The Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 came to an end on Thursday 18 October, with the Youth Olympic Village providing the setting for an intimate Closing Ceremony full of colour and spectacle.
Addressing the athletes assembled in front of the stage, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said: “And now I have a sad duty to fulfil, because now I have to say a sentence which we may not like. But it’s time for me to say that I declare closed the third Youth Olympic Games, Buenos Aires 2018. Muchas gracias Argentina. Nos vemos en Senegal!”
And with that, the Youth Olympic flame was extinguished in the cauldron in the Youth Olympic Park, an image relayed to the athletes on a big screen.
The third Summer Youth Olympic Games proved to be a record breaker, as a grand total of 1,001,496 spectators attended the 12-day celebration of sport, from the Opening Ceremony at the Argentinian capital’s famous Obelisk through to the last of the events. It was a figure that exceeded the attendance at both Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014.
“It was a fantastic Youth Olympic Games,” said Bach, addressing the athletes. “For me the best thing was to follow you, to watch you in all your competitions. And I would like to say thank you, dear athletes, for your great performances, for your fair play, for your Olympic spirit. You were really the best.”
Taking his turn to speak, Local Organising Committee President Gerardo Werthein said: “I would like to congratulate all the athletes. Our volunteers did a fantastic job too.”
Flagbearers from the 206 national delegations paraded as part of the farewell celebrations, while the contribution of the more than 10,000 volunteers was also recognised. Gisella Bonomi and Richard Kierkegaard, two members of the 142-strong Argentina team, also read a pledge on behalf of all the athletes.
The highpoint of the ceremony came with the handover from Buenos Aires to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, which will host the next Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2022. The moment was symbolised by Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, the mayor of Buenos Aires, handing the Olympic flag to Bach, who in turn passed it on Soham El Wardini, the mayor of Dakar.
Fireworks filled the night sky above Buenos Aires as the ceremony came to an end, bringing a colourful and spectacular conclusion to what has been a truly colourful and spectacular Youth Olympic Games.