Three years to go to Buenos Aires 2018!
CEO Leandro Larrosa talks about the preparations for the third Summer Youth Olympic Games set to take place between 1 and 12 October 2018.
Three years to go until Buenos Aires 2018! What is the feeling in the city?
People, especially the younger ones, are really excited about Buenos Aires 2018. Not only through activities around the city, but also in our digital world, people are becoming more and more active. We have reached 10,000 likes on Facebook, which we are very happy about, and our community’s engagement is increasing day after day.
The YOG DNA is spreading throughout the city, and awareness of Buenos Aires hosting the YOG is rising. We are proud of the sentiment which Learn & Share activities at the city’s schools and other sites enjoy amongst children and young people, and we are really looking forward to continuing these initiatives. We have three years to make this enthusiasm grow, and to get the excitement to all corners of our city, our country and hopefully the world!
How is the progress looking so far?
We are very proud of the progress we have achieved so far, and confident about the capabilities and potential of our young Organising Committee and our city. The emblem launch had a great impact, and people have really embraced it. We had a lot of positive feedback on the process by which the emblem was created, and on the final product, including the whole look and feel of Buenos Aires 2018.
We have been working a lot on the neighbourhoods surrounding the Youth Olympic Village (YOV) site, organising activities with people from the area: sport practices, art workshops and more. We just finished painting three murals on a strategic site of Villa Soldati, the neighbourhood that will host the YOV, which involved a workshop with local kids and artists to design and develop the paintings. A few blocks away, the YOV’s construction has already started, and we are now celebrating these three years to go!
What are your main challenges with three years to go?
One of our main challenges is arriving at 2018 with our whole country engaged with the YOG, as well as taking sport, culture and education and the Olympic values beyond the city’s borders. Another challenge, since we have started with many activities and initiatives at such an early stage, will be to keep the scope of our activities high and increasing towards Games time, without letting the passion and enthusiasm get lost on the way. To achieve this, we need to continue to be creative and innovative in every aspect of our project.
What’s new and unique about Buenos Aires 2018?
We believe the most unique aspect of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games is the importance given to legacy and our special focus on youth. We want to innovate and make these Games a real catalyst for the development of our city, for both the people and the infrastructure, and to be the most youth-appealing so far. This is why our Youth Engagement stage has begun so early and so strongly. We are working with and for young people, from now until way past 2018. Our goal is to create a lasting legacy that lives on after the Games’ celebration. On top of this, each city is unique, and we hope to deliver Youth Olympic Games that reflect the personality of ours, showing its unique flavour.
Another original aspect of our Games will be the use of technology: we want, at every step of the way, to make the most of the possibilities that come along with new technologies, and to be as up-to-date with its changes and new features as possible, mainly for three reasons: reaching young people, cost-effectiveness and sustainability.
Our Buenos Aires 2018 experience will involve, in each cluster, culture, sports initiation, music, sports showcasing, and Learn & Share activities open for spectators, local young people and all YOG participants.
Regarding innovations on the programme, for the first time in Olympic history, the number of female and male athletes competing will be the same, which is awesome news in the race towards gender equality. As for the sports on offer, kiteboarding, beach handball and BMX freestyle, among others, will be joining the programme.
What did you learn from Nanjing 2014?
The most important thing we learnt from Nanjing 2014 was the simplicity they applied to solving problems, with creativity and pragmatism. Many of their initiatives were inspiring for us, especially the cluster concept (concentration of venues); the activation of TOP & local sponsors in venues; the importance of integrating sports initiation, competition and showcasing; and the coaches improvising training camps after competitions. It is great to look back to the Nanjing experience and be able to learn from it to enrich our own.
What are you looking forward the most at Buenos Aires 2018?
We are really looking forward to seeing our goals accomplished, and all the work and passion that we are putting into this reflected in awesome Youth Olympic Games, which have the flavour of Buenos Aires and leave a lasting mark on our beloved city. We want to really exploit the opportunities that hosting an event as important as the Youth Olympic Games will give to our city. We are aiming for everything and really want to see it happen! We want to meet our and other people’s expectations, and hope to exceed them.
What will be the legacy of Buenos Aires 2018?
We are looking forward especially to really becoming a catalyst for change and setting a precedent for subsequent Youth Olympic Games, and hopefully, big sporting events around the world regarding legacy, technology and sustainability. We want athletes to become better athletes but also better people, and to inspire and empower a whole generation of young people in a context where our world is asking for change.