Youth excitement builds as the games approach

The hours are quickly winding down on Vancouver's Olympics countdown clock and as anticipation for the arrival of the Games begins to peak, it is excitement that has already arrived.

People in Vancouver are celebrating the Games on the streets and the city's youth claim to have never seen anything like this in their city before.

“This is something that happens in your own city once in a lifetime” said 18-year-old Vancouver native Tiffany Chan. “I’m personally really proud to be from and in Vancouver for the Games.”

Olympic inspired art and replica Olympic sporting equipment adorn the streets of Vancouver for visitors are residents to view as they stroll in the downtown core.

“It’s really cool,” exclaimed 10-year-old Talia Wright after she took a picture of Vancouver's countdown clock.

The Olympic countdown clock, hand made local art, life-sized athlete cut-outs and a replica bobsled are some of the Olympic related celebratory items that can be found around town.

Nineteen year old former competitive figure skater Olena Strutynska says she plans on celebrating the Vancouver Olympics by taking part in the free festivities and free concert being put on and plans on attending a hockey game and volunteering at the Ukrainian pavilion.

“Sport is important because it helps to build confidence,” said Strutynska who is now a skating instructor who teaches adults, children and teenagers. “Team sport teaches important life skills like teamwork and individual sports give a person a chance to shine.”

For YOG athletes looking for their moment to shine during the upcoming Games in Singapore this August Strutynska advises to not solely focus on competing. “It's not just about winning. It's about making it a memorable experience.”

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says the Youth Olympic Games will bring youth together in the spirit of competition but also in the spirit of friendship. “[Sports] are a fantastic part of growing up and should be a part of every kid’s life.”

By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG Reporter

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