of Ukraine. I am 28 years old. I’m very lucky that sport has come into my life and still guides me through it. 

In 2004 in Athens, I became the first female Olympic champion in Ukrainian history. I am also a three-time winner at the Women’s Freestyle Wrestling World Championship in 2000, 2001 and 2003, two-time European Champion in 2004 and 2005; and a bronze medallist in Beijing in women’s freestyle wrestling in 2008.

I started to go in for freestyle wrestling in 1997 when I was 15. My first big achievement was a gold medal in the Youth World Championship in 1998. Since 2004, I have taken an active part in popularising wrestling worldwide, and participating in training camps, international competitions and public events.

My father is a sports teacher, so from my childhood he taught my brother and I to love sport. All the time he arranged for us different sports competitions like “Who can jump further” or “Who can run faster” or “Who can pull up  more”. At the age of five I started to go in for gymnastics, then I took up chess. When I was eight I went to music school to study the violin and the piano, but then I realised that it would be better for me to keep on practising sport. And I have never regretted it.

All my successes are linked with His Majesty Sports .  He taught me to be strong and work hard; he gave me awareness that there is nothing impossible in a life, if you can overcome yourself and keep playing fair.

As a champion I am often invited to schools and sports schools to communicate with children. I share my experience with them, tell my sport story and ask them to love sport and practise sport and lead a healthy lifestyle. I want to show this wonderful world full of joy and happiness to other kids.

My main task as Young Ambassador is to promote the Youth Olympic Games and the Olympic spirit and values among youngsters in Ukraine.
Just make a touch and you will feel it. Your dreams can come true here.

Express yourself, make friends and be healthy!

Sport stars support the first Youth Olympic Games
08/06/10

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced the list of Singapore 2010 Athlete Role Models (ARMs) for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games from 14 to 26 August in Singapore.

Many legendary names from the world of sport have been appointed as role models by the International Federations taking part in the Youth Olympic Games and by the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

The Athlete Role Models will be in Singapore to mentor the 3,600 young athletes who are expected to attend the Youth Olympic Games. Among other activities, the ARMs will spend time with the athletes and will participate in activities during the Culture and Education Programme,

See below for the list of ARMs:

Archery

Wietse van Alten

NED

Athletics

Wilson Kipketer

DEN

Badminton

Poul Erik HoyerLarsen

DEN

Badminton

Xu Huaiwen

GER

Basketball

Andrew Gaze

AUS

Basketball

Oscar Schmidt

BRA

Basketball

Alexandar Djordjevic

SER

Basketball

Michele Timms

AUS

Boxing

Domenico Valentino

ITA

Canoeing

Tony Estanguet

FRA

Cycling

Frédéric Magné

FRA

Equestrian

Lisen Bratt

SWE

Fencing

Valentina Vezzali

ITA

Football

TBC

TBC

Gymnastics

Jani Tanskanen

FIN

Judo

Ruben Houkes

NED

Handball

TBC

TBC

Hockey

Andrew Smith

AUS

Modern Pentathlon

Georgina Harland

GBR

Rowing

Lenka  Wech

GER

Sailing

Michael Gebhardt

USA

Shooting

Matthew Emmons

USA

Diving

Guo Jingjing

CHN

Table Tennis

Jean-Philippe Gatien

FRA

Taekwondo

Daniel Trenton

AUS

Tennis

Ai Sugiyama

JPN

Triathlon

Hamish Carter

NZL

Weightlifting

Pawina Thongsuk

THA

Wrestling

Daniel Robin

FRA

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Robert Balk

USA

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Claudia Bokel

GER

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Sergey Bubka

UKR

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Charmaine Crooks

CAN

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Hicham El Guerrouj

MAR

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Rania Elwani

EGY

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Frank Fredericks

NAM

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Barbara Kendall

NZL

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Yumilka Ruiz Luaces

CUB

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Dae Sung Moon

KOR

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Adam Pengilly

GBR

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Alexander Popov

RUS

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Angela Ruggiero

USA

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Rebecca Scott

CAN

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Peter Tallberg

FIN

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Pedro Yang

GUA

 IOC Athletes’ Commission

Yang Yang

CHN

Meet Erin Kennedy, the United States’ Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
08/06/10

My name is Erin Kennedy and I am the Young Ambassador for the United States. I am 24 years old and live in the beautiful state of Colorado, working as Youth Development Manager for USA Rugby, our national governing body for the sport of rugby within the United States. My job entails creating opportunities for kids to play rugby all over the country.

I completed a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Psychology (at Marywood University) and an M.A. in Sport and Performance Psychology (at the University of Denver).

My sporting background consists mainly of cross country, softball and basketball. I currently participate recreationally in rugby, triathlons, cycling, marathons and softball. I also remain active in the outdoor playground that Colorado has to offer.

I've received some awards in the sports that I have played, but the biggest achievement for me was taking my experience with sport and turning it into a career that I am incredibly passionate about.

I am incredibly excited about my role as a Young Ambassador. Every day that I come into work is a day that I look forward to, because I know that I am helping to make a difference in the lives of children through sport. To now extend that role to the Youth Olympic Games is an opportunity I would have only dreamed of. I was able to take my experience with sport and extend that to a career that I am passionate about.

My mission as a Young Ambassador is to help these young athletes take what they are learning and developing through sport and use that in other areas of their lives in order to be leaders not only in sport, but also in life. Through working directly with the athletes, as well as promoting the Games to the youth of the United States, I am confident that I can help to make a difference. Sport is an incredible platform for being successful in life and it is my goal to help the world see that.

Meet Kwanieze John, Trinidad and Tobago’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
07/06/10

Hi!! I am Kwanieze John the Young Ambassador from Trinidad and Tobago. I am 21 years of age and I am a first year student of the University of Trinidad and Tobago pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Sports for Development.

I am outgoing, fun and sporty!!! I have been involved in sport since I was a child: swimming, cycling, cricket and now I play rugby. I have been playing rugby for the past five years, being a national rugby player for the past three years. I was named National Player of the Year 2007 and consequently nominated for the Sports Woman of the Year Award 2007. I received the award of Vision and Yeoman Service to Royalians Rugby Football Club as the Youth Development Officer. Youth Development is one of my many passions and I see sport as the ideal vehicle for holistic development.

Trinidad and Tobago is rich with culture. As a child of the soil, I participate in most cultural activities. One time I was even crowned the Carnival Queen of St. Francois Girls College.

‘Decisions Determine Destiny’

My decision to play sport and to be involved with young people has afforded me the opportunity to create history as one of the 30 Young Ambassadors of the Youth Olympic Games. I am honoured to be a Young Ambassador, to be the catalyst of the Olympic values being shared among athletes and non-athletes as well.

Fun fun fun is definitely on my agenda for the Youth Olympic Games!!! The Culture and Education Programme (CEP), unique to all sporting events, is fun and interactive!!! My aim is to ensure that the athletes experience the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games not only through their participation in their respective disciplines, but also in the CEP.

We are about to create history... Let’s do it with excellence!!!

Meet Mediha Cakiroglu, Turkey’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
04/06/10

I am Mediha Cakiroglu, Young Ambassador from Turkey. I have been an archer since I was nine years old. I competed for four years as a professional athlete in the Turkish Archery National Team. I won many medals in competitions, for example at the European Cup, we got a gold medal there with my team. ( I still practise it but my condition is not good enough to get into a national team again. :)  ) I also practised tennis for a long time as a hobby and I studied in the Sports Academy as a tennis coach.

I went to Mexico in high school as an exchange student and I stayed there approximately two years. Then I studied in Gazi University of Physical Education and Sports. I am now studying in Bahcesehir University as a Master student of Sports Management.

I love to play sport and it is also a big tradition in my family. My mom and dad were professional athletes. My mom was a gymnast and my dad was a basketball player. Then my dad started to practise archery in my 12th year just to accompany me. In the course of time he got into a National Team with me. We competed together and that was one of the unforgettable times of my life. I felt proud, confident and emotional all together. That was a big mix of feelings for me :)

I worked in the Turkish Archery Federation as an Spanish translator as a part time job during university, in GYSO Sports School as a camp director for six summers, in the Turkish Sports Writers Association Sports Club as a Tennis Club Coordinator and in the WOW Istanbul Hotels as a Health Club Department  Manager. Finally, in February 2010, I set up my own company around sports organisation. I am working to improve the meaning of “Sports” for young athletes and organise seminars for athletes. I also worked in Universiade 2005 Izmir and the 16th, 17th and 29th Archery World Cup Antalya.

As a Young Ambassador, my mission is to inform all the delegates, especially the Turkish athletes, to enjoy their trip for the first Youth Olympic Games.  The Culture and Education Programme is amazing: I believe that the athletes will enjoy their stay in Singapore. I will do my best to inform all the delegates and the athletes about all details before their trip. J I love the Singapore people and I am sure that is a big opportunity for me to promote the Youth Olympic Games to everyone here.

I’m sure they will enjoy the trip to Singapore. They will not want to go back to their countries after the all these Culture and Education Programme activities! I would love to be a young athlete in the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games!

Meet Danka Barteková, Slovakia’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010!
03/06/10

Hello, I’m Danka Barteková, the Young Ambassador of the Youth Olympic Games from Slovakia. I’m 25 years old and live in Trnava, Slovakia.

I’m a professional athlete. When I was 13, I completely fell in love with shooting.  It was quite easy to get in touch with this sport as my father was a hunter and he just drove me to the shooting range, gave me a shotgun and asked me to shoot. Since then, I have represented my country in a shotgun event, called Skeet. Trying to hunt as many clay targets as possible everytime :-)  

I  participated in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Even though I didn’t win a medal, I really enjoyed the real Olympic spirit and incredible atmosphere. It was amazing to see athletes from all over the world trying to do their best, to overcome themselves and to represent their countries as well as they could. That’s what I love about sport – it makes people go beyond their limits and makes them a bit better human beings :-)

I  graduated at the Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations in Banska Bystrica, with diplomacy as the main subject. I would love to combine my two hobbies – sport and diplomacy – to become a good sports diplomat. Working in the field of representing the needs of athletes, preparing good conditions for their training, performances and even their life after finishing their professional careers is my biggest wish.

That’s why I’m so excited about being a Young Ambassador! It’s a big honour for me to be a part of the Youth Olympic Games! I’m looking forward to meeting all the young athletes, being a part of their incredible experience in Singapore. I will do my best to promote the Culture and Education Programme, because it’s something they will never forget! So... my advice is clear: Don’t hesitate and join us there! Take part in the amazing activities and enjoy the unforgettable moments which are ready to change your life! You’ll never forget the Singapore Culture and Education Programme!

Meet Sean Lee, Singapore’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010!
02/06/10

Hey peeps, my name is Sean Lee and I’m the Young Ambassador for Singapore! I am 19 this year and I am currently completing my final year in Singapore Polytechnic, doing a double diploma in Business Information Technology and Psychology. I am a national sailor and have represented Singapore for competitions like World Championships, Asian Games and South East Asian Games. My best achievement so far is winning the team event and best performing country at the IODA Optimist World Championship in 2006. I am currently sailing the 470, and my aim is to make it for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. I was currently from the Singapore Sports School and I am very interested in all sports simply because sports make people happy and also provide many opportunities to make friends from all cultures.

My sailing career started when I was just a little kid at the age of seven. I didn’t like the sport at first because it forced me to be alone at sea. But as I sailed more often, I began to like the sport, enjoying a different environment out at sea compared to being on land. It’s been 12 years of sailing for me now and through these years I have learnt so much about the world through travelling. I also had many opportunities to give back to the community through my sport and have also become a much better person. I have previously helped out in raising money to help out victims in Myanmar during cyclone Nargis, and also for the victims of the Sichuan earthquake.

Through my experiences, I have learnt so much. That’s why I am really excited to be appointed as the Young Ambassador for Singapore, so that I can share all that I’ve got from my career with the elite young athletes from my country. 

I see my role as a Young Ambassador to be a mentor for the athletes, not only to guide them whenever they need support, but to also help them to become better people through sports. The Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence have so much meaning to them, of which I could share with the athletes. I would mainly be focusing on the cultural and educational part of the Youth Olympic Games as the programme provides these young and promising athletes with life skills that are also very useful in becoming a world class athlete. I hope that these Youth Olympic Games will really be an amazing experience for all the athletes and I will do my best to make sure that happens!

Meet Serge MWAMBALI, Rwanda’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
01/06/10

Hey! I am Serge MWAMBALI, Young Ambassador from the Heart of Africa, “Rwanda”. I am 25 years old and hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Sport and Education. Since 2008, I have been working at the National Olympic Academy of Rwanda as a Programme Manager.

I started sport when I was still young. My family always encouraged me. They used to buy me different sports equipment (sportswear, balls, etc.) Since then, I have become so attracted to sport. I started playing sport when I was 12. To start off, I was best in football when in Primary School. At that time I was nicknamed Abedi Pele (a famous African football star).  I only got into basketball when I started secondary school, for two reasons: firstly, my secondary school was not equipped with a football pitch.  Secondly, all my school mates used to play basketball. I then integrated my junior school team and later the senior team of my secondary school, “College Inyemeramihigo”. Then I was nicknamed Allen Iverson (famous NBA player). I was still playing at university, but this time in League 1, and it’s only when I started working that I stopped, to integrate the coaching domain. I now hold a FIBA level 1 coaching certificate and I am currently coaching a junior team in League 2.

Young people occupy a strategic place in the Olympic Movement.  When you belong to the Olympic Movement you definitively become a beneficiary of a big heritage, best destiny, and glorious task that young people should carry on with success! So, I think that it’s a real opportunity for all of us to have the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August 2010.  As a Young Ambassador, it has been very interesting to be involved in the process of promoting the Youth Olympic Games. I am definitely going to facilitate and encourage young people to integrate the Olympic Movement. It represents for me a noble task that I have to manage with class.

Singapore 2010 premieres theme song starring international artists!
31/05/10

The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games theme song, “Everyone”, was premiered on 30 May in Singapore! You may have heard the announcement in March of the international singers; you can now see them in the theme song music video. The video features the five stars performing at some of Singapore’s most famous places: the Float@Marina Bay, the Marina Barrage and the Singapore Flyer.

The five musical talents from five different continents are Jody Williams (Africa), Sean Kingston (Americas), Tabitha Nauser (Asia), Steve Appleton (Europe) and Jessica Mauboy (Oceania). The presence of these five top young singers shows the will to create a global anthem for today’s young people. The music was written and composed by Ken Lim, a Singaporean record producer and composer.

The singers will reunite in Singapore to perform the song on 14 August 2010 at the Opening Ceremony of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, which will be held at the Float@Marina Bay and televised worldwide.

Check out the video here!

Meet Maysam Bisharat, Amman-Jordan’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010!
31/05/10

My name is Maysam Bisharat; I am 26 years old, I have been raised in Amman-Jordan all my life and went to London for university. I studied fine arts and cultural studies for four years and now I am back in Jordan. I started my own events management company and I am also an accessory designer, which I have been doing for the past year only.

I am a horse rider, was born into a family that loves the sport and have been riding for 18 years now. I started participating in international competitions at the age of 13. I take my sport very seriously as we own a stable here in Jordan. I ride six times a week and train well. I have had good results in the past four years in the Arab league and local competitions. I am currently leading the federation competitions as well as the local club competitions.

As a hobby I like to paint, I have been doing that for the past 11 years and this year I would like to exhibit my paintings. I think art is serene and very important because it calms me down and puts me in a good mood. Sometimes I also like to write Arabic poetry and soon I would like to publish my first Arabic poetry book!

I feel honoured to be part of this mission and help develop extended collaboration between Jordan and the other National Olympic Committees. I am very proud of our Jordanian athletes and I sincerely believe that we are champions and have a lot to offer. We need to promote Olympism more actively to our young people, and this is where I come in. My efforts and programmes will be dedicated to spreading knowledge on the importance of developing one’s skills and participating in an athletic programme. Many of the world’s finest athletes never planned on engaging in the sport they are gifted at, until someone gave them a push. I am here to try and give that push. The health and social awareness that is gained from participating in the Olympic Games is invaluable and Jordanian athletes ought to be a part of that. I am also very excited to meet my fellow young ambassadors, to unite and make this glorious event memorable.

Meet Alina Nyukhtina, Russia’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
28/05/10

I’m Alina Nyukhtina, a 20-year-old Young Ambassador for Russia. I live in a small town, 8 km west of Moscow. Being a student in my 4th year, I’m going to get my Master’s degree in teaching foreign languages. At the same time I am editor-in-chief of a local newspaper for young people. Actually, journalism has been my hobby for a long time, as well as photography. I also adore diving and dream of touching a wild dugong one day. And, I think, here it should go without saying, that I’m keen on sports! My motto that usually helps me in any situation is the following, “it doesn’t matter what you see, but the way you look at it is really important!”

When I was a child, my parents introduced me to rhythmic gymnastics and I enjoyed this sport for many years, taking part in different local and regional championships. Unfortunately, I don’t do any gymnastics anymore, but I do go in for some sports such as swimming, volleyball and skating just for myself, not professionally. I also take part in the organisation of various sports events, as well as culture and entertainment ones, for young people.

As for my educational achievements, I finished school with honours and I expect the same situation with my graduation from the institute in a year and a half. I also took additional courses in journalism, psychology and business. It’s difficult to speak about cultural achievements, but a few years ago I was awarded with “the Medal of Sholokhov” for my contribution to the development of literature.

I think it’s a really great honour for all 30 of us to be Young Ambassadors for the 1st ever Youth Olympic Games! And, of course, it’s an even greater responsibility. Feeling that we are going to become even a tiny part of the history of this new branch of the Olympic Movement makes all of us do our best so that we can contribute to it as much as possible. I believe the position of a YA combines my three main passions: sports, dealing with young people and exploring different cultures.

I totally share the ideas of the Culture and Education Programme (CEP) and I’m eager to engage young people in it! I’m ready to work with the young sportsmen and women from the national delegation, as well as young people in general, to promote the ideas of the Youth Olympic Games. And I’m looking forward to the Games themselves to help the young sportsmen and women enjoy the CEP! I am sure that, in close correlation with the sports events, it is going to change their lives!

Meet Devon Van Der Merwe, South Africa’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
27/05/10

Hi! My name is Devon van der Merwe, the Young Ambassador for South Africa. I am currently working as a sports cocoordinator at Alexandra High School in Pietermaritzburg. I work with young people that are passionate about excelling in their sport and education. I have been involved in sport for most my life and participated in the junior outdoor hockey world cup in 2005. I have mostly been involved in hockey, through playing, coaching and development programmes.

I did my Bachelor of Social Science degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg Campus, majoring in Psychology and Human Resource Management. Thereafter I completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, specialising in Business Studies, Life Orientation and Guidance & Counselling. Having been involved in sport for so many years gave me the opportunity to work with young people and see them have the same opportunities that I had to do well. I also work as a level 1 coaching facilitator for the South African Hockey Association. I currently play hockey for the university of KwaZulu-Natal and Inland. I run the Midlands Senior Women's and u18 girls High Performance Programmes for 2009-2010.

As a young ambassador, my mission is to raise awareness in South Africa about the Youth Olympic Games and to introduce the athletes to the Culture and Education Programme (CEP) that will be part of the Youth Olympic Games. Having had the opportunity to experience some of the activities of the programme, I think we can explain and promote the programme with better understanding. I believe Singapore is a great setting for the 1st Youth Olympic Games to take place, with a welcoming and exciting community. Hopefully, with the FIFA World Cup coming to South Africa in June 2010, we can use this setting to get people talking and excited about young athletes participating in Singapore.

Time is marching on and Singapore 2010 is nearly on our doorstep, such exciting times ahead, SEE YOU THERE!!!!!

Meet Hamza Lachheb, Morocco’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
26/05/10

My name is Hamza Lachheb, I am 22 years old and the Moroccan Young Ambassador. I am a student in my fourth year at the Business College, taking the business and market finance option. I played in my university’s football team and was President of my university’s sports association for two years. I love team sports as they let you improve team spirit and eliminate the differences between people.

When I was chosen by my National Olympic Committee to be a Young Ambassador, I knew there was a great challenge ahead of me: to be a member of the team responsible for organising a major international event, needs a great deal of work and incredible willpower to promote the Youth Olympic Games.

My mission is clear: promoting the YOG in my country and helping the athletes in my delegation to get involved in the Culture and Education Programme!

Meet Tina Eunhui, Korea’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
25/05/10

My name is Tina Eunhui, I’m 22 years old and I’m the Young Ambassador for Korea. I believe I’m creative and positive and I like challenges.

I graduated in international studies and went abroad to Sydney to complete the TECSOL course. I was part of the 2009 Global Youth Exchange programme by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan, and am currently involved in the Korean Olympic Committee in the Sports Diplomacy Academy.

I'm honoured to be part of the very first Youth Olympic Games and am ready to promote them not only in Korea, but also across the world as a Young Ambassador. My mission is to let everyone know that there is more than gold in sport and Olympism, and explain the meaning of the Youth Olympic Games. As one of the Ambassadors, I will be a part of the Youth Olympic Games spirit and will help deliver more to athletes than what they are shown during competition.

Follow me on my blog at http://blog.daum.net/yog_korea

Meet Fabrizia D’Ottavio, Italy’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
20/05/10

I’m Fabrizia D’Ottavio, the young ambassador for Italy. I’m 25 and I come from Chieti, a little town in Abruzzo. I was a gymnast with the Italian national team from 2002 to 2008, and I left competition after the Olympic Games in Beijing.

The most important results of my career are the silver medal in the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, and the gold medals in the Baku World Championships in 2005 and the European Championships in Turin in 2008.

Now I’m studying communication at university, and I’m working with a theatrical company made up of eight ex-gymnasts (called Rhyth.mix), and doing performances on television, too.

My appointment as a young ambassador is an honour for me, and I really hope that my contribution will help to spread the Olympic values among young people.

Excellence, Friendship, Respect, but also Joy...in one word, Sport!!

Meet Idris Musa, Indonesia’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
19/05/10

Hi! My name is Idris Musa, the Young Ambassador from Indonesia. I’m 28 years old now, not too young anymore I guess!

I am not an athlete, yet I play some sports like futsal, basketball, running and swimming. I was in the basketball team when I was in junior high school, and we won a Junior High School Championship! At least I won something in sports!

Well, I may not be an athlete, but now I’m dealing with them. I am currently working for the Indonesia Olympic Committee as Protocol Manager. My duty is to ensure the official relations between all National Olympic Committees abroad and the Indonesia Olympic Committee are managed correctly. I was appointed in October 2009 as the Headquarters Official for the 3rd Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam to manage the financial and administrative reports of the Indonesia contingent consisting of 148 persons.

I have my Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta as the fastest graduated student with the highest Grade Point Average (3.73). Then, I completed a one-year diploma in Public Relations and gained a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Monash University – Melbourne in 2008.

During my study in Melbourne, I was working as Vice-President of the Indonesian Student Association in Monash University from 2007 to 2008 and also worked on a project to promote Indonesia tourism called the Sulawesi Night, part of the Indonesia Festival in Melbourne. I guess that now I have a bigger task to do: PROMOTING THE FIRST EVER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES! I hope I can do this well! See you all in August!!

Meet Angeliki Kordali, Greece’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
18/05/10

My name is Angeliki; I am 25 years old and I live in Pikermi, a suburb of Athens. I am a PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, and my main focus is wireless communications and networks, but I also work part time for the organisation of the Masters Degree Programme on Olympic Studies that is run by the International Olympic Academy in Ancient Olympia. At the same time, as I cannot live without having a schedule totally full, I’m following a Masters Degree Programme on Engineering-Economic Systems as well as the undergraduate programme of the Faculty of Primary Education.

My first experience with sports was at the age of 5, when my parents took me and my brother to a swimming pool to learn how to swim. I loved it and I kept swimming for many years. Now I still often go swimming, but I also play basketball in the local team. I like music, films and literature, and I love dancing, especially Latin dances.

Being a Young Ambassador is a great honour for me and has been a great experience so far. During the CEP* Seminar in March, I had the chance to meet all the Young Ambassadors and to learn a lot about the CEP of the Games. In Singapore, we became good friends and shared our views about our role. The Seminar gave us a lot of enthusiasm and enriched us with ideas on how to promote the YOG and especially the CEP in our countries.

*Culture and Education Programme

 Meet Sherry Tsai, Hong Kong’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
17/05/10

I am Sherry Tsai, the Young Ambassador from Hong Kong.

I was a member of the Hong Kong National Swimming Team for 14 years, and I have just retired from the sport after the 2009 East Asian Games, which were held in Hong Kong. I am now a masters student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, a sports presenter for the sport programme “Sports World”, and a part-time swimming coach.

I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007 and became a full-time athlete. In my 14 years of swimming career, I have been to three Olympic Games, including 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing. At the 2004 Athens Games, I was much honoured to be chosen as the flag bearer of the Hong Kong Delegation at the Opening Ceremony.

Being one of the Young Ambassadors of the Youth Olympic Games, I wish that I can inspire young athletes about the “true meaning” of sport: “it is not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game”. At the Youth Olympic Games, athletes not only have to compete, they also have a unique opportunity to join the Cultural and Education Programme, where athletes can have fun and learn about sports from different perspectives. Let’s go YOG!!

Meet Great Britain’s young ambassador for Singapore 2010
12/05/10

Hello! I’m Fergus, the Young Ambassador for Great Britain. My sporting background is as a cross-country skier and ski coach - I’ve been fortunate to compete at FIS Continental Cup level in Europe and the southern hemisphere. I also grew up swimming and playing rugby and cricket, and am now training for a marathon.

My undergraduate degree was in industrial design, and I am completing a master’s degree at Brunel University in London - looking at how designers can learn from sports psychology to create products and provide services that are more motivating and engaging for people to use. I’ve also recently completed some consultancy work with the National Health Service in the UK - co-creating public services that promote physical activity. These services will be launched to coincide with the London 2012 Summer Games and ensure that the Olympics inspire and energise a sustainable legacy of increased sporting participation and physical well-being amongst local people.

It’s a huge honour to have been appointed Young Ambassador and to be promoting the Culture and Education Programme of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games. I think, from my own experiences and as my research into motivation and engagement has demonstrated, the idea of sustainability - in all our lives, but especially the lives of young athletes - is incredibly important for ensuring that we are all capable of achieving our potential, in sport and in life! I’m looking forward to helping support the young British athletes and their coaches to achieve their ambitions in Singapore, not just in the sporting competitions but also through the Culture and Education Programme, to ensure that their success as athletes and role models to society is sustainable throughout their whole career. Just as in some of the social innovation projects I have worked on, I see social media as a really valuable tool for helping support the athletes and keep them informed of what they can expect in Singapore. I also see social media as a fantastic tool for enabling people from all over the world to participate in and share the spirit of Singapore 2010 and its celebration of the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence.

Meet Karolin Weber, Germany’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
11/05/10

Hi, I’m Karolin Weber, the Young Ambassador of the German National Olympic Committee for the 1st Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. I am a fifth-year medicine student at the University of Saarland.

In my free time, I love to spend my time on everything that has to do with sport. Since I was a little child, I have been fascinated by the Olympic spirit. When I was a competitive athlete, it was always my dream to take part in the Olympic Games. At the age of 17 I thought that I had to abandon this dream because of an injury. That was when I started volunteering for the German Sports Youth. Since 2008, I have been a board member of the Sports Youth of Rhineland-Palatinate responsible for youth politics, and a member of the German Sports Youth Working Committee for German-Japanese sports exchange. I gained my international youth work experience while I was participating in the Olympic Youth Camp held by the Sports Youth of Rhineland-Palatinate in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. I was a participant in the ENGSO Youth Conference in Budapest, in 2006, and a facilitator at the Youth and Sports Forum in Bonn, in 2007. In the same year, I organised the 2nd European Fair Play Congress in Frankfurt. One year later, I was a German Sports Youth delegation member of an official visit at the invitation of a minister in China. All those activities allowed me to get to know the sport structures, to work with young athletes and to promote cross-cultural learning.

Being a Young Ambassador at the first Youth Olympic Games is a once-in-a-lifetime chance and a great honour for me. It offers me the chance to promote the Olympic values: excellence, friendship and respect. The national and international network I built up during the five years of volunteer work in sports is a good foundation for this challenge. Because of my experience in international youth work I am able to support the young participants and help them overcome the barriers of culture and language. After meeting the other Young Ambassadors and the CEP Champions in Singapore in March, it is difficult to wait for the Youth Olympic Games to start and to continue the great work we experienced in March!

On 24 July, I will be taking part in the celebration held for the torch relay in Berlin. I will be meeting all the German athletes who have qualified for the Youth Olympic Games to spark their interest in the CEP. During the Youth Olympic Games, I want to pass on my enthusiasm, especially to the athletes of my NOC, but also to all the other athletes. I would like to be the contact person for any concern they have and to help them enjoy this experience. After the Games, there will be a lot of work to do to prepare for the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 2012. I hope to be able to take part in this preparation to continue the work I started on 27 January when I was nominated Young Ambassador of the German National Olympic Committee for the 1st Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

Last but not least, I want to give a piece of advice to all the young people out there: GET INVOLVED!!! There will not be any change if nobody asks for a change. The Youth Olympic Games are going to be what you make of them!

Meet Marios Athanasiades, Cyprus’ Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
10/05/10

It has been three weeks since we launched the Young Ambassador programme on the YOG news face and you have met our fellow Young Ambassadors from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada and China.

It is now time you for you to meet Cyprus’ Young Ambassador: Marios Athanasiades.

Check out his video below and find out more about him!

99 days to Singapore 2010!
07/05/10

As the 99 days to go to Singapore 2010 bell is ringing today, the Singapore Organising Committee organised an evening celebration at *Scape, a venue which will host some of the Culture and Education activities this summer.

The 99 day celebration concluded in style the 4th (and final!) Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Coordination Commission which took place this week in Singapore. Many activities were held such as cultural and musical performances, and also a Basketball tournament featuring the 3 on 3 Basketball event new for the Youth Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee has also launched today a photo competition on Flickr to capture the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games. We are asking our Youth Olympic Games fans to go grab their cameras and put in pictures the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games! The winner will get to go to Singapore as the official Youth Olympic Games photographer and get a training session with an experienced Olympic photographer.

More information on http://www.flickr.com/groups/youtholympics.

On this occasion, Michael Phelps and Yelena Isinbayeva, YOG Ambassadors, have taken up the challenge of answering questions from the Youth Olympic Games Facebook fans’. See the videos below to and on Facebook Youth Olympic Games fan page

Meet WANG Kan, China’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010!
06/05/10

I’m WANG Kan, the Young Ambassador from China. I’m a staff member in the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of China. Even though I have no experience as a professional athlete, I have been a sports fan for more than 15 years and have been involved in sports, especially football for four years.

I majored in English at my university, Dalian University of Foreign Languages in China. After graduation, I got a chance to join the Chinese Football Association as an interpreter. That was an ideal job for a football fan like me. During my three years in the Football Association, I participated in the organisation of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2008 East Asian Football Championship. I also worked as the team administrator for the Chinese U19 Youth team.

Since July 2009, I’ve been working in the Secretariat of the Chinese Olympic Committee. I attended in the 3rd Asian Indoor Games which were held in Vietnam in November 2009 as a delegation official.

Even though I watched many matches during the Beijing Olympic Games, these YOG will be my first time working in an Olympic event.

As a Young Ambassador, my biggest mission is to make sure all the delegates, especially the athletes from China, can enjoy their trip to the first YOG. During my visit to Singapore for the Culture and Education Programme (CEP) Seminar, I found all the other Young Ambassadors, CEP Champions, SYOGOC staff and volunteers so nice. All the CEP Programmes are also amazing. I believe that the athletes will enjoy their stay in Singapore.

Besides, I also want to try my best to promote the YOG and the Olympic spirit in China. After the Beijing Olympic Games, almost everyone in China is interested in the Olympics. My task is to let more people know about the new-born YOG.

Another special task for me is to assist Nanjing to promote the 2nd Summer YOG in 2014. Nanjing is ready to welcome all the friends here.

I’m sure you will enjoy your journey to Singapore; just come and join us!

Meet Callum Ng, Canada’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010!
05/05/10

Hello, my name is Callum Ng, I am Canadian and I love sport. I want everyone, whatever their background, all around the world, to find a love for play. It might be in sport, it might just be a little more laughter, we should all just play.

I am a swimmer. Now retired, I was a national team swimmer for a few years, and I did two degrees: a BA in Philosophy and a Masters of Management at the University of British Columbia.

I am passionately excited to be a Young Ambassador. I want this role to touch as many lives as possible. With social media tools, hard work and unyielding enthusiasm I will spread the Olympic values - excellence, friendship and respect - throughout Canada, Singapore and all over the world. Everyone can comprehend the goodness and majesty of sport; we all just need to be introduced.

Meet Chivinn Chum, Cambodia’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010
04/05/10

It has been two weeks since we launched the Young Ambassador programme on the YOG news face and you have met our fellow Young Ambassadors from Australia, Austria, Belgium and Brazil.

It is now time you for you to meet Cambodia’s Young Ambassador: Chivinn CHUM.

Check out his video below and find out more about him!

Meet Brazil’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010!
03/05/10

Hello, my name is Patricia Freitas, I’m the Young Ambassador from Brazil.

I am a windsurfer and have been sailing since I was 13 years old. I am currently number one in Brazil, and my first participation in an Olympic Games was in Beijing in 2008. I have finished school and I am now studying architecture. I was once a volunteer teacher at a sailing school and have helped many new athletes take their first steps with windsurfing equipment.

I am very happy and proud to be a Young Ambassador. I believe our role in the YOG is very important since I have been to an actual Olympic Games and have seen how some professional athletes lack the abilities and attitudes we will be helping to develop in the young athletes going to Singapore in August. I believe the activities promote a very healthy competition atmosphere and are based on very important values, such as teamwork, strategy building and friendship.

Meet Belgium’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010!
30/04/10

My name is Julie De Ruyver, I’m 28 years old and I’m fascinated by … sport! One specific sport has my full attention: TENNIS! Since 2003, I’ve been working at the marketing department of the Belgian NOC. I work as a coordinator of the “Belgian Olympic Hospitality Programme for the Olympic Games of London in 2012” and I’m a contact person between the marketing-communications department and the Belgian athletes. I try to contact - and contract - Olympic Suppliers for the Olympic Summer & Winter Games.

This year, my NOC gave me the challenge to promote the first edition of the Youth Olympic Games in my country and I will do my best to achieve this goal by bringing all delegations – and youngsters - from throughout the world together to celebrate Olympic fraternity, and by promoting the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence.

I’m very proud to be one of the 30 Young Ambassadors selected from all over the world by the International Olympic Committee. According to me, sports are – besides music - one of the most universal themes in the world.

As a Young Ambassador, I’ll do my best to play an active and important role with respect to the Belgian junior Olympic team, as well as Belgian youth in general, in the period before, during and after the Games, and this by representing friendship, individually, in a team and between countries.

See her online profile on the Cube here.

IOC announces Yelena Isinbayeva as Youth Olympic Games Ambassador
27/04/10

Olympic pole-vaulting legend Yelena Isinbayeva today became an official Ambassador of the Youth Olympic Games. She joins swimming superstar Michael Phelps, who was announced as an Ambassador in February.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Isinbayeva will support the Youth Olympic Games by encouraging the participation of young people in sport around the world.

Isinbayeva said: “I am happy to play such an important role in getting young people active, and the Youth Olympic Games provides the perfect vehicle with which to inspire young people around the world to do incredible things through sport.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for me to pursue whilst I take a break from competition. I look forward to having a positive impact on young people and can’t wait for the first Youth Olympic Games to get under way this August. I will be in Singapore to support the athletes, to encourage them to do their best and enjoy the whole experience.”

IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “We have a true champion in Yelena, a true role model for young people. I have no doubt that the 3,600 athletes who come to Singapore this summer will be very impressed with her and will be inspired to dream bigger and accomplish even more than they already have.”

The first-ever Youth Olympic Games will be held from 14 to 26 August in Singapore. The mission of the Youth Olympic Games is to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and adopt and live by the Olympic values.

Meet Austria’s Young Ambassador for Singapore 2010!
21/04/10

My name is Florian Kogler, I am 22 years old and I live in St Poelten, Austria. I hold a bachelor’s degree in “Sports, Culture and Event Management” and I am currently going for my masters in advertising. However, since my goal is to become a sports psychologist, I have also started an undergraduate course in psychology, hoping to finish that as well one day.

My passion for sport started when my dad introduced me to team handball when I was seven. I spent the next 15 years playing that wonderful sport. Although I ended my career this season, I’m still involved as a manager and a coach. I started three-step coaching training this year and would love to become a certified coach one day. Besides sport, I am really into music, films and literature.

For me, it’s an indescribable honour to be named a Young Ambassador and to help promote the YOG and the Olympic values. I think that, as the first Young Ambassadors ever, we are in the unique position to shape the YOG and add up to something great. After the Young Ambassador seminar in Singapore in March, I think we are on a really great path, since we have a team of such amazingly talented and dedicated individuals. In less than a week, we not only learnt what it means to be an Ambassador for the Olympic Movement, but we also became really close friends. And I think this is what the whole YOG experience is about: Taking words like Excellence, Friendship and Respect and filling them with life.

See his online profile on the Cube here.

Meet the Young Ambassadors for Singapore 2010
20/04/10

Today sees the start of the “Meet the Young Ambassadors” series in the YOG News section. Every day for a month, you will be able to discover a new profile of the young ambassadors who will be going to Singapore this summer.

Their role is to promote the YOG in their countries with the support of their National Olympic Committees, and then to accompany their NOC delegation to the Games and introduce the athletes to the Culture and Education Programme of which they had a sneak preview at the Young Ambassadors Seminar in Singapore in March. The Young Ambassadors programme is supported by Worldwide TOP Partner, Acer, who has provided each Young Ambassador with a limited edition laptop enabling them to communicate their activities online and in their respective communities.

Follow them on their journey to the YOG! You can do so by checking the newly launched participants face on the Cube.

Meet Elise! The Young Ambassador from Australia.

My name is Elise Rechichi. My friends would describe me as someone who can never sit still, and I am always up for a challenge!

My background in Olympic sport is as an athlete. I won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, in sailing, in the 470 women’s class with my partner Tessa Parkinson. As with any athlete who makes it to an Olympics, we endured a pretty tough ride. In retrospect though, it is the journey that I cherish the most; and as a team, our resilience and determination that I am most proud of.

I love sport, and while I understand that it is certainly is not everything, it is only since Beijing that I have come to appreciate its unique place in life. Even in the most unlikely of circumstances it brings people together, countries together. It also delivers a powerful message – the importance and joy of living an active life. I love both taking part and watching sport, and I cannot imagine my life without it.

I love exploring other cultures (food particularly!), and sport provides us with this opportunity. I realise how lucky I was to compete in an Olympic Games in China - a place so culturally different from Australia. It’s one thing to visit a country as a tourist, but to live there and operate in a completely different environment gives us such a greater level of understanding and appreciation.

I think my role as a Young Ambassador is primarily to share my passion for sport with as many people as possible. I feel that I can deliver this with a great level of authenticity because I live and breathe it every day. Come Games-time, I hope the athletes feel that they can share their journey with me – their joy and their disappointment, and that I can reassure them when often the Olympic environment can feel like a pressure cooker. Most importantly however, at a time when people are becoming more sedentary, if I can deliver the message of the Youth Olympic Games to more young Australians, and inspire them to get outside and play a game, any game, to pick up a bat, or kick a ball, I will be happy.

On your marks, get set, go! Singapore 2010 tickets are now available
09/04/10

The Singapore 2010 Organising Committee (SYOGOC) has opened the ticket sales for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, which will take place in Singapore from 14 to 26 August 2010.

320,000 tickets are on sale at affordable prices so everyone can attend: tickets will cost SGD 10 for preliminary events, SGD 15 for quarter- and semi-finals and SGD 30 for finals.

Worldwide TOP partner Visa is supporting the Singapore 2010 Organising Committee with its ticket sales programme, and will provide a Singapore 2010 DBS Visa Prepaid Companion Card with every ticket purchase. As well as being a prepaid top-up card, the Visa card will offer up to four free MRT train rides and unlimited bus rides for the day of the event for which the ticket is purchased.

For more information on the ticket sales click here: www.singapore2010.sg/tickets

IOC President’s visit to Singapore: an action-packed YOG week!
26/03/10

President Rogge visited Singapore this week in time for the first YOG Chefs de Mission Seminar and to see the Young Ambassadors Programme get off to a flying start with 30 inspirational young people flying in from all over the world.

The President also had the opportunity to see the latest developments in the preparations since his visit just over two years ago after Singapore was elected host city for the first YOG. He embarked on a venue tour, taking in locations that will host the sports competitions and cultural and educational activities. The tour culminated by him leaving his hand print in a clay stone at the Youth Olympic Village alongside Ng Ser Miang, Singapore 2010 Chairman.

In his busy calendar, he met and chatted with the Young Ambassadors who will be promoting the Youth Olympic Games in their communities, motivating their delegation and encouraging involvement in the Culture and Education Programme. This was deemed a great honour for the Young Ambassadors, who took the opportunity of a lifetime to ask the President questions face-to-face.

The President also paid a visit to the Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.

The Singapore trip ended with the announcement yesterday of the Singapore 2010 theme song singers, who come from all five continents. The singers were in Singapore this week to record the theme song and film the music video. They will come together to perform the theme song at the Opening Ceremony of the Games, which will be held on 14 August 2010 at The Float@Marina Bay. More information is available at http://www.singapore2010.sg/public/whyohgee/en/.

To see all the pictures of the week, connect to Singapore 2010’s Flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/singapore2010/.

 

Singapore is the place to be this week !
22/03/10

Things are getting serious for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore this summer. An exciting week lies ahead of us, with the first ever YOG Chefs de Mission (CDM) Seminar and the Young Ambassadors Seminar both happening in one place! The IOC President will also attend this event to mark the final stretch before the Games, taking place from 14 to 26 August.

The CDM seminar is intended to bring together the NOC delegations’ Chefs de Mission who will be accompanying the young athletes in Singapore this summer.

The Young Ambassadors Seminar, a new YOG preparatory event, will bring together young people from all over the world as they promote the YOG in their communities. They will also have a role during the Games and will help the athletes to make full use of the Culture and Education Programme.

Stay tuned as there’ll be more happening this week!

Singapore 2010 unveils Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame Torch design
16/03/10

Singapore 2010 Organising Committee have revealed the Torch design of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Flame.

The Youth Olympic Flame will travel to one city in each of the five continents: Berlin (Germany), Dakar (Senegal), Mexico City (Mexico), Auckland (New Zealand) and Seoul (Republic of Korea).

At each city, the Youth Olympic Flame will travel to iconic sights in the city to allow as many people as possible to welcome the Flame to the continent. The day will end with a City Celebration where the people of the city and continent can join in the festivities to celebrate the world’s first Youth Olympic Games.

Each National Olympic Committee (NOC) of that continent will be invited to send two youth representatives to participate in a torch ceremony for each Celebration City. Together with the people of the city and the continent, they will witness the lighting of the Youth Olympic Flame in the Community Cauldron at the City Celebration.

For more information on the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame, please visit www.singapore2010.sg/jyof

Singapore 2010 goes virtual!
10/03/10

In the build-up to the first Youth Olympic Games in August, the Singapore 2010 Organising Committee has launched the Singapore 2010 Odyssey 3D Virtual World.

Competition venues and the Youth Olympic Village for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games will be featured in a futuristic world set in 3010. Users will be able to create their own avatars, compete in games and learn more about the Youth Olympic Games as part of an immersive and virtual experience.

This online game communicates the Olympic values while showcasing the 26 sports that will take place in Singapore. Users will also be able to try out activities on the Culture and Education Programme and interact with young people from around the world.

The Singapore 2010 Odyssey is accessible through registration at www.singapore2010.sg/o.

Youth Olympic Games Medal Design Competition winner revealed!
03/03/10

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced the winner of the Youth Olympic Games Medal Design Competition as Setsuko Fukuzawa, from Montreal, Canada, with her design entitled “Yes, Youth Can”. The design will be used to create the obverse face of the Singapore 2010 medals which will be awarded to the winning athletes from 14 to 26 August 2010.

Setsuko’s design is a contemporary representation of the winged Greek goddess of victory, Nike. The “Y” design symbolises this and also the youthfulness of the Youth Olympic Games. The design includes the Olympic emblem, the rings, to empower athletes to participate and celebrate. The wave and flame detail reflects both the cheering wave of supporters and the spirit of an athlete.

Setsuko Fukuzawa commented on her design: “‘Yes Youth Can’ is no revolution, just evolution. It represents every young athlete in a victory stand, celebrating. Simple, but powerful.”

The competition received entries from 34 countries. From the public voting round, “Yes Youth Can” received 3,881 votes, which took the entry through to the shortlisted 10 Medal Design Competition finalists. The second round of judging was by an IOC jury, which selected Setsuko’s design as the overall winner.

The design can be seen on the www.medaldesigncompetition.com website.

And that's a wrap!
02/03/10

Monday morning on 1 March, and the streets of Vancouver seem comparatively quieter to the roaring cheers that rumbled through the city for the past 16 days.

Smirks sit on the faces of the few emerging people downtown, the Games may be over but the glory lives on.

I was one of those smirkers. The relatively Olympic-naive journalist who came into these Games is now leaving as a YOG reporting veteran, if I do say so myself.

Reporting on the Games was a rapid whirlwind of multiple interviews after multiple events, and I wouldn't trade anything in the world for it.

I had the opportunity to meet and interview people who had forced their own fate as they fought for their goals and lived out their dreams.

I grew as a sports reporter, I grew as a journalist and I grew as a person.

To the young reporters who will be reporting during the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, be relentless, be persistent and be confident. Be relaxed with your interviewees and take every single opportunity you can to learn from your peers.

To the young athletes getting ready for Singapore, remember to find that balance. Every single athlete I spoke to in Vancouver said to have fun, but I know you're all also getting ready to be fierce competitors.

Find the balance, enjoy your Games and remember to savour and enjoy every moment — I know I did.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Canada goes out with a bang
01/03/10

The skies above BC Place go red as the patriotic coloured fireworks explode in the evening sky, marking an official end to the Games in Vancouver, but also highlighting the history made in Canada.

Over the span of the Games, the Canadians faced many challenges, saw many firsts and won many golds.

Canada's total gold medal count stands at 14, marking Canada's highest gold medal win in Olympic history.

The Canadians gold-rush roll began with men's moguls skier Alexandre Bilodeau winning Canada its first ever gold medal on Canadian soil.

From there, history just began writing itself. The women's hockey team became the first women's hockey team to win gold at home, the men's hockey team became the first to do so in 30 years- both genders’ hockey finals rankings are Canada first, USA second and Finland third.

Canadian pair figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir became the first North Americans ever to win gold in ice dancing.

Figure skater Joannie Rochette overcame the challenges of loosing a loved one, as she courageously skated her way to Olympic bronze — the sudden death of her mother only adding fuel to her fire.

And the citizens themselves. The Canadians came together in a sudden burst of pride and prosperity. “You did not just cheer,” said VANOC CEO John Furlong in his Closing Ceremony speech to the Canadians. “Rather, you lived every glorious moment as if you yourselves were competing for gold.”

The Ceremony also featured the historic Olympic flag handover to the next city to host the Winter Games, this time with Sochi, Russia playing protegé to the Winter Games in Vancouver.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Six months to first YOG
28/02/10

Singapore is six months away from welcoming the young people of the world to the very first Youth Olympic Games.

Sixteen venues are ready for the roughly 3,500 young athletes participating in 26 sports. There will also be 30 Young Ambassadors from different nations and 60 CEP Champions from Singapore getting involved with the Games as athlete motivators.

“The young people have been very, very involved since day one,” said Singapore YOG Organising Committee Chairman Ser Miang Ng. “Schools are very involved and there are different activities, and groups have organised different events.”

Activities will include culture and education camps, which Ng said will be a chance for the young participates to learn the core values of the Olympic Movement.

“There will be many opportunities for [the young athletes] to find a balance,” Ng said referring to the mixture of sporting events and culture and education activities.

Singapore's YOG will be held 14 to 26 August and will have athletes aged 14 to 18 competing in the same events as those at the Summer Olympic Games.

Olympians have unanimously advised the young athletes that the YOG are a learning opportunity and a competition, but most importantly a chance to have fun.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Challenge winner brings the message back
27/02/10

The Best of Us Challenge winner returned home from his time at the Games in Vancouver, and took what he learned from being at the Games back to the young people.

The Virginia State native, 25-year-old Grant Gibbons, returned home and told the kids at the Boys and Girls Club he volunteers at about what he learned and what he saw at the Games.

Gibbons said he was able to explain to the kids that the best way to celebrate sporting victories is to do it in a peaceful manner. “It was cool to be in Vancouver to see the crowds just happy and excited,” Gibbons said. Gibbons was flown to Vancouver with a friend for four days to enjoy various games and events.

“I had an awesome time,” Gibbons said. “It's one of those things you're going to remember for the rest of your life.”

At first Gibbons was unsure that he had in fact been chosen as the grand prize winner because he had just intended to post the video to encourage the kids in the club to apply.

“I'm not quite sure why they picked me,” Gibbons said modestly. “There were many other videos that were just as good but I'm just happy that they picked mine.”

Gibbons' challenge video showed him picking up 12 disks with his foot in 30 seconds.

The Best of Us Challenge had dozens of Olympians challenging contestants to beat them at doing multiple cartwheels, picking up disks with their feet and hula hooping among others.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Athlete takes his turn with the microphone
27/02/10

While many athletes are answering questions from the media, two-time Olympic medallist Alex Despatie is taking his turn asking the questions.

The 24-year-old diver traded his swim suit for a microphone to play the role of the interviewer for Canada's French sports station RDS during his time at the Vancouver Games.

“It's very weird I have to say to be on the [interviewers] side, but it’s been great - I've really enjoyed every moment of this experience,” Despatie said.

Despatie was asked by the station to take on the role for the Difference Makers programme, which features 17 Olympians from Quebec, and explores how they got to where they are and the people who helped them get there.

“I like to bring to people something that they don't know,” Despatie said about his interview style. “To ask the question that sometimes that has nothing to do with the performance because it's been overdone... it's a good challenge.”

Despatie’s schedule now consists of him training in the morning and then working in the afternoon until the evening.

“But what I’ve really enjoyed too is the crew, the people I work with are great and fun. I've made a lot of new friends,”

Despatie said. Despatie said the Olympic Games give athletes a chance to create new friendships, and he advises the young athletes going into the Youth Olympic Games to take the chance to make new friends and to learn from one another.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Women’s hockey: a hit
26/02/10

Some may call hockey the sport of Canada’s men, but the 20 Canadian female hockey players who fought their way to Olympic gold proved that hockey belongs just as much to the women.

The Canadian women’s hockey team, which has often taken a backseat to the glamorised men’s team, didn’t mind being the underdogs to their Canadian counterparts as long as they got to play the sport.

“You know what? It doesn’t matter if the guys get more publicity than us girls,” said 23 year-old Meghan Agosta with her gold medal hanging around her neck. “We play this sport because we love it.”

Women’s hockey officially became a part of the Olympic Games in 1998, while men’s hockey became an official Olympic sport in 1920.

“Women’s hockey is a young sport...,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “But no doubt in the future, women’s hockey will be a hit.”

To the young female athletes training in a male dominated sport, Team Canada hockey player Jennifer Botterill advises not to let anyone intimidate them.

“Believe in yourself, because something like this is possible,” Botterill said, fresh off the ice from her gold medal win.

As the women were rewarded for their hard work with gold medals, the men’s team sat up in the stands quietly watching the girls in awe, and maybe making a note or two on how to beat the USA.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Sochi's time fast approaching
25/02/10

With only three days of Olympic glory left for Vancouver, Sochi is preparing to claim its time under the Winter Games limelight.

The Russian House, the Sochi2014.ru World, also appearing as the giant sparkling globe visible in downtown Vancouver's landscape shots, is putting a miniature version of its Games on display in the hope of building excitement.

While visiting with some friends, Christina Yu, a 16-year-old from Vancouver, said: “I did not really know much about Sochi before I came to the House. And actually it’s pretty exciting being here.”

The pavilion features traditional Russian dance performances, magic shows, a virtual hockey game where children get their turn as a goalie, and a mini mock-up of what the city will be turned into come Games time.

“We looked at the scale model and it looks really cool,” said 13-year-old Russian house guest Michael Vela. “I wish I could go there.”

Sochi will mark the second time the Olympic Games have come to Russia, after the Summer Games in Moscow in 1980.

Sochi - population 411,000 - is situated in southern Russia and is one of the largest cities in the Krasnodar region.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

YOG to help with health: Prince Albert II
24/02/10

The Youth Olympic Games will be a step towards improving the current lack of physical activity among many children and youngsters, according to Prince Albert II.

“It will serve as a better link to the younger generations,” said Prince Albert II. “Of what sport can do for everyone, especially someone young, and the great joy that can be taken from sport.”

Prince Albert II, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee and a five-time Olympian, said many studies show physical activity among children has decreased drastically in the past 10 years.

“It's not old fashioned or something to be cast aside,” said the Prince about physical activity. “It's also our responsibility to offer different solutions for kids to be engaged and active in sport.”

By creating the YOG in 2007, the IOC showed that its commitment to the youth of today and tomorrow is about action, not just words, by offering them an event of their own in the spirit of the Olympic Games.

“We wanted to show that you don't have to be a high-level athlete to enjoy sport, to show that sport can be accessible to all,” the Prince said.

The YOG will have international ambassadors who have been active in sport or are Olympians, acting in the role of motivators for the young athletes.

“By giving them role models of their generation, it'll show them that ‘OK this is cool, I want to do that sport because it's neat and it's something that I can relate to.’”

The first YOG this summer in Singapore will have roughly 3,500 athletes aged 14 to 18 participating in 26 sports.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Youngest athletes feel pressure-free
23/02/10

Despite being some of the Games' youngest athletes, the 15-year-olds say they're not feeling any additional pressures to prove themselves and are being treated like any other athlete.

“Pressure is something you put on yourself,” said the youngest of all the Vancouver Games' athletes, Australian moguls skier Britteny Cox. “It's actually pretty exciting to know I'm the youngest of everybody here.”

Cox said that despite becoming the subject of some friendly athlete-to-athlete antics, she feels she is still being respected as an athlete.

“It'll be five o'clock in the afternoon and some of the boys in my team who like to make jokes go 'Britt it's past your bedtime - shouldn't you be going to bed?'” Cox laughs. “It's funny but they also take me seriously.”

The young Japanese speed skater Miho Takagi said her age does not factor in determining her sporting abilities.

“I don't pay too much attention to my age, I concentrate on my race,” Takagi said. “I'm quite young but it's a benefit to be my age because I can learn more.”

Takagi said she not only feels her older teammates treat her as though she was their age, but also that they look after her.

Takagi and Cox both said they were surprised they were going to be able to participate in the Vancouver Games, and while they didn't win any medals, they said the chance to participate at a young age meant they'd have a leg up in the Games to come.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Phelps dives into another side
23/02/10

While many athletes are advising Youth Olympic Games athletes to not work themselves too hard and to just have fun, swimming champion Michael Phelps says working hard is the fun.

“It's all about the competition,” Phelps said. “Racing against the best athletes in the world, from all over the world.”

Phelps, who was officially named YOG Ambassador yesterday, said the competitive side of sport brings out a completely different side to him that makes him capable of being the greatest athlete he can be.

“Some [fellow competitors] have really been able to bring the best out of me - it's something that's been really enjoyable,” he said.

The 16-time Olympic medal-holder recalled the difficulties in his athletic career and how reminding himself of his goals and to keep training pushed him through the tough times.

“The biggest thing is to never give up,” Phelps said. “If you can work just as hard on the days where you're tired it'll pay off in the long run.”

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Australia sends the message home
22/02/10

Amongst the wins, the losses, the attempts and the multiple interviews, Australian athletes are chatting live online with young people from schools back home.

The Vancouver Games' youngest athlete, 15-year-old Australian ski mogul competitor Britteny Cox, sits with a bow in her hair and a computer on her lap - she's sharing her Olympic experience with students in Australia.

“They ask some pretty funny questions and sometimes you don't know what to say,” Cox said afterwards. “But it was a lot of fun to talk to them.”

The Chat to a Champ programme connects 30 schools in Australia to athletes, who have been dubbed role models.

“I just tell them that you have to put 110 per cent into everything you do. You have to want it and have to be really determined getting what you want,” said Cox, who finds it cool that the kids back home look up to her.

Australia's only Vancouver Games gold medallist thus far, 23-year-old Torah Bright, waits for her turn in the hot seat outside the office.

“My choice of lifestyle is always brought up because I'm quite different to the stereotype of a snowboarder... but it's great,” said the petite figured champion modestly holding her gold medal in her sweater pocket.

Bright and Cox explain the most important part for young people involved in sport is that they enjoy what they're doing.

“Just go and have fun!” Bright said. “If you find that fun, you're going to get the most out of yourself and get that best result.”

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Young contestants win it big
22/02/10

A contest has taken some ten young sports fans from watching the Games on a TV screen to watching them in person in Vancouver.

The McDonald's Champion Kids contest has flown three of its winners from Quebec, Germany and the United Kingdom to spend four days experiencing the Games.

“I'm really, really excited,” said 14-year-old Tom Walsh from the UK. “Seeing these Games and seeing all these athletes, it's just an honour.”

The youngsters walked into the International Olympic Committee's Vancouver office ready to take a stab at their first Olympic encounter: asking IOC President Jacques Rogge any question they wanted.

“It was quite exciting actually,” Walsh said. “A bit different from what you'd normally do,” he joked.

Walsh's mother nominated him, and once he was pre-selected he wrote a summary of the reasons why he should be chosen to go.

“I wrote that I'm allergic to cut-grass and that's why I have a passion for winter sports,”

Walsh said. “I can't do any other sports that other kids can do like football and rugby.”

Walsh said if he were to take part in the Youth Olympic Games he would compete as a snowboarder.

“Snowboarding, skiing and ice skating are my main ones, but snowboarding I just love!”

The first game lined up for the winners was the match many Vancouverites would have sacrificed a limb to attend, the Canada-US hockey game.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Vancouver meets 10-year-old reporter
21/02/10

How do you picture a typical reporter? Middle-aged, a little weathered, potentially balding? How about a 10-year-old with a James Dean hairdo, a pocket full of calling cards, and who is dressed to kill, or at least, gets down to the story.

Time Magazine's kid reporter Brennan LaBrie is painting a new picture of the criteria many expect reporters to fit.

“I was into writing in first grade. Our teacher showed us that we could just make our own books,” LaBrie said about how it all began. “And one day on the swings I thought I could start my own newspaper.”

LaBrie started his newspaper at eight and has been writing, designing and delivering his paper to about 250 people in his small town in Washington State ever since.

“He just had a real feel for it,” said the young reporter's mother Colleen LaBrie. “He just started writing it and we'd copy them, there weren't many at first but then he killed our copier,” she laughs.

In September the budding reporter was chosen to be one of 12 kid reporters, out of a pool of 400 applicants, for Time Magazine's Time for Kids scholastic edition, which goes out to about 3.5 million subscribers.

“When I was chosen, [Time] mentioned because I lived right across I could report the Olympic coverage and that's probably my most exciting assignment,” LaBrie said.

He has interviewed high-profile athletes during the Games like snowboarder Shaun White, figure skater Rachael Flatt, short-track speed skater Marianne St-Gelais and many more.

After his stint in Vancouver, LaBrie said he hopes to jet off to the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

“I look forward to meeting all the people, going to games and meeting athletes.”

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Coca-Cola goes green
21/02/10

Coca-Cola is using its pavilion at the Vancouver Games to promote environmental sustainability. "We aim to make everyone realise that recycling and sustainable efforts are important,” said Coca-Cola's communications assistant Sarah Mitchell.

The pavilion, located at David Lam Park, displays the history of Coca-Cola, offers free drinks to visitors, has an interactive art display and has on-site interactive games that promote sustainability.

“The recycling part is my favourite,” said 20-year-old environmental studies student Courtney Brown, who had just won Coca-Cola's polar bear swim game.

The company has launched new plant-based bottles that are made up of 30 per cent plant waste, such as sugar cane and molasses.

Coca-Cola is also turning all 1,400 of its coolers and vending machines used for the Games into greenhouse gas emission-free refrigerators and reducing its electricity use.

Mitchell said the environment is an important part of the Olympic Games, and making sure they do not leave behind a large carbon footprint is crucial.

“It's awesome to have sports, but if it's not sustainable then it won’t last,” Brown said.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG

YOG ambassadors prepare for Singapore
20/02/10

With the very first Youth Olympic Games only a couple of months shy from marking its place in history, young ambassadors are preparing to pump some motivation into the blood of young athletes.

“I hope to be high energy and enthusiastic in a constructive way and also try to be a guide for the athletes,” said 25-year-old Canadian YOG ambassador Callum Ng.

The young ambassador programme is an extension of the culture and education segment of the YOG that brings together ambassadors from 30 different National Olympic Committees and 90 ambassadors from Singapore to act as role models.

“Being a role model for the young athletes means showing them that what they're learning in their sport transfers into other areas of their lives both now later down the road,” Ng said.

The YOG's Culture and Education Programme (CEP) encourages the young athletes to go beyond competing and to engage themselves in camp-like field trips and activities that promote things like team building and tolerance.

“I will definitely be very strongly encouraging athletes to get involved,” Ng said about the CEP, which is not mandatory for athletes.

“I understand the performance aspect of the competition is paramount; however, there’s a lot to be gained that could contribute to their performances in the future.”

Ng, an athlete himself, recalls his first national team experience at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival and how it highlighted the values gained from participating in international events.

“It was a really cool experience,” Ng said. “It really opened my eyes and I really understand the power of this experience for young people.”

In March, Ng and the other ambassadors will be meeting in Singapore for an Ambassador Seminar to participate in workshops and introductions to the role the CEP can play in athletes’ lives come August.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Olympians highlight healthy living
19/02/10

A group of world-renown athletes gathered at the GE ice plaza, along with hundreds of fans and onlookers, to discuss the importance of healthy living.

Figure skating legends Michelle Kwan, Scott Hamilton and Canadian hockey player Martin Brodeur were just some of the athletes who spoke about eating right and getting exercise.

“With youths it's important to get the message out to eat enough, eat healthy, get enough rest and exercise,” Kwan said. “It's finding a balance to overall health.”

GE has launched a project called Healthymagination that encourages healthy living through sharing imaginative ideas and proven solutions.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Jack Taunton and Healthymagination Vice President said that proper nutrition was critical for children and youths because their body systems were still developing.

“We take individuals when they get older and put them on [various exercise and strength programmes] but these individuals could have done an awful lot better had they done this when they were younger,” Taunton said. The Healthymagination website provides information on wellness, nutrition and exercise methods for people looking to make healthier choices.

“Health is important for everyone and not just athletes,” Kwan said.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

YOG sponsors host local youngsters
19/02/10

Seven and eight year-olds from a local Vancouver elementary school got to go on a field trip the rest of the school would be envious of.

The Samsung pavilion at David Lam Park hosted the children during the day, giving them a look into the Olympic ideals of friendship and sportsmanship.

Head of YOG Essar Gabriel had his turn as guest teacher as he talked to the children about the upcoming first-ever Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

The fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt, spoke on video about the importance of having fun and not just focusing on winning.

The children then participated in a fun quiz that earned them pins, t-shirts, toques [hats] and many other goodies!

To top off their adventures for the day, the children got to play in the Samsung entertainment centre where there is mosaic art, games and a circus performance.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

YOG emblem launches athletes back in time
18/02/10

Just as Innsbruck launches its 2012 Youth Olympic Games emblem, current and past Olympic athletes reflect on how much the YOG could have helped them in their career.

Medal-winning Alpine skier and current sports commentator Frank Wörndl remembers his very first turn at the Olympic Games in Lake Placid, and how competing at the Games is also a mental game.

“An athlete should stay in the Olympic Games even if he has no chance at a medal because he can learn how to organise himself when he's in a situation to win a medal.”

Wörndl said the YOG would give young athletes a chance to prepare themselves mentally if they chose to take the next step up to the Olympic Games.

Vancouver Games ski jumping competitor, 25-year-old Austrian Andreas Kofler, was named ambassador of the Innsbruck YOG during the emblem launch.

“In my youth I wasn't the best sportsman, and it could have given me some motivation,” Kofler said about competing had the YOG existed when he was younger.

Double Olympic gold medal winner and member of the IOC Coordination Commission for Innsbruck 2012 Pernilla Wiberg recalls her trip as a 15-year-old to the World Skiing Youth Championships and how it left a memorable imprint in her life.

“That was amazing, but if I had the chance to go to the Youth Olympic Games - wow - that would have been the biggest goal for me.”

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

The streets are Alive with the Sound of Music
17/02/10

For the Vancouverites who weren't able to go to an Olympic event, the Olympics came to them.

The once calm streets of Vancouver have turned into an ant farm, a hive of activity, with people from all over the world celebrating their favourite teams and favourite bands, as sports and musical entertainment intertwine.

“There's so much going on and so many things to do for free,” said 16-year-old Tate Gibson. Robson Square, an Olympic destination for free outdoor skating, hosts a nightly pyrotechnics show, with fireworks going off to the beat of the music and lighting up the square.

“I love how it's a school night but everyone is here,” said 16-year-old onlooker Julia Mills. “Everyone is happy to see each other.”

Local and national bands, such as Mother Mother, the Sam Roberts Band and the Barenaked Ladies are taking to the multiple “free-for-all” stages across the city.

The atmosphere in the city is buzzing, almost as much as when watching live sport itself!

“It brings people together,” Mills said. “We were just walking down the street and people starting singing “Oh Canada” and everyone joined in.”

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Athletes get on board to build the atmosphere
16/02/10

Snowboarding athletes stand on top of Cypress Mountain, seconds away from to the moment they've been training for - their shot at the gold medal win.

The men’s snowboarding cross event has 32 athletes competing down a track full of jumps, twists and turns, all with a group of spectators watching in anticipation below. A nerve-wracking experience!

The nail-biting audience watches as American Seth Wescott boards his way past Canadian Mike Robertson in the final run, landing Wescott a position at the top of the podium, just like he did in Turin four years ago.

The crowd went wild! “I thought it was awesome,” said 12 year-old Miles Silverman, a competitive snowboarder who came to Vancouver with his dad from Maine, USA, just to support Wescott.

“My favourite part was when Seth won,” Silverman said. “My dad got to give him a high-five.”

First-time Olympian, 24-year-old Robertson, admits his second place finish to be bittersweet. “Seth just pulled it out in the finish,” Robertson said. “Obviously I wanted to win for sure, but I’m happy to be second.”

As the two Olympians, who battled it out to the close finish, receive their honorary bouquets, the crowd begins to cheer as if it's all one team. And in that precise moment, the competitive atmosphere disappears.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Czeching into victory
15/02/10

It was Czech speed skater Martina Sablikova who raced her way to a gold win, but it was the Canadians who were feeling victorious.

Despite having been beat out of a golden win in the ladies speed skating 3,000m race, Canadian competitors Clara Hughes and Cindy Klassen were overjoyed with the crowd support. “The crowd brought a tear to my eye,” said an emotional Klassen. “I'm so thankful for the support they've given us.”

There was never a moment where the crowd was not waving flags or cheering on their personal favourites. The crowd fell into an unconscious wave of cheers with every athlete's metal step scraping the ice around the Richmond Oval rink.

They stood up with shouts of encouragement every time the athletes glided past their section, then the crowds would sit down and wait for the next time the athlete came their way. “That crowd was incredible,” Hughes said. “It just gave me so much. It was beautiful.”

Smiles had left a permanent mark on faces young and old across the arena during the two-and-a-half hour event. Eleven-year-old David Larson walked out of the arena with his parents and younger brother with one of those smiles. “It was so good,” he exclaimed. “It was really intense and really fun.”

Klassen, who had a rough run during the event, said it was important for young people to never give up on what they love. “Push yourself,” Klassen said. “Feel your support and use that.”

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Let the Games begin
14/02/10

Canadians created an Opening Ceremony they could call their own as Vancouver invited viewers from around the world to watch the XXI Olympic Winter Games.

The show opened with a snowboarder soaring through the air from the top of the stadium down through the Olympic rings and onto centre stage, following by musical performances from Bryan Adams, Nelly Furtado, Sarah McLachlan and Garou.

Then British Columbia's four indigenous host nations welcomed the athletes into the stadium as they danced in their traditional costumes decorated with giant features and bright warm colours.

The stadium roared with excitement as the Canadian team came in, but also fell into a sorrowful standing ovation in memory of luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili when the Georgian team entered.

Creative Director of the show David Atkins used over 100 projectors to create the light show that painted the stage of the stadium, the performance drapes and even the audience members. Wearing a white or light blue poncho, each spectator beat drums and shone different coloured lights. It was an amazing atmosphere.

Paralympic medallist Rick Hansen, Olympians Catorina Le May Doan, Steve Nash, Nancy Green and the ice hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky, simultaneously lit the Olympic cauldron, bringing an end to the night but the official start to the Games.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Young athlete camping out for Singapore
13/02/10

Young Vancouver athlete Cameron Ho shared his experience at the Singapore 2010 Friendship Camp, a program for young athletes hoping to compete at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, to International Olympic Committee members yesterday.

The camp is a program in connection to the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics Games that young athletes to participate in promoting Olympic value.

Ho was selected an the young male athlete from Canada, along with a young female athlete, to attend the camp in December 2009.

“It was such a long shot,” Ho said about being being selected to attend the camp. “I was shocked.”

The five day camp was organised by Singapore's Ministry of Education in partnership with the Singapore Sports School and the Singapore YOG Organising Committee.

“Those 7 days I spent in Singapore at the friendship camp were without a doubt the most interesting, eye-opening and educational days I have ever had in my life,”

Ho said. Ho, a sailing athlete, will be competing in the Singapore qualification finals in March.

“Even though it'll be about competing, it wont be just about winning” Ho said. “We'll be able to learn about each others culture and become more open minded and tolerant.”

The Youth Olympic Games is the first new Games the Olympic Movement Has created in 80 years.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

Young Indigenous People break barriers
11/02/10

Canada`s aboriginal youth community met with Governor General Michaëlle Jean this morning at the Vancouver Public Library for an Olympic Truce Dialogue.

The dialogue revolved around the involvement of the indigenous people in the Vancouver Games and included an open forum for attendees to weigh in their thoughts on indigenous issues.

“This is the first time in Olympic history that indigenous people are official partners of the Games,” Jean said.

The CEO of Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee, John Furlong, said making indigenous people an official part of the Games was the easiest decision to make.

“We knew we would have a more compelling story to give,” Furlong said about including indigenous culture in the Olympic Games.

Furlong said Canadians and the world will be proud of the aboriginal contribution to the Opening Ceremony on Friday.

The some 400 guests were then encouraged to share their thoughts on current issues, peace, mutual understanding, inclusion and cooperation.

Jacob Pratt, a student from a university specifically for indigenous people in Saskatchewan, said his school was constantly faced with funding cuts.

“We should be studying but instead we have to fight to keep our university open,” he said.

Ashley Julian from Nova Scotia said indigenous people needed to start sharing their culture. “We need to start reaching out to non-natives.”

Issues of alcoholism and HIV/AIDS were discussed as pandemics that need to be eliminated at home before they could be solved globally. “We can’t achieve global harmony if we don’t achieve it here at home,” said Matthew Pike from Newfoundland.

“Stand for something and be a part of the solution,” said Carmelita Abraham from British Columbia, who also preformed a rap song about improving the conditions of indigenous people.

Other performances included traditional aboriginal dances and break dances.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.

See you in Nanjing in 2014
10/02/10

Nanjing, China, has been awarded the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games. Nanjing beat Poznan, Poland, to be the host of the YOG`s second Summer Games.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) members voted 42 to 47 in favour of Nanjing after the two competing cities presented their host bid during the 122nd IOC Session in Vancouver.

“It`s a big honour and a big opportunity for us to be a part of the Olympic development,” said Yang Yang, a Nanjing delegation member and Olympic medallist. “It`s also an opportunity for us to deliver our culture and to combine it with Olympism to deliver our legacy.”

About 3,600 young athletes aged 15 to 18 will be competing in 26 sports during the YOG in Nanjing.

“Now we have the responsibility to do a good job,“ Yang said about their next move. “So now we have to move forwards in getting the Crganising Committee to make sure we do our best.”

Bettina Kuperman from the Poznan delegation said that Poznan had chosen to convey a different message, with its bid by highlighting the multimedia aspect of the Games.

Their presentation focused on the active involvement of today’s youth on the internet and how its Games could combine sport with internet elements.

“We’ve been working really hard on this, so of course we’re disappointed,” Kuperman said about the IOC’s decision. “It’ll be great Games in China, but we would have loved to have the Games in our country this time.”

Singapore will be hosting the first ever YOG this summer, and its organisers are feeling the pressure of being a host city role model.

“It’s always very challenging, especially when we had only two-and–a-half years to do it,” said Singapore YOG Organising Committee Chairman Ser Miang Ng. “Nanjing will have four years, so they have a year and a half more, so things will have already been experimented and tried out.”

The Singapore YOG will be held from 14 to 26 August.

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG Reporter

Youth excitement builds as the games approach
09/02/10

The hours are quickly winding down on Vancouver's Olympics countdown clock and as anticipation for the arrival of the Games begins to peak, it is excitement that has already arrived.

People in Vancouver are celebrating the Games on the streets and the city's youth claim to have never seen anything like this in their city before.

“This is something that happens in your own city once in a lifetime” said 18-year-old Vancouver native Tiffany Chan. “I’m personally really proud to be from and in Vancouver for the Games.”

Olympic inspired art and replica Olympic sporting equipment adorn the streets of Vancouver for visitors are residents to view as they stroll in the downtown core.

“It’s really cool,” exclaimed 10-year-old Talia Wright after she took a picture of Vancouver's countdown clock.

The Olympic countdown clock, hand made local art, life-sized athlete cut-outs and a replica bobsled are some of the Olympic related celebratory items that can be found around town.

Nineteen year old former competitive figure skater Olena Strutynska says she plans on celebrating the Vancouver Olympics by taking part in the free festivities and free concert being put on and plans on attending a hockey game and volunteering at the Ukrainian pavilion.

“Sport is important because it helps to build confidence,” said Strutynska who is now a skating instructor who teaches adults, children and teenagers. “Team sport teaches important life skills like teamwork and individual sports give a person a chance to shine.”

For YOG athletes looking for their moment to shine during the upcoming Games in Singapore this August Strutynska advises to not solely focus on competing. “It's not just about winning. It's about making it a memorable experience.”

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says the Youth Olympic Games will bring youth together in the spirit of competition but also in the spirit of friendship. “[Sports] are a fantastic part of growing up and should be a part of every kid’s life.”

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG Reporter

Meet our YOG Reporter in Vancouver!
08/02/10

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games kick off in a matter of days, and the YOG web site will be the official spot to go to for the latest Olympic news, with a youthful twist!

I'm Kimiya Shokoohi, a 19-year-old journalism student from Vancouver, and your YOG Reporter while the Winter Olympic Games are in town.

I'll be bringing you a daily instalment of Olympic news through interviews with athletes, sports leaders, Olympic officials, fans and all the people that plan on making the Vancouver 2010 Games a success.

The YOG web site will also be featuring the events and festivities surrounding the Games in Vancouver and updates on the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, Innsbruck, and not forgetting the 2014 YOG host city, which will be revealed on Wednesday 10 February!

Through articles, photographs and videos, I'll be proudly presenting Vancouver 2010…with a YOG-DNA stamp.

News and information updates can also be found on the YOG's Twitter and Facebook pages.

Discover your YOG-DNA!!!
26/01/10

It is just 200 days until Singapore opens its doors to 3,600 amazing young athletes for the first Youth Olympic Games! To celebrate, we have launched an exciting new YOG visual identity ‘YOG-DNA’ so check out the video to discover whether you have YOG-DNA, the ‘Spirit of the Youth Olympic Games’.

YOG-DNA is not a logo or a brand, but a label, and it represents the attitudes and freedom of young people worldwide. It is a stamp of approval for anything that has the ‘Spirit of the Youth Olympic Games.’

You will be seeing more YOG-DNA as we build up to Singapore 2010 and to Innsbruck 2012. Keep an eye out for what you think has YOG-DNA!

You can also keep up to date on YOG developments at www.facebook.com/youtholympicgames and www.twitter.com/youtholympics  

Click here to read more

Click here to see the map!
Singapore celebrate 200 days to go
26/01/10

The Singapore Organising Committee (SYOGOC) is also celebrating the 200 day countdown in style by announcing the route of the ‘Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame’ (JYOF), an initiative that intends to bring the Spirit of the Youth Olympic Games to each continent. The Flame will be lit in Athens in July and its journey will visit five international locations, including Berlin (Germany), Dakar (Sénégal), Mexico City (Mexico), Auckland (New Zealand), Seoul (Republic of Korea), before arriving in Singapore in August. Further details can be found on www.singapore2010.sg.

Singapore 2010’s Youth Guru challenges Michael Klim
11/01/10

Find out how the Youth Guru challenges Olympian Michael Klim to a dance challenge. He may have two gold medals, three silver medals and a bronze, but that doesn’t mean he can beat the Youth Guru in a dance-off…

Bronze, silver and gold…what is your favourite medal design?
11/01/10

We have given all budding designers out there the chance to design a medal for the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Entries have been coming in from over 30 countries worldwide featuring lots of creative designs. Voting has now closed, you can now view the top ten popular entries online. The IOC will announce the final winner on 9 March!

YOG on and tune in!
11/01/10

Tune in to the Youth Olympic Games news page! This is a new section of the Cube website that will bring you all the latest news in the run up to the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore this August. We will also be covering the exciting preparations taking place in the colder climates of Innsbruck, Austria, where we will be hosting the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012.