Youth Olympics on the rise
An opportunity for youngsters to compete like their idols
by Istvan Miskolczy
image courtesy of Moody Air Force Base via Google
Between October 6thand 18th, almost four thousand young athletes were competing in the third Summer Youth Olympic Games, held in Buenos Aries, Argentina. The young sportsmen, who had to be under the age of 18, could participate in 36 disciplines in 32 different sports to win some of the 1250 medals.
Both the Summer and Winter Youth Olympics have been constantly gaining popularity since the first Games in 2010, in spite of the fact that it is quite a new tradition. This is only the third Summer Olympics Games, after the one held in Singapore in 2010, and the Chinese town of Nanjing in 2014. Just as its senior equivalent, it is also organized every four years. Out of the Winter Youth Olympics, only two took place since the start of the initiative, but it is also in rotation with the ‘elder winter brother’.
All of the overall three Summer Youth Olympics held up to now was a really good opportunity for teenager athletes to compete in almost the same circumstances as they would – and hopefully will – among the frameworks of either the 2020 or the 2024 Games. These kinds of events are not just promoting different sports among the young people, but also encouraging youngsters to take sport and competing seriously, and showing, that hard work can pay off indeed.
The idea of bringing the young athletes together was created in 1998 as a response to child obesity and the decreasing participation of children in different sport activities. Since then, more or less for the same reasons, more and more cities are considering to apply for organizing either a Summer or a Winter Olympics Games. Glasgow did exactly this, who, however, in the end, lost the host city election vote in 2013 behind the Columbian city of Medellín and the winner, Buenos Aires.
This year’s Summer Youth Olympics Games was historical from several aspects. First of all, the countries of Kosovo and South Sudan made their Youth Olympic, and Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) made its Olympics debut here. It was also the first Summer Youth Olympics Games to be organized outside of Asia. Although the current Games has just finished, the youngsters are probably already curious and excited even now about the next one in Dakar, which will be held in 2022.