Inaugural Youth Olympic Games Reach the Midway Mark
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge praised the inaugural edition of the Youth Olympic Games on Saturday as the Games passed their halfway point in Singapore.
“The athletes are having a great time and the smiles you see everywhere are proof of that,” President Rogge said. “So far everything is going smoothly and we’ve been very pleased with the organisation, the competition and the non-sport activities. While it is impossible to provide a full assessment of the Games until after they’re over, so far we are very satisfied.”
Some 3,600 athletes and 1,850 officials are at the Games, which are being staffed by 20,000 volunteers and covered by 1,900 accredited media from around the world.
The participation of 204 National Olympic Committees is a strong demonstration of the event’s universality, while athletes from 60 NOCs have won medals thus far. Singapore 2010 is expected to see a record participation by women in an Olympic event, and marks the debut of mixed events featuring teams with both men and women and athletes from different nationalities participating together.
“Athletes and spectators alike have really taken to the new sport formats,” said IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games Gilbert Felli. “We’re very pleased with the way in which the International Federations have embraced the Youth Olympic Games.”
The more than 50 Culture and Education Programme activities have been extremely popular with the athletes, so much so that additional sessions have been added by the organisers. One of the most well-received CEP events was the Chat With Champions session featuring Olympic champion pole vaulters Sergey Bubka and Yelena Isinbaeva, who were a source of inspiration to the young athletes during a lively and often amusing question-and-answer period.
The athletes participating in Singapore 2010 are joined by 29 Young Reporters, who have been actively providing content to the international media, while 30 Young Ambassadors have been supporting and mentoring their national delegations. Over 40 Athlete Role Models from the International Federations and IOC have also been offering advice and tips to the athletes in and around the Athletes’ Village.
27,000 people attended the spectacular Opening Ceremony at the Marina Bay Floating Stadium in downtown Singapore, and it was available live around the world on the Singapore 2010 Official Webcasting Platform.
Global interest in the Youth Olympic Games has been strong, with over 160 rights holding broadcasters providing coverage. The Youth Olympic Games YouTube Channel has surpassed well over two million views and has now been watched more times than the entire Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games section.
The Olympic.org website is receiving highest number of views since Vancouver 2010, while the two Facebook pages – Singapore 2010 and the Youth Olympic Games page now have more than 100,000 “fans.” The overall Olympic fan base on Facebook is approaching four million fans.