First Youth Olympic Games Ends
After 12 days of hard-fought competition, the first ever Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore concluded on Thursday with another spectacular ceremony at Marina Bay.
So much happened in those 12 days! The athletes were spectacular of course, and their stories and achievements will live on forever. But as I step away from the Games and make my way to the airport, what strikes me the most is what went on behind the scenes: all the details, big and small, that made it all possible.
“I did not expect this level of perfection,” said Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee. “Hats off to Singapore for what they’ve done. I now have 22 Olympic Games under my belt and the YOG is ranking at the very top.”
I've walked a lot in the city and I don't think I saw a single street without a banner or billboard advertising the Games. For 12 days, the official buses of the Youth Olympic Games roamed the city. The mascots—Lyo and Merly—have become celebrities. The spirit of the Youth Olympic Games was everywhere!
One point of controversy was that most venues were sold-out long before the finals, and not enough tickets had been set aside for anyone—especially Singapore residents—wishing to attend at the last minute. That should be addressed in future Games, but there are worse problems than to have too much success.
In the end, 370,000 spectators attended the Games.
"We have made Singapore proud," declared Ng Ser Miang, Chairman of the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee, during the Closing Ceremony.
He, too, recognized that the Games would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the more than 20,000 volunteers.
"What can I say to you?" he told volunteers. "From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your passion and your total devotion. This is a dream come true for many of us. So dear friends, wherever you are, please stand up, take a bow and be recognized."
And the crowd recognized them! They gave the volunteers a well-deserved standing ovation.
This is my last post from Singapore, and it's been an amazing experience. Being a Kid Reporter and seeing kids barely older than me achieve so much—wow! That was truly inspiring.
I loved it all—even you guys at the Media Accreditation office! Thank you for the opportunity!
PHOTO: Young athletes enjoy a party on stage during the closing ceremony of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, August 26, 2010. (Photo Courtesy ©2010 Youth Olympic Games)