IOC reveals the future of the Youth Olympic Games

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Positioned as a global event for the world’s best young elite athletes, the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) are a core element in the development of future generations of top-level athletes. Extensive plans have been revealed today that will make the YOG even more impactful, effective and relevant for elite young athletes, and for the cities and nations that host them.

More athletes, higher levels of competition
To boost the level of competition, the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee has taken the opportunity to launch, for the first time, two distinct waves of competition, allowing for a 70 per cent increase in athlete numbers and offering full gender equality by rotating the participants’ presence in the host city. More athletes competing will result in a higher level of competition without increasing costs for the host city or the size of the Youth Olympic Village. 

The Buenos Aires 2018 organisers aim to increase sports participation amongst local young people by giving them the opportunity to try a wide variety of sports and entertainment activities over four parks across the city, all of which will be free of charge. 

Innovation and youth appeal
Since the inaugural event in 2010, the YOG have been a platform for innovation. They have allowed the launch of new formats such as basketball 3x3 and mixed team events. For Buenos Aires 2018, in addition to the sports in the Olympic Games format, several new medal events have been added to the programme, such as kiteboarding, beach handball, BMX freestyle, break-dance and sport climbing. Lausanne 2020 will also have new disciplines such as big air, ice hockey 3x3 and ski mountaineering. 

While the details are kept under wraps, Buenos Aires 2018 also revealed today its plans to host an Opening Ceremony that will take place for the first time in an urban setting – near the famous Obelisk, one of the city’s landmarks. Access will be open and free to an anticipated very large attendance.

Network of youth sporting events 
One of the biggest and potentially most impactful evolutions of the Youth Olympic Games will be the creation of the “Network of youth sporting events”. The aim is to build a relevant learning pathway for young athletes through a coherent calendar of international events culminating at the YOG. This will include events such as Continental Youth Games and World Youth Championships. All Continental Youth Games will be qualifying events for the YOG, starting with the African Youth Games 2018.

Totally connected to young people
To enhance the digital experience of both young athletes and fans, several steps are being taken by the IOC. A broadcasting plan for Buenos Aires 2018 has been developed in addition to digital content that will be offered on the IOC platforms, including the Olympic Channel. The IOC is working with the Buenos Aires 2018 organisers to provide a fully integrated YOG digital solution with applications enhancing the athletes’ and spectators’ experience and reducing cost and complexity for future host cities.

Attracting cities globally to create an event together
Part of the evolution of the Youth Olympic Games is to ensure the event is accessible to all types of cities. Cities will be encouraged to make full use of existing and temporary venues. Cost control methods and adapted service levels should also alleviate pressure on each host city. 

Uğur Erdener, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Shaping the Future of the Youth Olympic Games, gave an update to the IOC Members today on the extensive progress made over the last 12 months.