Hitting the big time
We take a quick look at some of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) alumni who are currently starring on the world stage…
On 26 November, Marloes Keetels captained the Netherlands' women's hockey team to victory in the FIH Hockey World League Final in Auckland, New Zealand. Keetels, who was part of the Dutch team who won hockey silver at the YOG Singapore 2010, led the Netherlands to group stage victories over the USA, the Republic of Korea and hosts New Zealand before scoring in the 4-0 quarter-final win over China. The Rio 2016 silver medallists then saw off the Republic of Korea in the last four before sealing gold with a 3-0 win over New Zealand in the final.
Alpine skier Petra Vlhová – Slovakia's slalom gold medallist at the Winter YOG Innsbruck 2012 – has made a superb start to the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season. On 11 November, the 22-year-old claimed the third World Cup victory of her career as she won the slalom in Levi, Finland – beating reigning Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) into second place. Vlhová then followed up her victory with a runners-up finish in Killington, USA, making it two podiums out of two so far this season. Be sure to keep an eye on her at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018!
The skeleton gold medallist at the Winter YOG Innsbruck 2012 continues to make waves on the senior circuit, having recently won the Skeleton World Cup event in Whistler, Canada, from 24 to 25 November. The 2017 world champion had previously finished third in Park City, USA, earlier in November, meaning she is well placed to defend the overall World Cup title she won for the first time in the 2016/17 season. The 22-year-old from Germany is also sure to be among the medal favourites at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Zhu Xueying, who won trampoline gold at the YOG Nanjing 2014, recently made a big impression at the Trampoline World Championships, which were held in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 9 to 12 November. The 19-year-old finished the Championships with two gold medals, having helped China win the team event before partnering with Zhong Xingping to also claim the synchro world title.