(ATR) Six months from now, the Opening Ceremony for the third edition of the Summer Youth Olympics could set a record for the world’s biggest street party.
9 de Julio Avenue and the Obelisk in Buenos Aires (Wikimedia Commons)
Breaking tradition, the athletes ages 14 to 18 will be introduced to the city in the middle of the world’s widest street - 9 de Julio Avenue, instead of an enclosed stadium. If everything goes according to plan, half a million spectators will gather at the foot of the Obelisk, the monument marking the city’s founding.
Four sports will make their first Youth Olympics appearance – dancesport, sport climbing, karate and roller sports. There will be more than 240 events in total.
The modern sports program will be held throughout four major venue clusters: the Youth Olympic Park, the Urban Park in Puerto Madero, the Green Park in the Forests of Palermo, and Technopolis Park.
Officials describe the upcoming Buenos Aires YOG as the most important event ever for the country – and it’s up against a formidable list. Previous successful events include the 1978 FIFA World Cup, the first Pan American Games in 1951, and the 12th Pan American Games in 1995.
One reason the YOG is so important is the strong emphasis on gender equality. Of the nearly 4,000 athletes, there will be an equal number of men and women, a first in Olympic history. In fact, 22 of the 32 disciplines will be mixed, or with teams composed of men and women.
Buenos Aires YOG ambassador Luis Scola at Athletes Village (BA 2018)
An estimated one million young Argentineans will have participated in a four-year educational program promoting Olympic values by the time the cauldron is lit this October. Demonstrating the importance education and culture will play in the YOG, organizers launched the school program “One World, Many Worlds” last month to give students the chance to learn about the other 206 National Olympic Committees around the globe.
The Youth Olympic Village will house athletes from around the globe. Its 31 buildings were renovated by an architect who was also an Olympian. Stanislaus Kocuorek ran the 110 meter hurdles at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.
The village’s apartments will go on sale immediately after the Games end on Oct. 18. Demand for the 1,050 units are so high that the Housing Institute’s registration website collapsed the day it opened.
The Youth Olympic Torch will arrive in Argentina in just a few months as it begins its quest towards the capital city. The Olympic Torch will travel more than 10,000 kilometers in its passage through 16 cities and five regions, in addition to iconic sites of the local geography beginning in August.
Before the YOG begins on Oct. 6, Buenos Aires will host its second IOC Session in five years. The 133rd Session will be held just before the Youth Olympics; the 125th Session was held in 2013.
This story is part of Around the Rings' first special edition magazine of the year, and our preview of events in South America, Asia and Europe.
Click here to read the full magazine on ATR's website.
Homepage photo: BA 2018
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