Youth engagement and innovation at the heart of Buenos Aires 2018 preparations

Wrapping up the second visit of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission to the Argentinian city of Buenos Aires, host of the 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2018, the IOC delegation concluded the two-day meeting today enthused by extensive plans to engage young people and innovate at every stage in the preparations.  

Following the IOC Executive Board’s approval last month of the sports programme, which sees all team sports adopting a youth-focused discipline and the addition of new appealing events such as BMX freestyle, beach handball, kiteboarding and cross country running, the local organisers (BAYOGOC) have ensured that all elements of their Games Foundation Plan have the necessary youth appeal. 

Further work has been done to develop the “cluster concept”, which will see four dedicated areas of the city integrating the sports competitions with sport initiations, sport showcasing, music, culture and Olympic education for local youth and families to enjoy a full experience in addition to the elite youth competitions within the same location. 

A detailed outline of the Learn & Share programme was presented – it will target not only the attending athletes, but also schools nationwide through Olympic educational programmes supported by a strong digital offering and numerous city sports and cultural events featuring high-profile guests.   

With the support of all levels of government and the Argentinian National Olympic Committee (AOC), the Organising Committee has, in this year alone, reached over 850,000 spectators and close to 100,000 young participants in 163 sporting, cultural and educational activities across the city. The IOC Coordination Commission was particularly impressed with the effects of this extensive engagement activity; with three years to go to the Games, a recent city survey has shown public support rocketing to 82.3 per cent in favour of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. 

To support the 40-strong organising team, a Youth Commission is now functioning as an advisory board to ensure the project is catering for young tastes and trends, while key emphasis has been placed on innovating in the areas of social and digital media in order to reach the 2.6 million young people in the city and wider national and global youth audiences.

Legacy plans, put at the heart of the project from the outset to ensure the event is not only a 12-day event, but a catalyst for change for urban and social development, have been further developed with the AOC to ensure youth sports participation is boosted as part of a nationwide programme to target and identify young talent and bring sport to young people.  

IOC Coordination Commission Chair Frank Fredericks said: “We are bowled over by the energy, passion and creativity of this team. They want to make the Youth Olympic Games 100 per cent unique and attractive to young people, and, with over three years to go, they have already captured the imagination of the people of Buenos Aires.”  He continued: “We are impressed with the extent to which BAYOGOC has embraced Agenda 2020 and is already implementing 13 of the recommendations in its preparations. We look forward to our next visit when the team will be into the planning phase and we start to see this vision become the reality.” 

On Friday, the Coordination Commission visited the construction site of the Youth Olympic Village in the south part of the city, the area of Buenos Aires targeted by the local government as in need of urban development and where 65 per cent of the nearly 4.000 athletes will be able to walk to their competition venues. Young architects have been appointed in the design process and construction has recently commenced. 

Strong relationships have been developed early in the process with the TOP Partners, whose regional offices in Buenos Aires have allowed for support of several local events, such as Olympic Day and sports initiation projects, while cooperation is already underway with all 28 International Federations to further develop the venue master plan and Learn & Share projects.


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