By Jeannette Xavier
Picture By Peh Siong San
It's over. After 12 days of great sporting action and a wealth of cultural and educational activities, the inaugural Youth Olympics officially closed last night (Thursday, August 26) with a vibrant ceremony at Marina Bay.
Well Deserved Praise
The host country, athletes and volunteers all earned well deserved praise for making the event a big success. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge paid tribute to the hosts, saying: "Congratulations Singapore for a job superbly done. You rose brilliantly to the challenge of combining elite sport, education and culture." He again took the opportunity to stress that the YOG was about nurturing not just winners but true champions who could make an impact beyond success in the sporting arena.
This goal of producing true champions rather than just medallists was reflected in many of the YOG's special initiatives. For instance, there were more than 50 Culture and Education Programme activities, including the highly popular Chat With Champions session featuring Olympic champions. To emphasise team work across countries and promote inter-cultural communication, sports like triathlon and archery featured teams which comprised athletes from different countries.
Global interest in the event was strong, with over 160 rights-holding broadcasters providing coverage and over 1,900 accredited international media present in Singapore. In addition, through Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, the YOG reached out to young audiences all over the world. For those present at Marina Bay, two wonderful weeks had come and gone by all too quickly. The only consolation was that the world will have the privilege of witnessing yet another YOG four years later in Nanjing.