As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG), olympic.org highlights some of the young athletes who have gone on to make their name on the global stage since shining in Buenos Aires.
Hungarian swimmer Kristof Milak won three gold medals and a silver at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 and is now making serious waves on the senior stage. The 19-year-old smashed Michael Phelps’ 10-year-old world record in the men’s 200m butterfly as he won gold at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships, held in Gwangju (Republic of Korea) in July. Milak clocked a sensational 1:50.73, knocking 0.78 seconds off the previous best of 1:51.51, set by Phelps in Rome in 2009.
Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary
Indian shooters Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary won the women’s and men’s 10m air pistol events respectively at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, and since then have paired up to dominate the mixed team 10m air pistol on the ISSF World Cup circuit. The mixed team 10m air pistol is one of three mixed team shooting events that will be held for the first time at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and 17-year-olds Bhaker and Chaudhary now look set to be serious gold medal contenders having won all four stagings of the event at the 2019 ISSF World Cup.
China’s Lin Shan secured a clean sweep of the diving medals at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 – winning the women’s 3m springboard and 10m platform titles, as well as the mixed team event – and has since gone on to claim her first global title on the senior stage. The 17-year-old partnered with Yang Jian in the mixed team event at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, with the duo clinching gold with a score of 416.65 points from their six dives, well clear of Russia’s Sergey Nazin and Yulia Timoshinina in second (390.05 points). It was the first time that China had won the mixed world title since the event was introduced at the 2015 World Championships.
Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh followed in the footsteps of compatriot Yuliya Levchenko by winning the YOG high jump title in Buenos Aires, and has now gone on to emulate her idol once again by claiming silver at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha (Qatar). Mahuchikh topped the YOG podium with jumps of 1.92m and 1.95m, with 2014 YOG champion Levchenko cheering her on in the crowd as a Young Change-Maker with the Ukrainian team. And while Levchenko went on to clinch silver at the 2017 World Championships, 18-year-old Mahuchikh finished second in Doha with a world junior record of 2.04m – the same height as eventual world champion and 2010 YOG champion Mariya Lasitskene.
After winning six gold medals and one silver at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, Russian swimmer Kliment Kolesnikov achieved another impressive medal haul at the short-course World Swimming Championships in December 2018, with the then 18-year-old winning individual gold in the 100m medley as well as a further six relay medals. His strong performances at senior level continued in 2019, with a bronze medal in the 50m backstroke at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, as well as silver in the 4x100m freestyle and bronze in the 4x100m medley.
Russia’s Georgy Popov won gold in one of the most thrilling taekwondo bouts of the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, defeating the Republic of Korea’s Kim Kang-min 33-26 in the final of the men’s -55kg event with an exciting attacking display. And now he has successfully transferred that offensive style to the senior ranks, with the 18-year-old winning silver at the 2019 World Taekwondo Championships.
Since winning a silver medal at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, Slovenia’s Toni Vodisek has gone on to dominate the professional kite racing circuit. The 19-year-old topped the standings at the opening three events of the 2019 KiteFoil World Series, securing victories in Gizzeria (Italy), Weifang (China) and Pingtan (China), but an unfortunate shoulder injury during the finale in Sardinia (Italy) prevented him from lifting the overall world title.
Cuban triple jumper Jordan Díaz produced one of the most eye-catching performances at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, with the world under-18 and under-20 champion leaping 17.14m and 17.04m to secure a comfortable victory in the men’s event. Now aged 18, Díaz clinched his first senior medal at the 2019 Pan-American Games in Lima (Peru) with a jump of 17.38m, securing silver behind gold medallist Omar Craddock of the USA (17.42m).
Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshesha has built on her experience at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, where she won a bronze medal in the women’s 800m, to successfully make the step up to senior level. The 18-year-old beat a field of experienced rivals to clinch 800m gold at the 2019 African Games in Rabat (Morocco), clocking 2:03.16 to beat the likes of Ugandan Olympian Halimah Nakaayi, who went on to win the 2019 world title in Doha.
Since winning badminton silver in the women’s singles at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, China’s Wang Zhiyi has gone on to enjoy some impressive performances on the BWF World Tour. In July, the 19-year-old finished as runner-up at the Canada Open, losing in the final to An Se-young of the Republic of Korea to clinch her first podium finish on the senior circuit. Her good form continued in her next event on the BWF World Tour – the Super 300-ranked US Open in California – with Wang not dropping a game throughout the whole tournament as she went on to beat Korean third seed Kim Ga-eun in the final, 21-18, 21-19. In October, Wang then claimed her second BWF World Tour title, as she won the Indonesia Masters Super 100.
Sun Yingsha and Wang Chuqin
Sun Yingsha and Wang Chuqin continued China’s dominance of the YOG table tennis events at Buenos Aires 2018, winning the women’s and men’s singles titles respectively, and now they are both enjoying success on the senior stage. Sun has risen to a high of sixth in the world rankings on the back of a series of impressive results on the ITTF World Tour, including singles victories in the Japan Open and the Australian Open. The 18-year-old has also shone in the doubles, partnering Wang Manyu to gold at the 2019 World Table Tennis Championships and the Qatar Open. Wang, meanwhile, clinched the men’s singles title at the Swedish Open and finished runner-up at the Hungarian Open and Australian Open. Like Sun, the 19-year-old has also found success in doubles, winning the 2019 world title alongside world and Olympic champion Ma Long.