Youth Olympic Games

  • What are the YOG?
    • The Youth Olympic Games are the ultimate multi-sports event for young athletes, but they are more than just competing and performing. They are about learning important skills, connecting to other cultures and celebrating the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

      The Youth Olympic Games are essentially about competing, learning and sharing. The mission of the YOG is to shape and influence the athletes and other young participants, to prepare them to become ambassadors of Olympism, of sport and of a healthy lifestyle so they can take on an active role in their community.

      Learn more:

  • What is the difference between the Olympic Games (OG) and the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • The YOG are for the world's young athletes aged from 15 to 18. Like the OG, they are held every four years, and are held in the same year as the OG with the Summer YOG taking place the same year as the Olympic Winter Games and vice-versa. Note that following the approval of Agenda 2020 by the IOC Session in December 2014, in the future the organisation of the YOG will move to an non-Olympic year, starting with the 4th Summer Youth Olympic Games, which will be postponed from 2022 to 2023.

      The Summer YOG Nanjing 2014 gathered almost 3,800 young athletes, whereas the OG London 2012 welcomed more than 10,500 athletes.

      The Summer and Winter YOG last 12 and 10 days respectively, while the OG may last up to 16 days.

      The sports programme is based on that of the Olympic Games, with 28 sports for the Summer YOG and seven for the Winter YOG. However, the events are different, adapting to the age range and interests of the younger athletes. The YOG also include Learn & Share activities (known previously as Culture and Education Programme (CEP)).

      Learn more:

  • What is the origin of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • The YOG were created at the initiative of the former President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge. His idea was approved unanimously by the IOC members at their Session in July 2007 In Guatemala City. The 1st Summer YOG were held in Singapore, in August 2010. The 1st Winter YOG were held in Innsbruck, in January 2012.

      The objective of the YOG is to encourage young people around the world to practise sport; raise awareness of and encourage them to adopt the values of Olympism; and disseminate the message of the Olympic Movement around them.

      Learn more:

  • How are the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) financed?
    • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) contributes to the financing of the YOG. It covers the costs of transport and accommodation for the athletes and team officials in the Olympic Village as well as for representatives from the International Sports Federations (IFs) and IOC representatives in hotels. It also finances the TV production.

      The Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (YOCOG) shall be responsible for the planning, organising and staging of the YOG.

      On the other hand, the host city is responsible for the improvements to be made to sports and non-sports facilities and venues, where applicable.

      Learn more:

  • Does a city hosting the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) have to build new infrastructure?
    • No infrastructure has to be specially built to stage the YOG (apart from in exceptional cases). The facilities used must be in line with the sustainable development concept promoted by the Olympic Movement.

      The size and quality of this infrastructure must correspond to the objectives of the YOG and be suitable for young athletes. All the sports venues must be in the same city, and the use of multi-sports facilities is encouraged.

      Learn more:

  • How can a young athlete qualify to take part in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • The qualification of youth athletes is prepared in collaboration with the International Federations (IFs).

      For each discipline, world and continental junior championships as well as world junior rankings and qualifying events allow the athletes to qualify for the YOG.

      If a young athlete is interested in taking part in the YOG, he/she must contact his/her National Olympic Committee (NOC), which will inform him/her of the qualification criteria. The NOC is responsible for managing its delegation during the YOG.

      Learn more:

  • How many athletes compete in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • There are around 4'000 athletes for the Summer YOG from all of the NOCs, and about 1'780 athletes from 79 NOCs for the Winter YOG.

      Learn more:

  • What age are the athletes competing in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
  • What are the special features of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
    • The YOG are characterised primarily by their “YOG DNA” label, which defines the spirit and identity of the YOG. It is also the official trademark of the YOG, through which they distinguish themselves from the Olympic Games, while keeping the symbol of the Olympic rings.

      From a sports point of view, the YOG are an “ideas laboratory” for the International Sports Federations (IFs).
      Through the YOG, the IFs can innovate in their sport by proposing new events (for example, mixed or international teams, or a competition linking BMX and mountain biking). Sports not on the programme also have the opportunity to be presented in the framework of the “Sports Lab” (for example, skateboarding in Nanjing). Click here to learn more on the sports programme.  

      The YOG also distinguish themselves through the activities of the Compete, Learn and Share” programme. All the YOG participants are offered events through interactive workshops and forums based on five themes: Olympism, Skills Development, the Benefits of Sport and Healthy Lifestyles, Social Responsibility and Expression.
      This programme is a source of inspiration for all the participants, and encourages young people in their role as ambassadors of sport and Olympism within their communities.

      Furthermore, one thing that makes the YOG stand out is its participants. As well as athletes, other figures are equally important. These are:

      • Young Ambassadors: They are aged between 18 and 28 and are chosen by their National Olympic Committee (NOC). Like the athletes and other participants, they take part in the “Learn and Share” programme activities. They must also promote these activities to the YOG participants, and their mission is to promote the YOG in their countries and on social media networks.
      • Athlete Role Models: They are chosen by their International Federation (IF). They come to the YOG to support the young participants, answer their questions, give them advice and share their experiences. They also take part in the “Learn and Share” activities.
      • Young Reporters: They are aged between 18 and 24 and have either started or just finished journalism studies. They are selected by their National Olympic Committee (NOC), then by the continental associations of NOCs. For them, the YOG provide a unique opportunity to receive theoretical and practical training with professionals in the areas of the written and photographic press, radio, television and new media.
      • Ambassadors: They are elite athletes. Their role is to promote the YOG throughout the world during the YOG preparation phase. They are also present during the Games. Click here to discover the names of the ambassadors of the previous editions of the YOG.

      Learn more:

  • What do the Lausanne Winter YOG medals look like?
    • Zakea Page from New Zealand designed the obverse (front) of the medals. Aged 20, he won the international medal design competition held by the IOC.

      Page’s design was chosen from among 300 entries from 60 nations by a jury composed of Young Change-Makers, Young Reporters, IOC Member Danka Bartekova, Lausanne 2020 President Virginie Faivre and ERACOM Dean Viviane Morey.

      His design, entitled “Beauty in Diversity”, was inspired by Maya Angelou’s quote, “In diversity there is beauty”. The spiral represents a culture of respect, friendship and excellence as young athletes gather at the Youth Olympic Games to celebrate their success. The spiral also celebrates the journey of hard work and dedication made by each individual athlete. 

      The reverse of the medal is designed by the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee.

      Learn more:

  • What were the Lausanne 2020 Winter YOG competition venues?
    • Lausanne was the heart of the Youth Olympic Games, with the Olympic Village, the medal ceremonies, ice hockey, short-track speed skating and figure skating. The other ice sport, curling, were contested in Champéry.

      Alpine skiing, ski mountaineering, freestyle skiing and snowboarding were in the Vaud Alps, at Les Diablerets, Leysin and Villars-sur-Ollon.

      The Nordic skiing events were in the Vallée de Joux (cross country skiing) and across the border in France, at Les Tuffes (ski jumping, biathlon and Nordic combined).

      The bobsleigh, skeleton, luge and speed skating events were in St Moritz.

      Learn more:

  • Who were the “Ambassadors” for the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020?
    • There were 14 athletes appointed as ambassadors for the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020: Sarah Atcho, Timea Bacsinszky, Pat Burgener, Charlotte Chable, Jason Lamy Chappuis, Peter de Cruz, Théo Gmür, Mathilde Gremaud, Cristobal Huet, Augustin Maillefer, Sarah Meier, Killian Peier, Laetitia Roux and Fanny Smith.

      They helped mobilise and inspire young people, encouraging them to get active and practise a sports activity.

      Learn more:

  • Who were the “Young Reporters” at the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020?
    • Sixteen young reporters, eight women and eight men from different countries, were chosen for the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020. They were selected from among the 35 young reporters who took part in the sports journalism training programme organised during the 2018 YOG in Buenos Aires. The journalists continued their training under the direction and advice of Olympic media professionals. The Young Reporters started their mission together at the Main Press Centre in Lausanne, before splitting into three smaller teams of journalists at one of the main competition zones, namely Lausanne/Jura, the Alps and St Moritz.

      Learn more:


If you have not found the answer to your question in our Frequently Asked Questions you may contact us directly by visiting the page linked below. Please be as explicit as possible in order to help us deliver a relevant answer.

Olympic documents

Visit the documents repository to find a list of all documents published on this website. This section contains the major reports, studies, publications and information regarding the Olympic Movement.
View documents

Olympic studies

The IOC Olympic Studies Centre is the world source of reference for Olympic knowledge. As an integral part of the IOC, we are uniquely placed to provide the most accurate, relevant and up-to-date information on Olympism.
Learn more