Going for Gold
The Nanjing Youth Olympic Games combine sporting events with cross-cultural education for young athletes
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UPDATED: August 25, 2014 NO. 35 AUGUST 28, 2014
A Celebration of Youth and Unity

The Second Youth Olympic Games are being held from August 16-28 in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province—a time-honored city and the ancient capital of six dynasties. Over 3,700 athletes from 204 countries and regions have descended on the city to participate in a grand occasion of sporting competitions and cultural exchanges, which, on a smaller scale, resembles in spirit the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee promised to deliver an experience adhering to the concepts of youth, sharing, cultural fusion and thrift.

As the highest-level global teenage sporting event, the Youth Olympic Games are held every four years with staggered winter and summer Games. Athletes from 14 to 18 years of age compete in events largely the same as those of the Olympic Games.

Compared with the Olympic Games, however, the Youth Olympics places greater emphasis on communication and friendship—forging a spirit of togetherness rather than competitiveness. It presents not only an arena for competition but also offers a stage upon which countries may exhibit their unique cultures.

President Xi Jinping said at the opening ceremony that the Youth Olympics has not only given athletes an opportunity to demonstrate their talent, but also provided an important platform for cultural communications. Every teenager participating in the Games is a potential goodwill ambassador who can help improve understanding and friendship and promote cooperation between nations through the event, contributing to the realization of a harmonious world marked by lasting peace and shared prosperity.

This year's Youth Olympics takes a new approach to sports settings. Among the 28 sports featured, 15 offer mixed gender and nationality team events. For example, athletes are allowed to form a team with participants from other countries in mixed badminton doubles and diving contests.

In addition to the competitions, the organizing committee has offered a variety of cultural and educational activities enabling athletes from different countries and regions to form friendships, learn about their respective cultures, and forge links that will last well into the future.

Happiness and sharing will be the main themes underlying the Youth Olympics. Athletes are encouraged to experience the fun of sports by active participation and interaction.

As International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has said, all the athletes will not only compete for medals, but also learn more about mutual respect, rules, fairness and justice while spreading the spirit of unity, friendship and tolerance from Nanjing to the world.

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