IOC Launches Youth Olympic Games

By Ryley Bane of Label Networks

On July 6th, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that they will have a Youth Olympic Summer Games in 2010 and a Youth Olympic Winter Games in 2012. However the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) and their goals are rather confusing. First off, the YOG is intended for 14-18-year-olds. When you consider that most gymnasts, for example, in the Olympics are within this age range, does this mean that they’re now going to be a part of the YOG? No—the YOG is for “youth-driven disciplines that are not a part of the Olympic Games,” according to their recent announcement. But if you consider that youth-driven disciplines such as skateboarding often includes top skaters who are older than 18, not to mention other “youth sports” such as surfing and BMX which also average over 18, it’s questionable just how popular the YOG disciplines could be if the top athletes aren’t in them, not to mention what sports may qualify.

According to the IOC, the concept of the YOG is to spread Olympic “values” along with the launch of a younger, hipper website, and promote the benefits of sport among young people. To do this, the IOC is accepting proposals from Sports Federations for youth-driven disciplines to be included in the YOG. Unfortunately, as noted when snowboarding was to become an Olympic sport, and now with skateboarding being umbrella-ed under the Cycling Federation, many popular youth-oriented sports don’t have a “Sports Federation” that’s “recognized” by the IOC. The bidding process for youth-discipline sports opened this month and will be determined by an Evaluation Committee between November and December of this year. By the end of February 2008, the IOC will decide on the final sports and host city for the Summer Youth Olympic Games.

The new generation of potential Olympic watchers are currently watching events that they like such as what’s found in the X Games, or checking out festivals and tours like Air & Style in Europe, the Zumiez Couch Tour in North America, and a plethora of new sports events by various brands around the world. Is it likely that the YOG by 2010 will include skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, BMX, freestyle rolling, martial arts, Motocross, urban freestyle parkour, speed climbing, krumping?