Youth Olympic Games: Welcome to the Family
Olympic Review’s Michael Stoneman looks back on the first Youth Olympic Games, which saw 3,600 young athletes from around the world meet in Singapore for 12 days of world-class sport and engaging cultural activities.
"I feel like an expectant father waiting in the delivery room,” declared IOC President Jacques Rogge, just hours before the Opening Ceremony of the first ever Youth Olympic Games. Only three years earlier, the idea of creating a new event to inspire and educate young athletes was being approved at the IOC Session in Guatemala City, and now Rogge’s vision was about to become a reality, as Singapore prepared to host the inaugural edition of the Youth Olympic Games.
The city-state had only been named as host in February 2008, and the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee, led by Ser Miang Ng, had worked tirelessly for two years to bring the Games to fruition.
When the countdown was finally completed, the first new Olympic event since the inaugural Olympic Winter Games in 1924 was ready to begin, kicking off in spectacular fashion with a dazzling Opening Ceremony that took place in the shadow of Singapore's awe-inspiring skyline.
With countless fireworks illuminating the night sky, and spectacular dance routines wowing the assembled crowd from the world’s largest floating stage, the scene was set for the birth of the newest member of the Olympic family. With the lighting of the innovative ‘Tornado Flame’ that would burn brightly in Singapore for the next 12 days, the first Youth Olympic Games were finally under way, and the attention shifted to the city's sporting arenas, where the performances were no less impressive.