Youth Olympic Games Come to a Close

With one last celebration, the first Youth Olympic Games came to a spectacular conclusion in front of 27,000 fans Thursday night in Singapore.

The 3,600 athletes filed in en masse to The Float @ Marina Bay stage for the evening’s festivities, which included traditional favourites like musical performances and an elaborate fireworks display of 200 pyrotechnics.

“We have done it!” exclaimed Ng Ser Miang, Chairman of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee. “We have delivered the inaugural Youth Olympic Games. May the flame of the Youth Olympic Games burn ever brighter at future Games.”

Declaring the Games closed, IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “These Games leave a human legacy in Singapore and around the world. Young Olympians, you have shown that a new generation is ready to embrace and share Olympic Values.”

The Olympic flame, which had lit up Singapore’s scenic Marina Bay area from atop a light house, was extinguished and the Canadian Youth Olympic Team will return to Canada with 13 medals and a lifetime of memories.

Among the great Canadian performances at Singapore 2010, swimmers Rachel Nicol and Tera van Beilen earned three medals apiece, while fencer Alexandre Lyssov earned two.

With these successful Games now over, Canadian athletes reflected on the entire experience.

Dorothy Yeats (Montreal West), gold medallist in wrestling: “Sentosa Beach was really cool. I really enjoyed watching competitions from other sports and making friends with athletes from other countries,” she said about her experience in Singapore. “My medal is more encouraging than anything else. I haven’t accomplished my final goal, which is the Olympics, but I did what I came here to do and it’s a great stepping stone.”

Melanie Phan (Port Coquitlam, B.C.), bronze medallist in taekwondo: “My farourite part was meeting everyone and getting to know everyone in the village,” Phan noted about the Games. “Winning a medal is a great feeling. We won 13 medals and knowing that mine is one of them is very special.”

Henry Pan (Winnipeg), badminton: “I thought all the culture and education programs were interesting,” he said of this YOG-specific idea. “I’m feeling pretty good about how I did. I had a tough draw and I’m just really happy to be here.”

The first Youth Olympic Winter Games will be held in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012, while the next summer Games are slated for Nanjing, China in 2014. A contingent from Nanjing was on hand to accept the Olympic flag and presented a video, previewing what the world can expect four years hence.