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President Bach was given a tour by the athletes who form the Young Athletes’ Commission, providing advice and support to the local organising committee. The Commission members updated the President on the developments within the Youth Olympic Park and gave their views on the innovations that will be introduced for Buenos Aires 2018. They also shared their personal hopes and aspirations for the YOG, as the event comes to South America for the first time.
Cycling Olympic champion from Beijing 2008 Walter Pérez, one of the athletes who met President Bach, said, “I would have loved to have had the Youth Olympic Games when I was a young athlete. And to experience it in my home town would have been sensational. As an Olympic champion I am so happy that it is happening here, and that we can bring the Olympic values to young athletes and to everyone in Buenos Aires.”
Some of the innovations at next year’s YOG will include four new sports added to the Olympic programme for Buenos Aires 2018: breaking, karate, roller sport and sport climbing as well as several new disciplines including futsal, beach handball, BMX Freestyle and kiteboarding. In addition, for the first time in Olympic history, total gender equality has been achieved.
President Bach commented, “The Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018 will bring a modern innovative approach to the Games. Instead of expecting the youth to come to sport, the YOG will go where the young people are. These will be urban games - it is about the urbanisation of sport - with four urban clusters and even the Opening Ceremony in the city centre. The new sports and disciplines that will be at the YOG are sports that attract young people. There is much we can all learn from these Games.”
Set for completion in early 2018, the Youth Olympic Park will be home to almost 4,000 athletes competing at the YOG in October next year, and will host 12 of the 32 sports on the programme as well as the main Media Centre. After the Games, the Youth Olympic Village will be turned into 1,200 affordable apartments as part of a City-led regeneration project of the south of Buenos Aires, while the sporting facilities at the Youth Olympic Centre will form a new national high performance sport centre (CENARD).
The Youth Olympic Park is just one of the four parks (Green, Techno and Urban) across the city introduced as part of the organisers’ mission to “bring sport to the people”. This innovation will blend sports competition with cultural and educational activities in a festival atmosphere at each location. The Urban Park in particular builds on the success of the Nanjing Sports Lab, hosting many of the youth-focused sports, disciplines and activities.
The Mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, joined the IOC President and athletes on the tour and commented on the legacy of the construction. “Here we will not build anything that does not have a use the day after the Youth Olympic Games finish. For example, this Youth Olympic Village will become social housing. For all the sports facilities there is a clear plan, working with the NOC and sports ministry. We are building for the Games and for the day after.”
Also joining the IOC President on his tour was Gerardo Werthein, IOC Member and President of the Argentinean NOC, and Leandro Larrosa, CEO of Buenos Aires 2018.
The IOC President will complete his visit to Buenos Aires later today with a meeting with the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri.
The Youth Olympic Games will take place between 6 and 18 October 2018. For more information visit www.buenosaires2018.com.