Day 7: What’s been happening at the YOG
We take a quick look at some of the highlights from the seventh day of action at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.
Performance of the day
It was a great day for Argentina in Buenos Aires, as its athletes won a succession of medals backed by incredible local support in all of the venues. The country’s women’s beach handball team clinched the first ever YOG title, with a 2-0 victory over Croatia in the final. Sailors Dante Cittadini and Teresa Romairone had added another gold in the Nacra 15 event. Wrestler Linda Machuca secured silver in the women’s 73kg freestyle; there was another silver medal for Facundo Diaz Acosta in the men’s singles tennis final, and bronzes for kayaker Valentin Rossi and the men’s beach handball team completed a memorable day for the host nation.
Party in the parks
A sunny Saturday brought thousands of fans out to enjoy the YOG experience, with live music and roving circus performers adding to the special festival atmosphere in the various parks around the city. Taking to the stage at the Youth Olympic Park was Argentinian singer Oriana Sabatini, who enjoyed some star support from her aunt, former US Open tennis champion Gabriela Sabatini.
Argentinian fans love to cheer on a winner, but they’re also incredibly encouraging and sympathetic to the home athletes who don’t quite deliver under the weight of expectation.
After two flawless rounds in the individual equestrian final, Richard Kierkegaard was going for gold in a five-person jump-off at Club Hípico Argentino, but disaster struck as his mount slowed to a standstill approaching one of the final obstacles. All momentum – and chance of a medal – was lost, but the capacity crowd continued to scream home their athlete in a touching scene.
Earlier, at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, Facundo Diaz Acosta was 5-2 up in the second set and just two points away from taking the men’s final into a deciding set, only to lose his nerve as French opponent Hugo Gaston roared back to win the battle of the left-handers. Not that you’d know it from Diaz Acosta’s joy – and the fans’ reaction – when he received his silver medal on the podium. With them in victory and defeat, the Porteños have been the perfect cheerleaders at this YOG.
Olympic champion taking inspiration from YOG athletes
Having competed at six editions of the Olympic Games and beaten lung cancer to win gold at Rio 2016, Argentinian sailor Santiago Lange has inspired countless people around the world to overcome their own challenges and realise their dreams. But what inspires the 57-year-old to keep training and working hard towards a seventh Olympic appearance at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020? It turns out he has taken inspiration from the 4,000 young athletes competing at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018, who he is mentoring during the Games as an Athlete Role Model.
“I am really enjoying the Games and it’s really cool to be around these young people,” he explains. “This opportunity to live the emotions of the Olympic experience with these young athletes has been very inspiring. I have been training every day that I am here because I am so motivated and I really want to keep living this Olympic experience at Tokyo 2020”
Learning from the best
Throughout the YOG, young athletes have been given the chance to seek advice from successful Olympians as part of special ‘Chat with Champions’ sessions that have been held in the Youth Olympic Village. Those who have taken to the stage so far to share their experiences and answer questions from the athletes include Olympic gold medallists Chad le Clos and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, and YOG champion turned world silver medallist Yuliya Levchenko. For this evening’s session, IOC President Thomas Bach joined fellow Olympians Henriette Engel Hansen, Galia Dvorak and Danka Bartekova to discuss how athletes can win both on and off the field of play.
Quote of the Day
“I started with sport because the people in my area simply hurt themselves with bad things and I decided not to.”
Ecuador’s Jeremy Renzo Peralta Gonzalez chose wrestling over a life of drugs and crime – and now has a Youth Olympic silver medal to show for it