The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today approved the event programme and athlete quotas for the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Gangwon 2024, which will offer more young elite athletes than ever access to the Winter YOG environment, ensure a high-performance pathway for the participants, and achieve full gender equality.
Based on the principles adopted by the IOC EB in July 2020, the key features of the YOG event programme are as follows:
- Record participation for the Winter YOG by further optimising the multiple-wave concept:
The athlete quota will be increased from 1,872 to 1,900. At the same time, it will be possible to contain the overall cost and complexity of the YOG by further developing the “multiple-wave” concept, successfully pioneered by the two-wave system at Lausanne 2020. This allowed the athletes to stay in the Youth Olympic Village (YOV) during one of two periods, depending on their competition and Learn & Share schedules.
Gangwon 2024 will build on this positive experience by adopting an even more flexible wave approach, and ultimately reducing the average number of athletes per wave. This will allow the athletes to fully participate in both the Athlete Competition and Athlete Education activities, in the shortest time possible.
Next up: Gangwon 2024 😍 pic.twitter.com/ISs4Im4Avv— Youth Olympic Games (@youtholympics) January 22, 2020
- Greater focus on the young elite athlete development pathways:
The event programme will be further aligned with the young elite athlete development pathway of each sport. In this regard, no mixed National Olympic Committee (NOC) events will be included in any of the sports on the Winter YOG programme, ensuring consistency with the Summer YOG programme for Dakar 2026. Instead, these events will be replaced with equivalent events of the same or a similar format with teams of athletes from the same NOCs.
While the mixed NOC events were ultimately removed from the programme as medal events, the IOC EB recognised their value in providing the athletes with a very special experience in past YOG editions. The Board therefore recommended further exploring mixed NOC activities by sport as part of the Athlete Education Programme “Focus Day”, developed by the respective International Sports Federations (IFs).
- Balance between an action-packed Winter YOG event programme and the Learn & Share activities:
The IOC EB established a Winter YOG event programme with a maximum of 81 events, confirming the sustainable overall size of Lausanne 2020. In addition, competition schedule and transport considerations will be balanced with the location and number of YOVs, to ensure that all athletes have time to participate in the Learn & Share programme and the wider educational and development opportunities available at the YOG.
The YOG are both a global platform for high-level athletic performance by young elite athletes and a purpose-driven sports festival celebrating the Olympic values, with these two dimensions complementing each other.
- Full gender equality:
Gangwon 2024 will ensure 50 per cent male and female participation and an equal number of men’s and women’s events, following on from the full gender equality already achieved for Lausanne 2020.
Following the EB decision, IOC President Thomas Bach said:
“More young elite athletes will be able to benefit from the experience at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 while we keep the Games sustainable. We are striking the balance thanks to innovative concepts, but also the strong legacy from the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The event programme of the Youth Olympic Games is always adapted to the availability of specific venues in the host region, reflecting our ambition of making the Games more accessible and affordable to all types of cities. In Gangwon, many great sporting venues already exist, thanks to the legacy of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.”
Strong PyeongChang 2018 legacy
The Winter YOG Gangwon 2024 will benefit from many of the facilities used for PyeongChang 2018, as well as possible alternative venue options. Competitions will take place in PyeongChang (mountain sports) and Gangneung (ice sports), similar to the Olympic Winter Games concept in 2018, providing elite young winter sports athletes with the opportunity to compete in some of the same venues where Olympians competed a few years before.
In addition to the replacement of mixed NOC events with equivalent events of the same format composed of teams of athletes from the same NOCs, the IOC EB established the following event changes:
- Short Track Speed Skating: Two new 1,500m individual events (1M/1W)
- Cross-Country Skiing: One new mixed-gender relay to replace the Cross-Country Cross events
- Nordic Combined: One new mixed-gender team event
- Freestyle Skiing: Increase from 8 to 10 events per discipline, confirming the 4 events in Slopestyle and Big Air while leaving 6 individual and/or mixed-gender events to be confirmed among Ski Cross, Dual Moguls and Halfpipe
- Snowboard: Increase from 8 to 10 events per discipline, confirming the 4 events in Slopestyle and Big Air while leaving 6 individual and/or mixed-gender events to be confirmed among Snowboard Cross, Snowboard Parallel and Halfpipe.
Regarding Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard, the IOC EB recognised the need to allow the Gangwon 2024 Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (YOGOC) additional time to complete the planning for the sites and venues. This joint site assessment, to be conducted with the International Ski Federation (FIS), is due to be discussed and finalised at the Gangwon 2024 Coordination Commission meeting at the end of March 2021.
The design of the Gangwon 2024 Winter YOG sport and event programme is a co-creation effort. It was based on the requests of the IFs, further developed in consultation with the Gangwon 2024 YOGOC, and finalised by the IOC EB based upon the recommendations of the Olympic Programme Commission, which also includes representatives of athletes and NOCs.
Gangwon (KOR) was elected as the host of the Winter YOG 2024 at the 135th IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 10 January 2020. Since then, the established YOGOC has been working in close partnership with the IOC to advance Games planning, building on the successful delivery of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020.