Buenos Aires 2018 vows to bring sport to the inner city
Exactly one month after the Closing Ceremony of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, all attention has now turned to Buenos Aires 2018 with the first visit of the IOC Coordination Commission headed by four-time Olympian and IOC Member, Frank Fredericks. Outlining their vision, the local organising committee (BAYOGOC) particularly impressed the Commission members with its goal of bringing sport to the inner city for all inhabitants to enjoy and experience, in particular the 2.6 million young people residing in Buenos Aires.
Speaking after the meetings concluding today, IOC Coordination Commission Chair Frank Fredericks said; “Under the expert guidance of CEO Leandro Larrosa, the organisers have really understood the true spirit of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) – to put young people at its heart. Thanks to the close cooperation Buenos Aires 2018 has with the all levels of government and the Argentinian Olympic Committee (AOC), the organization has made impressive headway with strong foundation plans already underway. With its world-famous passion for sport and culture, we truly believe that Buenos Aires will deliver a phenomenal Youth Olympic Games.”
Significant progress has been made on the venue master plan with a proposed four-cluster concept grouping the sports in a compact framework – all of which the Coordination Commission visited over the course of the two-day meetings. To give a taste of the vibrant culture and spirit of the city, Buenos Aires 2018 has put forward a festival-style concept to feature in each cluster for all spectators to experience. Taking inspiration from the ‘Sports Lab’ inaugurated at Nanjing 2014, these festivals will not only showcase and offer sporting experiences to the visitors, but will also provide family entertainment and cultural activities.
Three major development projects will get underway in 2015 including tenders out for the athletics and aquatic venues and the construction of the Youth Olympic Village (YOV) which will begin early next year. The YOV will be situated in the south of the city, an area of Buenos Aires targeted by the local government in need of urban development. From the YOV, 65 percent of the athletes will be able to walk to their competition venues. In addition, with the recent launch of the city’s metro-bus link, excellent transport links are already in place which will provide fast connections around the city and between venue clusters.
In the true essence of the YOG, the local organising committee are involving young people in all levels of the organization; including an ‘Athlete Commission’ and a newly established ‘Youth Commission’ – a group of young consultants chosen by the AOC from local schools and universities – and the employees within BAYOGOC from junior to director level. All functional areas are now operational and a modest 20 members of staff have been recruited.
In line with their mission to bring sport to the city, many of the 330 local sports clubs within Buenos Aires will be called upon to help with the organization of the Games and to provide training facilities for the athletes. In addition, Buenos Aires 2018 have already made fast progress by not only discussing the project with the National Federations, but using the time in Nanjing this summer to meet with almost all of the International Federations to present their preliminary proposals for sport competitions.
Nationwide, an engagement programme is already being rolled out to target 1.5 million young people to both identify talent and encourage participation in sports launched by the high performance sports body of Argentina.
Leandro Larrosa, CEO of Buenos Aires 2018 commented on the preparations; “This is a life changing project, not only for young athletes, but for future generations in Argentina and we are happy in the knowledge that the IOC Coordination Commission will be by our side to guide us throughout this exciting process. There is a great social legacy we want to achieve with this Games, we want to get all our kids into sport and inspire kids around the world to do the same.” He continued, “This last few days working with the IOC has been a great learning curve and has energized the team to deliver our exciting project.”
The six-person IOC Coordination Commission headed by Fredericks is made up of several Olympians including Danka Bartekova, the youngest IOC Member and Young Ambassador from the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010.
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