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volunteering, developing mascots and offering theirideas and suggestions, all of which has provedinvaluable to Tan and his team."The public has been involved from the verybeginning," Tan says. "We have youngsters coming to give us inputand designing the Opening Ceremony. We askedthem, 'what is the meaning of theOlympic Games to you -14-year-olds? What would you liketo see on the stage, who wouldyou like to see?', and that helpedus a lot."So with a fire-themed malelion named "Lyo" and a water-themed female merlion named"Merly" chosen as the mascotswhat else have the public beenhelping with? Another aspect is the roleof sports presenters. Director of theSports and Venues Division at SYOGOCPatrick Lee and his colleagues ?OLYMPIC REVIEW37SINGAPORE 2010wo years ago, whenSingapore beat Moscow to the enviable task ofhosting the very first Youth OlympicGames, there was little time tocelebrate the achievement ofwinning the bidding process. Withno specific blueprint to follow,organisers feared it could haveproved a tricky task to complete,but the Singapore Youth OlympicGames Organising Committee(SYOGOC) Chief Operating OfficerEric Tan did not bank on the hugesupport the event has received from the public in the South East Asian City State.While Tan and his team set to work on doing allthe unsung work, such as catering for 3,600 hungryathletes, finding places for competitors and visitors to stay, arranging crowd control, transportation ofathletes, writing Games policies and establishingdecision making bodies, the public have been busyThe final preparations have been made andthe countdown to the inaugural YouthOlympic Games(YOG) is in the homestraight, reports Patrick Johnston fromReuters' Singapore bureau

SINGAPORE 201038OLYMPIC REVIEWadvertised for 120 positions as sports presenters ordemonstrators to talk to the public about the sportsthat will be on display, many of which are new toSingaporeans, such as wrestling. Once again thepublic demonstrated their fondness for the YOG withmore than 500 14-21-year-olds auditioning."I was anticipating 200, I was overwhelmed,"Lee says. "We planned only three workshops, wehad 10. It is a good problem. Those who haven'tbeen selected have been told that we will find themsomething to do during the Games. For them toeven want to come up shows that there is a lot ofinterest in the YOG, the passion is there. It hassurprised me as my perception of young people isthey are more interested in movies and their ownthings. So to have this kind of response for sports is fantastic."Mansoor Amir, a 20-year-old student who was one of the lucky few selected, is particularlylooking forward to the Youth Olympic Games:"Singapore may be a small nation, but we are asmall nation with lots to offer and this YOG willdefinitely have a uniquely Singaporean twist to it and it will be a wonderful chance for us to show the world what we're all about. I am really lookingforward to welcoming the world to Singapore this August!"Likewise, finding 20,000volunteers would seem like a trickytask for such a small country but16,000 have already been signed up,once again showing Singaporeans'love for all things to do with the YouthOlympic Games.So with the public helping so much,the SYOGOC has been improving parts ofalready established venues to make them"Youth" Olympic worthy. A new synthetic turfhas been laid at the Jalan Besar Stadiumwhere the football tournament will take place,as well as new more powerful 1200-luxfloodlights. The Marina reservoir, which willhost the rowing and canoe-kayakcompetitions, the final venue to be completed, hasbeen revamped to include a sheltered, one kilometrestraight race-course.Also in the district is The Float@Marina bay,which will host the Opening Ceremony and thecycling competition. While Tan and Lee are reluctantto give details on what we can all expect from a"memorable" Opening Ceremony, they are very keento discuss the importance of the Culture andEducation programme (CEP) that will be on offer forall athletes as the YOG looks to not only give aplatform for young athletes to win medals but also to demonstrate how to live by the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship, while alsohaving plenty of fun.Sergey Bubka, Chairman of the IOC'sCoordination Commission for the first YOG andOlympic medallist, could not agree more. "They will build friendships with other youngathletes from around the world and get theopportunity to experience new cultures. The CEPprogramme will also teach them invaluable skills for their future lives both inside and outside theworld of sport."The seven formats of the Culture and Educationprojects are Chat with Champions, DiscoveryActivity, World Culture Village, Arts and Culture,Community Projects, Exploration Journey and Island Adventure which are all aimed atgiving the young athletes a deeperexperience of the Olympic valuesthrough team-building and funeducational activities.For example the Island Adventureat Outward Bound Singapore, PulauUbin, will give the young athletes theopportunity to work as a team inconfidence-building scenarios suchas a raft-building activity."If athletes feel under pressurefrom their peers or parents orcoaches we hope the workshops will bethere to help give them some answers," Tan says. All of this will be centred at the YouthOlympic Village based at the Nanyang TechnologicalUniversity (NTU), which has enjoyed a major revamp to welcome the thousands of young medalhopefuls. Retail and banking facilities are available at the NTU and improvement works have beencarried out on the meeting rooms, lecture theatresand the training facilities, while the dining areacapacity has been increased to 1,800 seats soathletes can meet on the track and at the dinnertable. The advantage of Singapore's small size is that all competitors will have a maximum of just a 30-minute shuttle bus ride from the Youth Olympic Village to the venue for their sport.SergeyBubkaChairmanoftheIOC'sCoordinationCommissionforthefirstYouthOlympicGames"The CEP will teach them invaluable skills for their future lives bothinside and outside of the world of sport"The Float @ Marina Bay hosts the Opening and Closing Ceremonies