With a total of 241 events – 17 more than Nanjing 2014 – we highlight some of the exciting, youth-focused new sports and disciplines set to make their Olympic debuts at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018…
Martial arts enthusiasts should get down to the Europa Pavilion on 17-18 October – when many other sports will have finished – to witness the first-ever karate competitions to take place at an Olympic event. The sport not only makes its debut at the YOG but also offers a glimpse into what’s to come at Tokyo 2020, in the sport’s spiritual home of Japan. Forty-eight athletes, split equally by gender, will compete in Buenos Aires’s Youth Olympic Park across two days, and will be hopeful of kick-starting their Olympic journey to Tokyo.
Buenos Aires 2018 will similarly act as a teaser for sport climbing ahead of its milestone introduction at Tokyo 2020. Climbing experience isn’t necessary to sit back and enjoy the athletes’ strength and speed on the purpose-built wall at Urban Park, where the three disciplines of boulder, lead and speed will be combined in one event between 7 and 10 October. Canadian star Sean McColl, who is the sport’s overall World Cup champion, told us all about how exciting Olympic participation is for sport climbing moving forward.
Expect to be dazzled by 24 of the most skilled, diverse young breakdancers in the world. Taking place at the Urban Park, the battles will commence in a one-on-one format, with five judges watching carefully in each round. The show begins on 7 October, with the individual medallists crowned the following day, before the mixed teams, consisting of one female and one male athlete, go head-to-head on 10-11 October. The breakers, who progressed through the first-ever online qualification pathway for an Olympic event to reach Buenos Aires 2018, will be judged on their creativity, personality, technique, variety, performativity and musicality.
Update your glossary of BMX vocabulary while getting your adrenaline fix, as BMX freestyle takes to the Olympic stage for the first time in Buenos Aires. The world’s standout young riders will be competing on smaller, lighter bikes, in front of a panel of judges casting their eyes over the vast array of aerial tricks and jumps, less than two years before the discipline makes its full Olympic bow in Tokyo. Seeding and qualifying for the mixed-gender teams take place on 10 October at Urban Park, with the finals for this spectator-friendly event happening the following day.
Roller speed skating was a part of the Nanjing 2014 Sports Lab and now prepares to take its first steps into the Youth Olympic programme. A total of 24 skaters will race in three distances – 500m sprint, 1,000m sprint and 5,000m elimination – with the final ranking determined on the total number of points earned in each phase. It’s one of the earlier events at the Games, taking place on 7-8 October, and will be staged at Paseo de la Costa in Vincente López, also appropriately known as the ‘City of Wheels’.
Best of the rest
Other exciting events making their debut on the Olympic programme include acrobatic gymnastics, futsal, kiteboarding and beach handball, with local fans able to try their hand at some of these sports themselves. Meanwhile, with the YOG set to be the first Games to have complete gender parity between the number of male and female athletes, a number of mixed gender events have been added to the programme, including in archery, judo, swimming (4x100m medley relay), table tennis and triathlon.
For more information on the sports programme at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, check out Athlete’s Get Ready pack here