Coordination Commission Chair and IOC Member Hong Zhang said: “The engagement and mobilisation of local youth is a top priority. They have the power to transform our society and give us opportunities to create a better future through sport and youth”.
Local youth engagement and activities
The YOGOC presented a detailed programme and operations plan for the LYA programme to encourage youth participation. Gangwon 2024 will offer a mix of digital (online) and physical (offline) activities before, during and after the YOG. These activities are now being developed in close collaboration with the government, the region, educational, sports and youth institutions, culture and arts institutions and private organisations. Their role is to encourage, mobilise and incite youth engagement. Activities include youth sports boom festivals in each host city, sports and art exhibitions, promotional and educational activities, and virtual sports experiences. Virtual participation will be encouraged through a variety of different opportunities.
The Organising Committee has been running several nationwide public contests for young people to create different elements of the brand, such as the mascot, and the song – the result of which is expected later this year.
As part of the local youth engagement programme, the YOGOC plans to participate in the Korea Youth Expo, which will take place at the end of May as it did in 2021. On this occasion, it will develop a new space in the Metaverse that it created last year, which features a virtual copy of the Youth Olympic venues and surrounding facilities.
Chang-jae Shin, President of the YOGOC, said: “Through this meeting, we confirmed that significant progress has been made in all areas of preparation for the Games and it gave us an opportunity to be assured of the possibility to host successful Games.”
He added that “Young people are at the heart of the event and these Games should be made by young people. From the planning stage, including the development of the vision, to the creation of the brand identity, they have been involved in every step of the creation of these Games. We will closely work with the IOC and related organizations to further expand opportunities for youth engagement in the future.”
Athletes’ education at Games time
The education programme for athletes is one of the crucial pillars of the YOG.
Through Athlete365, the IOC will engage with athletes and deliver an education programme on relevant key themes for the young athletes. The various activities will cover important topics such as mental health, injury prevention, safe sport, anti-doping and prevention of competition manipulation. Digital and gamified activities as well as events delivered by experts will enhance the experience. A specific and dedicated education programme will also be delivered for the athletes’ entourage members.
The education programme will be delivered mainly in the two Youth Olympic Villages: one in Gangneung and the other in Jeongseon.
Legacy and long-term transformation
Gangwon 2024 also presented a progress update on the transformation action plan. It consists of a series of actions delivered to build upon the legacy of PyeongChang 2018 and bring about long-term and positive changes for the youth, sport, local communities, Korea and the world.
The first ambition is youth transformation. Winter youth camps have been organised to promote winter sports and a healthy, active lifestyle, with a focus on children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Soohorang & Bandabi Winter Sports Camp will invite 10,000 young Korean students annually to the cities of PyeongChang and Gangneung. It offers educational sessions on “peace through sport” and the Olympic values, as well as sporting experiences, and promotes the Winter YOG.
The transformation of sport is the second ambition. The YOGOC will develop educational materials to strengthen gender equality and athlete safeguarding in sport at local level. Another example is the “Dream Programme”, which offers winter sports training opportunities and support for young people from countries where there is no access to winter sports.
The Organising Committee’s third ambition is to support local and regional development by positioning Gangwon Province as a prime winter sports destination in Asia, thereby bringing socio-economic benefits to the region. Gangwon 2024 will also contribute to the promotion of human rights protection and cultural respect, not only at the Games, but also in society, through the dissemination of educational materials across the educational institutions in the region. In addition, Gangwon 2024 will engage the local youth to participate in cultural and artistic initiatives to contribute to their skills development and the promotion of Korean culture and art.
The fourth ambition is the transformation for peace. The YOGOC wants to create opportunities to continue spreading the message of peace. The PyeongChang Peace Forum included a session for young people to speak about world peace and become messengers of peaceful coexistence and harmony. In addition, a museum exhibition is being created to communicate the values of sport and Olympism before, during and after Gangwon 2024.
Gangwon (KOR) was elected as the host of the 4thWinter YOG 2024, at the 135thIOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 10 January 2020. A total of 81 events are scheduled from 19 January to 1 February 2024. They will be held in four locations across the Gangwon region: Gangneung, PyeongChang, Jeongseon High 1 and Hoengseong. 1,900 athletes, with full gender equality will participate in the event.
The Youth Olympic Games were established by the IOC as a high-level multi-sports event. They are a unique combination of athletic performance, a purpose-driven sports festival and an incubator for innovation which bring young elite athletes aged from 15 to 18 together to develop their sports skills, live out the Olympic values and share their experience with other young athletes from around the world. The 1stWinter Youth Olympic Games were hosted by Innsbruck in 2012, and they have been held every four years since then.