Probably not too many people are aware, but we are into the 10th day of Olympic play right now: the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. These are the first ever Youth Olympic Games, with athletes ranging from 14 to 18 years old. These games are 12 days long and have 3,600 athletes competing. Although you may not have even known they were going on, they actually are a huge event with 205 National Olympic Committees, 1,200 media representatives, 20,000 local and international volunteers and over 370,000 spectators. These are Summer Games and consist of 26 different summer sports, being competed in 18 different venues.
The mascots for these games are Merly; a merlion (an imaginary creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish) and Lyo; a lion. Merly's dream is to become an environmental scientist, and Lyo's favourite saying is "Never say never".
The Youth Olympic Games even have their own Olympic Flame:
A simple flame passed hand to hand
Not by the fastest or the strongest,
But by people whose greatest gift is what they give of themselves
Because, it’s not just what you do for the record books,
It's what you do for others.
It's a real shame that these don't get the publicity that the regular Olympic Games receive, because at the end of the day it's all the same. These athletes work just as hard as the older ones, and their competition is just as intense. The Olympic Committee and volunteers work just as hard and people could be having just as much fun. Really the Olympic Games are about athletes working hard for something they love, it's about education, it's about countries coming together and about people celebrating; the Youth Olympic Games have all that and more.
The pattern seems to look like the Youth Olympic Games are hosted on the same year as the regular Olympic Games, but the opposite season. The next Youth Olympic Games are set to take place in January 2012, in Innsbruck, Austria- these will be the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games.
If you're as interested as I am, you can visit this website to learn more: http://www.singapore2010.sg/public/sg2010/en.html