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“The Best of Us Challenge” participant wins trip to inaugural Youth Olympic Games

 Online video challenges from globally recognised Olympians have been viewed over 4 million times by people in more than 200 countries, but only one person was lucky enough to win a trip for two to Singapore for the Youth Olympic Games this August. 

Jeremy Shew, a 16-year-old from Victoria, Canada, won the prize after being randomly selected from among those who submitted videos to “The Best of Us Challenge”, part of an initiative led by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to engage young people in the Olympic Games by giving them a chance to actually compete with Olympic athletes in an online forum.

Created in collaboration with YouTube, The Best of Us Challenge featured videos of Olympic athletes from around the world performing challenges that the public were encouraged to try and beat. Visitors to the site could also upload their own original challenges for others to try.

Shew entered a video showing him beating Natalie Cook, a beach volleyball player from Australia, at juggling three balls while balancing on a ball. 

“I saw it as something that was going to be fun,” Shew said of challenging Cook. “I used to juggle when I was younger so it seemed like a good challenge to try.”

Asked how he felt when he learnt he had won a trip to Singapore, Shew said he was at a loss for words. “I was ecstatic but speechless. I didn’t know what to say,” Shew continued. “It’s a new place, a new experience for me, and I am really looking forward to it.

The athletes who took part were as varied as the challenges themselves, with participants ranging from Vancouver 2010 gold medallist Lindsey Vonn and Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, to Youth Olympic Games Ambassadors Michael Phelps and Yelena Isinbayeva. Challenges included picking up as many tennis balls as possible in 30 seconds to seeing how far you could walk on your hands.

Since its launch in October 2009, The Best of Us Challenge videos have been viewed over 4 million times, while 40 per cent of the athlete videos have attracted in excess of 100,000 views, placing them in the top 2 per cent of the most-watched YouTube videos of all time. Phelps’ golf-putting video challenge alone has had more than 700,000 views, placing it in the top 1 per cent of most-watched YouTube videos of all time.

The Challenge also received worldwide PR coverage and debuted at number one in Advertising Age magazine’s weekly chart of the most popular viral videos.


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