Beginning with a bang: memorable moments from YOG Opening Ceremonies
Olympic.org picks out six of the most memorable moments from the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Opening Ceremonies
Floating the idea!
The first-ever Youth Olympic Games in 2010 kicked off with a spectacular Opening Ceremony that was held on a floating stage in Marina Bay,. Featuring around 27,000 spectators, over 7,000 performers and with the dramatic on-the-water setting overlooking the spectacular Singapore skyline, it made one of the most memorable backdrops for an Opening Ceremony.
Doing the twist
The pinnacle of the Singapore 2010 Opening Ceremony saw 16-year-old sailor Darren Choy light one of the most distinctive cauldrons in Olympic history, with a 32-metre tall lighthouse being encircled by a ribbon of fire that spiralled up towards its beacon, where a mesmerising “vortex flame” began swirling rapidly within a specially-designed glass column. Standing proudly in Marina Bay throughout the YOG, the unique cauldron quickly became one of Singapore’s most photographed attractions.
Mixing the old and the new
The inaugural Winter YOG saw Innsbruck welcome the Olympic family for the third time – following the Olympic Winter Games of 1964 and 1976 – and the city’s unique Olympic heritage was celebrated throughout the Games, not least during the Opening Ceremony. Among the highlights of a show that combined modern youth culture and Tyrolean traditions was a segment that saw local folk dancing paired with hip-hop moves, while freestyle skiers and snowboarders also soared spectacularly overhead. The mix of old and new was also highlighted during the lighting of three Olympic cauldrons to mark each of the Games held in the Austrian city.
Youth takes centre stage
The Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016 Opening Ceremony put youth front and centre throughout the show, with 16-year-old Eilif Hellum Noraker taking a starring role as a boy “born with skis on his feet” and 12-year-old Princess Ingrid following in the footsteps of her father, Crown Prince Haakon, by lighting the same Olympic cauldron as he did ahead of the Olympic Winter Games in 1994. The most memorable moment, however, came when five young athletes – representing each of the competing continents – joined IOC President Thomas Bach to deliver the opening address. This proved to be a first in Olympic history – and a signal that the YOG truly keeps athletes at its heart.
The Nanjing 2014 Opening Ceremony firmly highlighted the YOG’s youth appeal when President Bach used his opening address to urge all of the 3,800 competing athletes and the audience to grab their smartphones and snap a “selfie”. “These are your Games. This is your moment,” he said. “Let us all capture it – so get your smartphones out and let’s set a record for selfies.” The hashtag #YOGselfie was soon making waves on social media, reaching over 400 million people in China in the first 24 hours alone.
A towering triumph
Having been produced by Chen Weiya, the executive director of the unforgettable Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, the Nanjing 2014 curtain-raiser was never going to be lacking in dramaticset-pieces. The most incredible moment of the evening saw more than 100 students from the Songshan Shaolin Tagou Martial Arts School perform a gravity-defying aerial dance called “Building the Dream”. The huge spectacle saw the acrobats twisting, turning and flipping in mid-air as they formed a human tower in the centre of the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium – drawing thunderous applause from the 60,000-strong crowd.