First time hearing about the Youth Olympic Games?

Don’t worry, in order to you help you get ready for Buenos Aires 2018, we’ve answered some of the most popular questions about the Youth Olympic Games.

Before Team Canada sends 72 talented athletes to Buenos Aires 2018, here’s what you need to know about the Youth Olympic Games.

What are the Youth Olympic Games?

The Youth Olympic Games is an elite multi-sport programme for athletes aged 15 to 18. Based off of the Olympic Games format, the Youth Olympic Games run every four years in staggered summer and winter events.

To date, there are 32 sports and 36 disciplines during the Summer Youth Olympic programme. The 2020 Winter Youth Olympic programme will feature eight sports and 16 disciplines.

The Youth Olympic Games are often used as a new outlet for upcoming sports and a gateway for athletes, fostering future participation in the Olympic programme. The Youth Olympic Games integrate culture and education as it teaches young athletes Olympic values. In order to focus on both sport and personal development, the format of the Youth Olympic Games is modified to engage in youth collaboration.

How often are the Youth Olympic Games held?

Just like the Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games are held every four years, staggered summer and winter. The Summer Youth Olympic Games take place the same year as the Winter Olympic Games, leaving the Winter Youth Olympic Games to take place the same year as the Summer Olympic Games.

The first Summer Youth Olympic Games were held in Singapore in 2010, followed by the first Winter Youth Games in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012.

Subsequently, the second Summer Youth Games were held in Nanjing, China in 2014 and the Winter Youth Games in Lillehammer, Norway in 2016.

Where and when are the next Youth Olympic Games?

The next Summer Youth Olympic Games will be held October 6 to 18, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Followed by the next Winter Youth Olympic Games that will occur in Lausanne, Switzerland, from January 10 to 19, 2020.

As for the 2022 Summer Youth Olympic Games, the elected country will be announced in October 2018 at Buenos Aires.

Youth Olympic Games 2018

The 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A grand total of 241 events will take place from October 6 to 18. Buenos Aires marks the first Summer Youth Olympic Games held outside of Asia. Nearly 4,000 athletes from over 200 countries will compete across 32 sports and 36 disciplines.

Fun fact: Four new sports will make their Olympic debut in Buenos Aires. These sports are: breaking, karate, roller speed skating, and sport climbing.

Canadian Youth Olympic Team 2018

The Youth Olympic Team in 2018 is comprised of 72 athletes, aged 15 to 18 that will compete across 21 sports.

Meet the team here.

How many Medals will Canada win at Buenos Aires 2018

Unfortunately, we can’t see into the future, but Canada has won a total medal count of 34 from the previous Summer and Winter Youth Olympic Games. This count includes eight gold, eight silver and 18 bronze medals.

At Nanjing 2014, Canada won a total of four silver and three bronze medals. Many teams such as our women’s rugby sevens and men’s U18 field hockey 5s are looking to repeat their previous podium finishes!

How to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games

For the Olympic Games, qualifications are different for each sport or discipline. That being said, there are a general set of steps to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games.

Athletes must comply with the Olympic Charter and follow the regulations set out by the International Federation (IF) that governs each sport.

Each sport or discipline has recognized IF Olympic Games qualifying events where athletes must win or finish within standard scores in order to be nominated.

There are quotas placed for specific regions that limit the amount of competitors from any given country. For example, each National Olympic Committee is restricted to participate in one team sport per gender. Team sports include: Futsal, Beach handball, Field Hockey, or Rugby Sevens. An exception to this rule is for the host country, who can enter a team per sport. In addition to the team sport caps, there is an overall maximum of 75 athletes in individual sports for YOG.

Speaking of team sports – Team Canada’s U18 men’s field hockey team secured their spot for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games after winning a bronze medal at the Youth Pan American Championships. The U18 women’s rugby team also qualified for the Youth Olympic Games sevens tournament during the North American Qualifier held in Las Vegas earlier this year.

All sports have a maximum quota of athletes that can qualify for competition. For example, swimming has a quota of eight athletes that can compete for each country, four male and four female. Each National Sport Organization (NSO) is tasked with creating and implementing their own internal nomination procedure used to nominate athletes to the Canadian team. For questions about the qualification process for a specific sport, refer to the NSO. The National Olympic Committee (NOC) for each country is responsible for making the final selection for who is nominated, if more athletes than the quota qualify for the Games.

What is the age limit for the Youth Olympic Games?

The Youth Olympic games is restricted to athletes aged 15 to 18. To be eligible for Buenos Aires 2018, athletes must have been born between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2003.

Generally stated, to participate in the Youth Olympic Games, athletes must be born within the date range making them 15 to 18 years on December 31 of the year the Olympics takes place.

Young reporters and ambassadors are also an important part of the Youth Olympic Games.

What sports are in the Youth Olympic Games?

The Youth Olympic Games incorporates many sports and disciplines seen in the Olympic Games, but also creates a stage for innovation. Often the Youth Games feature events for the first time on an Olympic stage. Up to date there is 32 sports and 36 disciplines in the summer programme. Eight sports and 16 disciplines are prepared to be on the winter programme at Lausanne 2020.

The Youth Games are often an outlet for introducing new events to the Olympic Games. In Buenos Aires 2018, four sports will make their Olympic debut, including breaking, karate, roller speed skating, and sport climbing. Sport climbing will make its transition into the Olympic programme as it makes its debut at Tokyo 2020.

In 2020, ski mountaineering and women’s nordic combined will also be seen for the first time as an Olympic event. Additionally, women’s luge doubles and a mixed 3-on-3 ice hockey tournament will take place at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Summer sports:

Aquatics – Archery – Athletics – Badminton – Basketball – Boxing – Canoe  – Cycling – DanceSport – Equestrian  – Fencing  – Football (Soccer) – Golf – Gymnastics – Handball – Hockey (Field) – Judo – Karate – Modern Pentathlon – Roller Sports – Rowing – Rugby – Sailing – Shooting – Sport Climbing – Table Tennis – Taekwondo – Tennis – Triathlon – Volleyball – Weightlifting – Wrestling

Winter sports:

Biathlon – Bobsleigh – Skeleton – Curling – Hockey (ice) – Luge – Figure Skating – Speed Skating – Short Track Speed Skating – Alpine skiing – Freestyle Skiing – Cross Country Skiing – Ski Mountaineering – Nordic Combined – Ski Jumping – Snowboard