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OLYMPIC REVIEW29imiya Shokoohi is a 19-year-old journalismstudent from Vancouver, Canada. During theOlympic Winter Games in Vancouver she tookon the challenge to report on the Games from a YouthOlympic Games (YOG) perspective. She worked as aroving YOG Reporter, interviewing athletes, spectatorsand sports personalities. Her images, videos and articleswere relayed through the YOG microsite "The Cube" onwww.olympic.org and through YOG social mediaplatforms for fans of the Youth Olympic Games to follow.Whilst in Vancouver, she took the opportunity to grab a few words with IOC President, Jacques Rogge.How did the idea of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) come about?The Youth Olympic Games is a project that I have had inmy mind for a long time. When I was elected President ofthe European Olympic Committees in 1989, Europe wasdivided into two with the Berlin Wall in between. Therewas very little contact for young people between the twodivided areas. I thought that a youthcompetition could help remedy thatand we started the first edition of the European Youth OlympicFestival in Brussels in 1991. Thiswas when I saw an opportunity to develop an international eventthat would couple sport witheducation and could act as a catalyst to engage young peoplearound the world. I have always held a strong belief in the importance ofsports events for younger generations. Why is it important for the YOG to haveits own identity?The Youth Olympic Games are about muchmore than sport. They are about educating young athletes in Olympic values, healthy lifestyle, well-being and social responsibility. They are not amini-Olympic Games. There is a lot we carry over fromthe Olympic Games to the YOG, Olympic symbols suchas the podium, the flame, and the values, but the YOGhave their own unique identity. Also, the creativeapproach to the sports competition at the YOG help togive the event its own identity. For example, there will be mixed-gender events as well as events in whichathletes from different National Olympic Committeescompete on the same team.Why is it important to have the Culture andEducation Programme in the YOG?The Culture and Education Programme at the YOG is asimportant as the competition itself. There are alreadyworld championships and junior world championships for most Olympic sports so there was no need to createsomething that would mimic what the sports federationsare already doing. But I felt that there was an elementmissing in the traditional pattern of world youthchampionships and that's the education part. What sort of values will the participants be taught?The YOG participants are in the 14 to 18 age rangewhich is the ideal age to teach them the values ofOlympism. These are the traditional values of theOlympic Games which are the pursuit of excellence,friendship and respect for each other, respect for socialvalues like the environment. We also want them to learnabout important issues such as the benefits of a healthylifestyle, the dangers of doping or their role as sportsambassadors in their communities. The Youth OlympicGames are about learning and sharing. Will there be doping controls at the YOG?Yes of course there will be doping controls. Everyone whoreaches the podium will be tested, plus a number ofother athletes at the event picked at random. There willbe a full-scale doping control like at the Olympic Games. Why is it important to have Athlete Role Models and YOG Ambassadors involved in the YOG?The vision of the Youth Olympic Games is to inspireyoung people around the world to participate in sport,and the role of the Athlete Role Models and YOGAmbassadors is to help us to make this vision a reality.We want these amazing individuals who have alreadyachieved so much in their sporting careers, to influence young people to play an active role in theircommunities. Everyone looks up to a role modelwhatever their age! We also have Young Ambassadorswho have been chosen by 30 NOCs for this first edition of the YOG. This group of young people will be onhand during the Games to guide the athletes through the Culture and Education Programme, they are also a great way of reaching out to young people around theworld to promote the YOG and Olympic values. How will you define the success of the YOG? Basically it's the satisfaction of the athletes. I will askthe athletes if they're happy and if they're happy, theGames have been a success.Had the YOG existed when you were a young athlete, in which sport would you have competed?It would have been sailing - the sport I competed in atthe Olympic Games. I am a true sports fan and love allsports but I was born close to the sea so the obviousthing to do was to start sailing. Your final word of advice for the young athletesgoing into these Games?Have fun! ?IOC PRESIDENT ROGGE Q&A

oday's young people have neverknown life without the internet.They have grown up with a mouse in their hands and the world wideweb at their fingertips. In fact, the internethas become such a huge part of theireveryday lives that recent figuresindicated that the average teen spends asmuch as 31 hours per week online.It's little wonder that the IOC is using digitalmedia more and more as a way to engage withyoung people and encourage them to be more activewhen it comes to the Youth Olympic Games (YOG).Indeed, with over 1.5 million young fans on the IOC'ssocial-networking site Facebook, and thousandsmore followers on micro-blogging site Twitter, theAs the countdown to the inaugural Youth Olympic Games continues, Olympic Review looks at how digital mediais allowing the IOC to engage with young people around the world like never beforeFacebook pageYOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES30OLYMPIC REVIEW