CURTAIN COMES DOWN ON A RECORD-BREAKING YOUTH OLYMPIC, BUENOS AIRES 2018
THE YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES BUENOS AIRES 2018 CAME TO AN END ON THURSDAY 18 OCTOBER, WITH THE YOUTH OLYMPIC VILLAGE PROVIDING THE SETTING FOR AN INTIMATE CLOSING CEREMONY FULL OF COLOUR AND SPECTACLE.
Addressing the athletes assembled in front of the stage, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said: “And now I have a sad duty to fulfil, because now I have to say a sentence which we may not like. But it’s time for me to say that I declare closed the third Youth Olympic Games, Buenos Aires 2018. Muchas gracias Argentina. Nos vemos en Senegal!”
And with that, the Youth Olympic flame was extinguished in the cauldron in the Youth Olympic Park, an image relayed to the athletes on a big screen.
The third Summer Youth Olympic Games proved to be a record breaker, as a grand total of 1,001,496 spectators attended the 12-day celebration of sport, from the Opening Ceremony at the Argentinian capital’s famous Obelisk through to the last of the events. It was a figure that exceeded the attendance at both Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014.
“It was a fantastic Youth Olympic Games,” said Bach, addressing the athletes. “For me the best thing was to follow you, to watch you in all your competitions. And I would like to say thank you, dear athletes, for your great performances, for your fair play, for your Olympic spirit. You were really the best.”
Taking his turn to speak, Local Organising Committee President Gerardo Werthein said: “I would like to congratulate all the athletes. Our volunteers did a fantastic job too.”
Flagbearers from the 206 national delegations paraded as part of the farewell celebrations, while the contribution of the more than 10,000 volunteers was also recognised. Gisella Bonomi and Richard Kierkegaard, two members of the 142-strong Argentina team, also read a pledge on behalf of all the athletes.
The highpoint of the ceremony came with the handover from Buenos Aires to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, which will host the next Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2022. The moment was symbolised by Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, the mayor of Buenos Aires, handing the Olympic flag to Bach, who in turn passed it on Soham El Wardini, the mayor of Dakar.
Fireworks filled the night sky above Buenos Aires as the ceremony came to an end, bringing a colourful and spectacular conclusion to what has been a truly colourful and spectacular Youth Olympic Games.
A fitting finale
The incredible performances of the 4,000 athletes over the past 12 days of competition – as well as the similarly impressive efforts of the 8,000 volunteers – were celebrated in a spectacular Closing Ceremony at the Youth Olympic Village as the curtain came down on Buenos Aires 2018.
After some artistic performances, a YOG highlights reel video and the traditional parade of National Olympic Committees, the flag was passed to Dakar, the host of the next YOG in 2022. The symbolic extinguishing of the Olympic flame was then followed by a fireworks display and finally an audio-visual extravaganza, as ‘Game Changers’ from more than 200 countries celebrated the final night of their once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Performance of the day
Cheered on by her Norwegian team-mates and with her mother also in attendance, Annika Saelid won the women’s kumite +59kg title after a brilliant display against her formidable Japanese opponent, Sakura Sawashima, at Europa Pavilion. But the person to whom she dedicated her gold medal was sadly missing from her support team in Buenos Aires.
“My brother was diagnosed with cancer before I got here, so he couldn’t make it,” she said afterwards. “He does karate as well, so this is for him and me, together. It means a lot.”
Off the shelf
The final day of competition provided fans with a last chance to stock up on Buenos Aires 2018 merchandise, with queues swelling around the stores that remained open in the Tecnopolis and Youth Olympic Parks. The cuddly toys had sold out long ago, but there were still plenty of limited edition goods to purchase at discount prices, including pins, mugs, stationery, beach towels and a variety of clothing accessories. #Pandi socks, anyone?
Capturing YOG moments
The first IOC Young Photographers programme came to a close today, with Chloe Knott, Alexander D’Addese, Abbie Parr, Shoi Uda and Nyein Su Wai Kyaw Soe all receiving debriefs after a fortnight that has seen them cover a diverse range of Olympic sports across the four parks. They have also had the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business, and according to one of the mentors Joel Marklund, who is Chief Photographer for Swedish photo agency Bildbyrån, the standard was high.
Quote of the day
‘“It’s amazing to be the last athlete to win a gold medal. To get in the ring with the crowd and that atmosphere… I enjoyed every second of it.”
British boxer Caroline Dubois relished winning the women’s lightweight gold medal bout, which was the final piece of sporting action of the YOG.