Nanjing 2014 ready to open its doors to the world’s best young athletes
Visitors from all over the world flocked to Nanjing, China, this week for final updates on the 2nd Youth Olympic Games (YOG) taking place this summer.
One hundred and four Young Ambassadors, 197 Chefs de Mission representing the 204 National Olympic Committees (NOC) taking part in the Games, and the IOC Coordination Commission – on its fifth and final visit – all deemed Nanjing ready to welcome the world's best young athletes.
IOC member and Chairman of the Coordination Commission Alexander Popov said: "There is a real buzz here in Nanjing that the Youth Olympic Games are coming soon. The team here is so passionate about creating the ultimate experience not only for the athletes, but also for young people from across China and overseas. The local organising committee and Chinese Olympic Committee have done an excellent job and we congratulate them on their progress so far."
With 137 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, the Nanjing Organising Committee (NYOGOC) gave an impressive overview to the NOC and IOC visitors of their final preparations and world-class sports facilities – all of which are close to completion. In line with the IOC's YOG vision to use existing venues, many of Nanjing's sports facilities are already in place and were tested during the Asian Youth Games last summer. The newly constructed Youth Olympic Village (YOV), which will provide state-of-the-art facilities for the visiting athletes and officials, will form a key part of the Nanjing legacy as affordable housing after the Games have concluded.
Nanjing also has a strong focus on the social legacy of the YOG and will use the event as an opportunity to connect with and educate young people across China and overseas on the benefits of sport and healthy lifestyles, the importance of environmental protection and Olympic values. A sports initiation programme is another key project whereby over 150 local schools and college students are able to try out the sports on the Olympic programme - inspiring them to join local clubs and associations. In addition, the World Culture Village in the YOV will be open to local children, and a schools twinning programme has been established with 72 National Olympic Committees.
Promotion of the Youth Olympic Games will continue to build excitement in the coming months with the main focus on ticketing in April, followed by the lighting of the flame in exactly 30 days' time in Athens, which will be broadcast live. Several impressive social and digital media initiatives and apps are set to be launched to engage with young Chinese and international fans, and over 40 high-profile Ambassadors and Athlete Role Models (Olympians and world champions who will also attend the Games this summer) are supporting the promotional campaign.
In this final operational phase, work continues on the "learn and share" sessions – the Culture and Education Programme for athletes to participate in fun activities and workshops on topics such as career management, anti-doping, nutrition and team-building.
At Nanjing 2014, several new sports and formats will once again be seen for the first time at the Youth Olympic Games. During this final IOC visit, the 8x100m Yangshan Road urban athletics venue has been finalised, and during Games time, audiences will also enjoy the new sports on the Olympic programme, rugby and golf, ahead of their debut at Rio 2016.
Yang Weize, Executive President of NYOGOC, said: "We are very proud to have won the bid for the 2nd Youth Olympic Games some four years ago and now all the preparations are well on track. With the guidance and support of the IOC, I strongly believe Nanjing will host a splendid and memorable Youth Olympic Games, bringing happiness and fantastic experiences to young people around the world."