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The Youth Olympic Games
The sight of David Beckham kicking a football from a red double-decker bus into the crowd at the Closing Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games has not yet faded from our memories. Indeed, it seems like the British soccer star made the symbolic invitation to the London 2012 Olympic Games only a moment ago. Time flies and now even the London Games have drawn to a close. While we're no strangers to the Olympic Games, what about the Youth Olympic Games?

The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is an international multi-sport event organised for youngsters aged from 14 to 18, and it serves as a platform for holding competitions and exchanges of skills among young athletes from around the world. Held every four years, the YOG follows the traditional Olympic format of staggered Summer Games and Winter Games. The first Summer and Winter Games were held in Singapore in August 2010 and in Innsbruck, Austria, in January 2012 respectively. The coming Summer YOG will be held in the Mainland city of Nanjing, where the world¡¦s best young athletes will assemble for high-level sporting competitions.

The YOG is an amalgam of sport, culture and education that instils the Olympic spirit in youngsters from all over the world and encourages them to participate in sports events for a healthy lifestyle. The idea of creating the YOG was endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its 119th plenary session held in Guatemala City on 5 July 2007. Patterned on the Olympic Games, the YOG not only features ceremonies like a torch relay, the playing of national anthems and the hoisting of national flags, but also involves sports events very similar to those of the Olympics. What distinguishes the YOG from the Olympics is an increased emphasis on cultural and educational activities for young people.
The Summer YOG is held for up to 12 days and has about 3 500 athletes. It covers 28 sports: aquatics (diving and swimming), archery, athletics, badminton, basketball (Olympic basketball or three-on-three basketball), boxing, canoe-kayaking, cycling (BMX and MTB), equestrian (jumping), fencing, football, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball (indoor or beach volleyball), weightlifting, wrestling (women¡¦s freestyle wrestling and men¡¦s Greco-Roman wrestling), golf and rugby. The IOC encourages the host city to make use of existing integrated multi-functional stadiums in lieu of building new major venues, save for an Olympic Village for young athletes. The 2014 Nanjing YOG will consist of three zones with different themes for their venues, namely an Olympic centre zone, a cultural scenic spot zone and a college pavilion zone. Most of the venues used to hold high-level domestic sports events like the 10th National Games and would hence comply with the requirements of the Nanjing YOG.

China won 30 gold medals, 16 silver medals and 5 bronze medals in the first YOG, and took the top spots for both the number of gold medals and the number of medals won as a whole. The medals fetched by Hong Kong included silver in both the equestrian and windsurfing events. The next YOG will be held in Nanjing from 16 to 28 August in 2014. With ¡§Olympics for the young, by the young¡¨ as its motto, the Nanjing YOG will aim to encourage youngsters to get a proper understanding of themselves both in the sporting arena and in life. The Games will also aim to encourage them to be considerate, to appreciate others and to build up friendships, as well as inspire self-confidence through competitions. Let¡¦s cheer on the young athletes participating in the Nanjing YOG when the time comes!

Official website of the Second Youth Olympic Games
Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China
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