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YOG declared 'flawless' at Closing Ceremony

29 August 2014

GAMES: The 2nd Youth Olympic Games have ended after a gala Closing Ceremony at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium.

Following a 12-day celebration of youth and sport, the Youth Olympic Flame was extinguished and the Games were declared closed by IOC president Thomas BACH (GER) - who had the highest praise for the conduct of the event.

"The organisation of these Games was perfectly flawless," he said.

"These Summer Youth Olympic Games were a resounding success thanks to our wonderful Chinese hosts. All of us, from every corner of the world, would like to thank the government and the people of China, Jiangsu and Nanjing."

The Olympic flag was lowered and handed over to a representative of the next host city, Buenos Aires.

Two thousand performers entertained the crowd of around 60,000 at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium under the theme of 'Youth in Full Bloom'.

Before the ceremony, Thomas BACH said that he hoped for many athletes the Youth Olympic Games had been just the first step in their Olympic journey.

“I’m sure that we have seen here quite a few athletes who we will see again maybe already in Rio de Janeiro 2016, and maybe even more in Tokyo 2020.

“They have now already experienced the Olympic environment. They have experienced what the Olympic spirit means. Therefore, I think they will train even harder to be successful in future."

The ceremony opened with a countdown and fireworks before a parade of flags of each of the 203 nations and regions present at the Games. A selected group of the thousands of volunteers who contributed so much to the event were thanked by a group of athletes representing the 3800 who competed.

Video montages of the sporting highlights of the Games and of the Opening Ceremony were shown on the stadium's video screens.

Seven giant platforms which spelled out 'Nanjing' became the stages for the performers who sang and dancer amid a spectacular lightshow on the stadium floor.

Eventually it was time for the Olympic Flag to be lowered in Nanjing. It will fly again over Buenos Aires in Argentina, which will hold the next summer Youth Olympic Games in 2018.

But the rest of the night was a celebration and a fond farewell. BACH officially declared the Games over and called on the youth of the world to gather again in four years.

Ceremony chief director CHEN Weiya (CHN) and his team created a ceremony that combined the traditional and the modern, a celebration of youth performed by the young people of Nanjing.

“Through the Youth Olympics our hearts have become younger,” CHEN said before the ceremony. “That for us is the biggest legacy of the Games.

“My dear young friends, please remember China, and Nanjing in particular, where you have fulfilled your dreams.”

The ceremony climaxed with a mass stage performance by a cast of dancers and singers, with the Game's colourful mascot LeLe floating above the stadium floor. Traditional songs, were followed by pop music and performances with the flavour of every continent.

As in the spectacular Opening Ceremony, acrobats and high wire daring again featured; the long silk ribbons in the colours of the Olympic rings rose from above the performers, drawing gasps from the audience.

As the Olympic flame died down, hundreds of performers flooded into the stadium for a grand finale.

It was a Ceremony mixed with pride in a memorable event and sadness that the party must come to an end. Although the Nanjing 2014 experience is over, there is always something to look forward to.

Ugandan runner Geofrey BALIMUMITI spoke for many: “It has been a great experience and what I learnt here will help me realise my dream of winning an Olympic gold medal in the future."

NYOGOC News dk

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