On 19 October, the morning after the Closing Ceremony, the Olympic Cup was awarded to the people of Buenos Aires for their outstanding contribution to the Youth Olympic Games 2018.
The Olympic Cup was presented by IOC President Thomas Bach during a thank-you breakfast at the Hilton in Puerto Madero, and accepted by the city’s Deputy Mayor, Diego Santilli, on behalf of the people of Buenos Aires. “The Olympic Cup was created by our founder Pierre de Coubertin. This makes it one of the most traditional prizes in the Olympic world and it is given to organisations or communities that have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the Olympic sports and the Olympic Games,” said President Bach. “I think there can be no doubt that here, the Porteños, the people of Buenos Aires, have deserved this.”
From the 8,000 volunteers in the Youth Olympic Village and around the four parks – who greeted athletes and visitors with smiles, high fives and an incredibly helpful attitude – to the enthusiastic crowds of all ages who packed out each venue, the people of Buenos Aires were the perfect hosts, creating a special atmosphere perfectly in tune with the YOG spirit. President Bach continued: “It was overwhelming to see the Porteños and all Argentinians welcome these young athletes; and to whomever you spoke, you could feel this hospitality, you could feel this friendliness, you could also feel the pride that the Argentinians were feeling for hosting these Youth Olympic Games. You had every day hundreds of these experiences.”
Getty ImagesWhether it was the Olympic debut of breakdancing at the Urban Park, futsal fever at Tecnópolis, mixed gender events at the Youth Olympic Park or the party atmosphere at the Beach Volleyball Arena in Green Park, locals embraced each sport on the Youth Olympic programme and came out in their numbers. They cheered for star performers, underdogs and acts of fair play, but reserved their loudest screams for Argentinian athletes.
Team successes for Argentina in men’s 3x3 basketball, men’s rugby, women’s hockey and women’s beach handball provided unforgettable moments for the host city, while young athletes such as double silver medal-winning swimmer and Buenos Aires local Delfina Pignatiello became stars.
“We never imagined there would be so many people cheering for us, and it’s been great to receive all of the support,” she said. “We got big audiences for all sports, boys and girls. There were long lines and some people couldn’t watch the sport they came to watch, but they were able to see them on the screens and they were cheering anyway. That was amazing.”
By bringing sport to the people, Buenos Aires 2018 was a game-changer in the way that future sports events and Olympic Games will be organised – but in Buenos Aires, the people returned the favour generously. The unique atmosphere they created was the Porteños’ gift to the young athletes of the world.