10 years on: athletes’ favourite memories of Singapore 2010

As we mark the 10-year anniversary of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, some of the athletes who competed at Singapore 2010 recall their favourite memories of the YOG.

Singapore 2010
Rose Keddell

New Zealand, hockey

“It's so funny to look back, and I still can’t believe I actually made the team, but I actually look back with such fond memories of that experience. It was such a fantastic event and we won bronze there, which was really exciting. I remember when we won, we all came together into a huddle and were all crying; just so excited.”

YOG Singapore Getty Images
Judith Sievers

Germany, rowing

“I was able to meet athletes from all over the world. It was really interesting living in the Village because you learn so much about different sports and different countries and cultures.”

Stephanie Lovell

Saint Lucia, sailing

“When I got there, it was a different life. There were so many athletes and it was so big. Coming from such a tiny island going to something so big really opened my eyes. I loved it so much I was like, ‘I can't stop here, I really want to go to the Olympics and put my country on the map’.”

Getty Images

Yuka Sato

Japan, triathlon

“Winning the first-ever gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games, and seeing everyone celebrating my achievement, was a great experience for me.”

Jacko Gill

New Zealand, athletics

“There was a real camaraderie among the athletes there and it was good fun. I loved it. The whole experience just left me wanting more, so that was the start of the passion, I guess. It meant a lot to go overseas and be around other athletes who were like-minded and wanted to succeed. It was inspiring and definitely helped me make it to the Olympic Games. My favourite memory was definitely receiving the haka from the rest of the New Zealand team. Whenever someone won a medal, the team would welcome them back into the Village with the haka. That was very special; definitely one of the highlights of my trip and a nice way of celebrating.”

Qiu Bo

China, diving

“It was my first big international multisport event. It was different from the FINA World Championships and World Cup. It was my first big victory in my career. It's unforgettable. I was very happy and excited as I won both springboard and platform gold medals in Singapore. It was the only competition with more friendship, communication and learning from each other. It was like a festival or carnival.”

YOG Singapore Getty Images
Jess Fox

Australia, canoe-kayak

“Singapore 2010 was such a new experience. It was obviously the first YOG and no one really knew what it would be like. When we got there, it was incredible. The Athletes’ Village was enormous and the whole organisation was legit; it was a proper Olympic Games, pretty much. I loved the experience – it was new and we were learning as we went and taking it all in. I loved the World Culture Village, which had displays for all the different countries. You could go in there, learn a bit about their culture or their history and it was really interesting. I was 16 at the time and felt like I’d travelled quite a lot, but there were some countries that I’d never even heard of, let alone been to. It was also great to meet athletes from all these places as well and hear their stories about their way of living; it was a real eye-opener.”

Angelica Bengtsson

Sweden, athletics

“It was really inspiring seeing the Olympic rings in the stadium when we were competing.”

Emma McKeon

Australia, swimming

“That was my first international event, so I was pretty excited to go. I didn't really know what to expect at all because I'd never been to an event like that before. I was 15 when I went, and we were just running around the Village trying to do everything because it was all so new to us and we wanted to try everything and be involved in everything. It was really exciting. Our coaches kept telling us, ‘Don't try and do everything on the first day, you can spread it out, you don't want to waste all your energy!’”

Singapore 2010 Getty Images
Alexander Massialas

USA, fencing

“Singapore was a great because it got me accustomed to what the Olympic Games feels like and what the spirit of the event is. The competition aspect was very similar to our Cadet World Championships, but the social side of things – being in an Athletes’ Village for the first time, meeting people from different countries and sports – was an amazing experience and it got me ready for where I am now. Singapore really got me accustomed to what the Olympic Games feels like and the social side of things, meeting athletes from all over the world.”

YOG Singapore Getty Images
Kim Jang-mi

Republic of Korea, shooting

“I won the gold medal at the first Youth Olympic Games, which was also my first victory at an international shooting competition. That brought me huge pride and gave me a lot of confidence. But the most memorable thing was the volunteers. The Korean volunteers were really friendly and helpful to our shooters, but also the local volunteers in Singapore were great – they really got behind us and offered a lot of support. I believe the main objective of the YOG is to unite athletes from across the world. And it certainly did that – many of us became good friends in a very short time regardless of our nationality and culture. The atmosphere in the Athletes' Village was just like a party! There were lots of things to enjoy and ceremonies to attend. We had lots of fun playing games and chatting together. One moment that I remember very fondly from Singapore was when a young boy [Denys Kushnirov of Ukraine] won the gold medal in the pistol event. He just jumped up to the podium with a great smile on his face. I met him again in London in 2012.”

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