The Youth Olympic Games bring together athletes from 203 nations to compete, take ‘selfies’ and share in the Olympic culture
August 16, 2014: Thirty-four young Colombians take their places behind the Colombian flag for the Opening Ceremony of the second Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.
The ceremony begins with fireworks and flag bearers, starting, as is traditional, with Greece and finishing with the host nation, China.
Colombia’s flag bearer is Joshuan Javier Berrios Mora, a 17-year-old hurdler, from Turbo, Antioquia, who won a gold medal in this year’s South American Youth Olympic Games.
The show, performed predominantly by Chinese university students, continues with all the flair we’ve come to expect from grand events in China. With a flurry of light shows, a spectacular air ballet culminating in a human pyramid and a giant fleet of boats illustrating the history of Nanjing and China, the show finished with a dramatic lighting of the cauldron which will burn throughout the 13 days of the competition.
Following Colombia’s success in the first edition of the Youth Olympic Games, which took place in Singapore in 2010, and combined with what has so far been perhaps the most successful year for Colombian sport, there are high hopes for the country’s young athletes.
Addressing the Colombian delegation from Casa Nariño before they left, President Santos said: “For me, you are already winners, now you will become bigger winners still. Remember that the whole country is supporting you, cheering for you and encouraging you, and hopefully you will come back laden with medals. Medals which will help promote sports in this country, which will allow us to better ourselves, and continue growing into a great sporting nation. When Colombians think big, when we want to win, we win, and you are going to win, in fact you are already winners.”
Of the 34 athletes making up the delegation, 17 are male and 17 are female. The youngest athlete to represent Colombia is 15-year-old Laura Valentina Pardo Garzón. While Colombia is unlikely to set the world alight at these games, there are a number of medal hopefuls competing in cycling, weightlifting, boxing and taekwondo.
What are the Youth Olympic Games?
The Youth Olympic Games were created by the International Olympic Committee as a way to tackle global concerns around issues such as childhood obesity and dwindling sports participation by young people.
Like the Olympic Games, they take place every four years, but unlike the Olympic Games, there is a much heavier focus on culture and education, and, while winning is important, the taking part is what it’s all about.
Didn’t Colombia bid for them?
Yes. Medellin put in a strong bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, but was beaten by Buenos Aires.
Do they compete in the same sports as the real Olympic Games?
Yes and no. It’s the same sports (i.e., aquatics, cycling, taekwondo etc.), but a number of the events are modified or excluded to make the programme more relevant to young people – for example, basketball uses the 3vs3 format.
Can I watch it here in Colombia?
Although the time difference will mean some late nights or early mornings if you want to see everything live, ESPN will be showing the events as they happen. Citytv will also be showing highlights throughout the day, while Señal Colombia will have a summary of the day at 10:00pm every night.
Athletics: August 20 – 26
Astrid Carolina Balanta Colorado, aged 17 – 400 meter
Mayra Alexandra Gaviria Maldonado, aged 17 – Hammerthrow
Giseth Montaño Saenz, aged 17 – Pole vault
Dayanna Liseth Ramos Milanés, aged 16 – 100 meter hurdles
Nhayilla Rentería Cuesta, aged 16 – Triple jump
Evelyn Rivera Banquett, aged 16 – 100 meter
Margie Andrea Rivera Maldonado, aged 17 – 1500 meter
Sergio Adrian Becerra Sepúlveda, aged 17 – 100 meter
Joshuan Javier Berrios Mora, aged 17 – 110 meter hurdles
Luis Yesid Ibargüen Benitez, aged 17 – Javelin
Harold Estiven Maturana Maturana, aged 17 – 400 meter
Cycling: August 17 – 24
Andrea Escobar Yepes, aged 17 – Cross-country
Leidy Johana Mera Cadena, aged 18 – Cross-country
Brandon Smith Rivera Vargas, aged 18 – Cross-country
John Anderson Rodríguez Salazar, aged 17 – Cross-country
Gymnastics: August 17 – 24
Laura Valentina Pardo Garzón, aged 15 – Artistic Gymnastics
Andrés Felipe Martínez Moreno, aged 17 – Artistic Gymnastics
Judo: August 17 – 21
Brigitte Ximena Carabali Carabali, aged 17 – -63 kg
Marco Antonio Montoya Montenegro, aged 18 – -81 kg
Weightlifting: August 17 – 22
Yeinny Norela Geles Moreno, aged 16 – +63 kg
Andrés Mauricio Caicedo Piedrahita, aged 17 – +69kg
Wrestling: August 25 – 27
Sandy Yalixa Parra Parra, aged 15 – Freestyle 60 kg
Carlos Arturo Izquierdo Méndez, aged 16 – Freestyle 76 kg
Oscar Eduardo Tigreros Urbano, aged 17 – Freestyle 46 kg
Swimming: August 17 – 22
Jonathan David Gómez Noriega, aged 18 – 200 meter butterfly
Diving: August 23 – 27
Sara Carolina Pérez Beltrán, aged 17 – 3 meter springboard/10 meter platform
Kevin Giovany García Álvarez, aged 15 – 3 meter springboard/10 meter platform
Taekwondo: August 17 – 21
Debbie Natalia Yopasa Gómez, aged 17 – +63 kg
Jeisson Andrés Serrano Hoyos, aged 17 – +73kg
Tennis: August 17 – 24
María Fernanda Herazo González, aged 17 – Singles
Luis Hernán Valero Zamorano, aged 18 – Singles
Shooting: August 17 – 22
Juan Sebastián Rivera Ruiz, aged 17 – 10m air pistol
Triathlon: August 17 – 21
María Carolina Velásquez Soto, aged 17 – Final race
Eduardo Londoño Naranjo, aged 16 – Final race