Celebrating YOG skills
As countries around the globe celebrate World Youth Skills Day on 15 July, olympic.org pays tribute to four of the most inspirational performances at the Youth Olympic Games.
Before Chad le Clos announced himself to the sporting world with a stunning defeat of Michael Phelps at the Olympic Games London 2012, he gave an equally impressive string of performances at the inaugural edition of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore in 2010. The South African swimmer was the star of the pool in Singapore, winning an incredible five medals in all, including gold in the 200m medley. Le Clos has gone from strength to strength ever since, and has been a regular face on the podium at the Olympic Games and World Championships. He remains a regular face at the YOG too, and will be a YOG Ambassador in Buenos Aires in October, just as he was in Nanjing four years earlier.
The Olympic Games have a rich history of athletes from the host nation rising to the occasion in front of their home crowd, and the first-ever Winter YOG in Innsbruck in 2012 were no different. Austrian skier Marco Schwarz showed superb all-round skills, and no sign of nerves, to deliver a hat-trick of gold medals on the slopes of the Patscherkofel mountain. A stunning display in the giant slalom was followed by two more ice-cool runs in the combined event to seal another gold. The third gold medal came in the parallel mixed team event, making its debut on the Olympic programme, as Schwarz and his Austrian team-mates edged out Norway and France.
Vaulting to success
Two year later in Nanjing, the host nation's hopes and expectations rested on the shoulders of a 14-year-old gymnast. Showing incredible maturity, Chinese athlete Wang Yan thrived on the home support to win individual gold medals on the vault and balance beams as well as a bronze medal on the uneven bars. Like so many athletes who have starred on the YOG stage, she has gone on to shine on the world stage at senior level. Within a year, Wang had added two gold medals at the Asian Championships to her collection, as well as a silver in the team event at the World Championships. She then delivered another nerveless performance in the team event at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 as China took bronze.
Flying the flag
As the youngest-ever athlete to win two X Games titles, there was a buzz about 15-year-old Chloe Kim before the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016 had even begun. The question was: could the US snowboarder – who had just landed back-to-back 1080-degree rotations – perform to her peak on the Olympic stage? The answer was an emphatic yes. After carrying the USA's flag at the Opening Ceremony, Kim dominated the halfpipe event before adding a second gold in the slopestyle. It's fair to say it came as no surprise earlier this year when she landed a massive score of 98.25 in her final run to win halfpipe gold at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.