That "Other" Major Games in 2010

Introducing the First-Ever Youth Olympic Games

Vancouver won’t host the only Olympic Games in 2010. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has created a new festival of competition, the Youth Olympic Games, whose first incarnation is next summer.

Its host is the island nation of Singapore, which in February nudged out Moscow for the right to host the inaugural event by a vote of 53 to 44. The Games will run one year from now, August 14 to 26, 2010.

IOC president Jacques Rogge has said that the Youth Olympic Games represent a “key moment” for the Olympic Movement around the world. The new Games are meant to spark the interest of the world’s youth while promoting Olympic values. They will not replicate the Olympic Games, but instead exude their own unique identity.

Athletes between 14 and 18 years of age will compete in standard Olympic sports, whose rules and format may be quite different than an actual Olympic Games. In all, an anticipated 5,000 athletes and officials from 205 nations will take part in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. That includes Canada, whose team is expected to be finalized in July 2010.

In all, 26 sports will be contested – two fewer than the sports program from the 2008 Olympic Games. But many of the sports next summer feature both subtle and major changes in format, which will give them a life all their own. Overall, there are age brackets involved, as events are contested in the 15-16, 16-17 and 17-18 age categories.

Depending on the age group, some of the sports will vary. The IOC has posted the full sports program at. There you can see the most unique aspect of these Games: mixed-gender sport events. These include a medley relay in athletics, modern pentathlon, triathlon, swimming relays and a combined road-BMX-mountain bike cycling mixed event. Some of the rules vary as well – for example, typical five-on-five basketball is taken down to a three-on-three format, played on a half-court.

Incorporated into the Games is a Culture and Education Program, which intends to educate, engage and influence youth athletes in the spirit of the Olympic Movement. Highlighted will be the values of friendship, respect and excellence, as well as the importance of a healthy lifestyle and social responsibility.

For more on the Singapore Youth Olympic Games, visit the IOC ator the Singapore 2010 site at.

Two years later, the first youth Olympic Winter Games will be held – in Innsbruck, Austria.