100 Days to Youth Olympic Games
8 May 2014
NANJING: A team of 90 aspiring young athletes are expected to wear the green and gold in 100 days time when the second summer Youth Olympic Games start in Nanjing, China.
Known as Madame Butterfly during her gold medal winning days, multiple Olympic medallist Susie O’Neill is now Chef de Mission of the 2014 Australian Youth Olympic Team (AYOT).
Supporting her in an athlete mentoring role is Olympic silver medallist and Youth Games gold medallist Jessica Fox. The recent canoe/kayak Junior World Champion has been appointed as the Team’s Young Ambassador.
O’Neill and Fox were recently in Nanjing for a Chefs Seminar and had high praise for the Organising Committee.
“It seems a really well organised Games,” O’Neill said. “All the logistics are in place and much attention has been paid to the detail.”
“The venues are amazing. The athletics stadium is like an Olympic stadium seating 60,000, while the swimming venue is slightly more intimate.”
“The precincts for Beach Volleyball, BMX and Hockey are located in one area, which is more like a pretty park.”
In addition, Australia has qualified spots in the sports of Athletics, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Canoe/Kayak, Equestrian Jumping, Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Shooting, Triathlon and Wrestling and the team will also include athletes in the new Olympic sports of golf and rugby sevens.
“It is really exiting to have rugby sevens in the Olympics,” O’Neill said. “It is good for Oceania and Australia.”
“It will be great to take a rugby sevens team to Youth Olympics so to experience the sport at that level. Who knows whether some of these players will compete in Rio.”
Selection announcements will continue over the coming weeks before the final team is announced in mid June.
The 2014 AYOT will convene at the ‘Champ Camp’ in Sydney on 12 August prior to departing to Nanjing. At the camp the athletes will receive their green and gold uniform as well as participate in series of sport education workshops.
The Youth Games have fast become an important stepping stone [story link ] for aspiring athletes aiming to compete at the Olympic Games. Three athletes from both the 2010 and 2012 Australian Youth Olympic Team went on to compete at the London and Sochi Games respectively.
In addition, more than 20 athletes from the 2010 AYOT continue to represent Australia at an international level and most recently seven athletes have been selected to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“The Youth Olympics are a multi sport, multi country event,” O’Neill said.
“Competing at the Youth Olympics is very different to competing at a World Championship. You are part of a team situation and there is a myriad of different types of people.”
To follow, support and find out more information about the AYOT, a dedicated team website was launched today at olympics.com.au. For the latest social media news, follow AUSOlympicTeam on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Goole+.