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27 Jun 2011

Olympic Day: Vancouver's young athletes look back, and look forward

Youth Olympic Games Young Reporter Kimiya Shokoohi shares how she celebrated Olympic Day in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

For a group of young athletes in Vancouver, Olympic Day is serving as a reminder.

A reminder of the goals achieved a little over a year ago at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. A reminder that their own goals are just as possible.

The men's basketball team of British Columbia's Kwantlen Polytechnic University is spending Olympic Day, and the rest of their summer, indoors.

Indoor with a basketball. Indoor with team-mates. Indoor working towards a new season, and a new shot at a championship title.

"The Olympics basically for me showcased how hard you have to work to get to that platform," player Lonzell Webster said. "Those guys train incredibly hard."

For most of these young men, basketball has been more than a sport.

"It's a way of life," Webster said. "Sport: it doesn't just sit well on the court, it’s something you do off the court."

"It’s a way of life, like basketball is our way of life. It keeps us in shape. It actually helps our minds."

While this varsity team spends the majority of their time building their skills competitively indoors, there's one type of basketball that point guard AJ Adusei enjoys most outdoors: three-on-three basketball.

Or "street ball" as he calls it.

No grand prize. No championship. Just friends. Just fun.

The sport was official inducted into an Olympic Games last summer at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games.

Since then, London 2012 Summer Olympic Games Chairman Sebastian Coe has expressed an interest in the sport and in hosting it as a side-line event.

"I don't see why not," Adusei said. "It's basketball too. It's fun too."

Looking back at his own hometown's Games, Vancouver native Ali Bosir looks forward to what basketball could mean in a future Vancouver.

"Vancouver inspired us to take basketball and make it more of national sport," Bosir said, referring to Canada's well-known love for a different kind of sport. "We want to make it well known – like hockey."

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