The 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games got under way on 16 August 2014 in Nanjing, China with a pulsating Opening Ceremony that quickly spread around the world thanks to thousands of selfies taken by athletes and spectators at the request of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
“Dear young athletes, these are your Games. This is your moment. So, young athletes, please join me: Let us all capture it – so get your smart phones out and let’s set a record for selfies,” President Bach said. Everyone in attendance was then asked to post their selfies to #YOGselfie.
“By sending this selfie … you are sending a strong message around the world,” President Bach continued. “You are showing your passion for sport and for fair competition. You are demonstrating that Olympic sport reaches beyond competition. It is also about sharing, learning and making friends across our globe.”
The vision of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and adopt and live by the Olympic values. During the Games, 3,800 athletes aged 14 to 18 competed in 28 sporting events while taking part in a series of cultural and educational activities off the field.
Australia at these Games
Australia sent a team of 89 athletes to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games - a maximum of 70 individual athletes and two (2) team sports, women’s Rugby Sevens and men’s Hockey5s.
The Team was led by multiple Olympic medallist Susie O’Neill as Chef de Mission. Olympic silver medallist and Singapore Gold Medallist Jessica Fox supported her as the Young Ambassador.
Olympic gold medallist Emma Snowsill (Triathlon) and Olympic bronze medallist Patrick Murphy (Swimming) were selected by their International Federation to attend the YOG as Athlete Role Models.
It was a golden start and a golden end for the Australian Youth Olympic Team in 2014. Brittany Dutton won the first gold medal of the YOG in the women’s individual triathlon, while on the final evening of competition, the men’s Hockey5s team also won the gold medal. Read more >>>
The green and gold won a total of 26 medals: 5 gold, 4 silver and 17 bronze of which five medals were won by Aussies competing in mixed nations events.
The future for swimming appeared positive with these athletes bringing home 10 medals for Australia – one silver and nine bronze. Brianna Throssell won a total of seven bronze medals, including one for the mixed medley heat swim.
Also heavily contributing to the medal tally was the track and field section, bringing home nine medals for Australia, of which two were gold (Jessica Thornton, Women's 400m, Trae Williams, 8x100m Mixed International Relay), three silver (Alex Hulley, Women's Hammer Throw, Tay-Leiha Clark, Triple jump, Rachel Pace, 8x100m Mixed International Relay) and four bronze (Sam Geddes, Women's 100m Sprint, Trae Williams, Men's 100m Sprint, Shemaiah James, Men’s High Jump, Sam Geddes, 8x100m Mixed International Relay)
Brittany Dutton secured a second triathlon medal when she teamed up with fellow Australian Jack Van Stekelenburg and Kiwis Daniel Hoy & Elizabeth Stannard in the Mixed Team Triathlon to finish third and take home the bronze medal.
Caitlin Parker, won the bronze medal in the women’s middleweight boxing event, in the first time the sport was contested by women at YOG. Jake Hunter, reiterated Australia’s strength in Equestrian, winning the bronze medal in the Jumping Event, while Naomi de Brunie, also won a bronze medal in the Judo Mixed Continental Team Competition.
Eighteen-year-old pole Rugby Sevens star, Tiana Penitani, was chosen as the Australian Flag Bearer for the Games Opening Ceremony, while Jessica Thornton, was given the honour as Flag Bearer in the Closing Ceremony.
The YOG facilitates a step into athletes’ performance pathway to the Australian Olympic Team.
The Games have fast become an important stepping stone 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.
More than 20 athletes from the 2010 AYOT represented Australia at an international level and most recently seven athletes were selected to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.