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YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMESWhen I left Barbados on the afternoon of August 9, bound for Singapore, Ireally had no idea what I was in for. Theonly element of this process - and probably the mostimportant - was that I knew I was going to be part ofsomething special. Something historic. And, as it turnedout, I was. When, after 30 hours of travel, I finallylanded at Changi International Airport, I immediatelybecame an International Olympic Committee-sponsored'Young Reporter.' Historical feat number one for this23-year-old island boy.I was in this welcoming Asian city-state for the first Youth Olympic Games - historical referencenumber two. In all, there were 29 of us YRs, as wesoon learned we would be called. I would be the only one from the Caribbean.Here in Singapore, we were grouped together withfive experienced news professionals: broadcastersTracey Holmes and Richard Palfreyman; photo guruPeter Charles; newswoman Lucia Montanarella; andsportswriter Alan Abrahamson. Three days of intense classwork ensued. Then theon-the-job experience began. The 29 of us were splitinto five groups. I was put into Group C, along withDeffnie from Vanuatu; Kimiya from Canada; Marwanfrom Egypt; and Golf from Thailand. Natthavuj is howGolf spells his real first name. That's why he asked us to call him Golf.The things I learned over the next 10 days came at moments that were sometimes obvious. Other times- at moments I could never have expected. One day,for example, Group C went to weightlifting. The eventwe saw was won by an Iranian. An Algerian wassecond and an Egyptian third - Marwan was happy.After receiving their medals, the Iranian andEgyptian embraced each other, adding a kiss on eachcheek. It was the sort of kiss shared between peoplewith ultimate respect for one another. I was humbledand pleased to bear witness to a moment that couldonly have happened at an Olympic event.We worked with Peter, the photographer, for twodays. On day one, he looked me square in the eye andplaced an expensive professional camera in myignorant hands. He told me to head out into the villageand photograph the 'faces' of the Youth OlympicGames. My results were simply terrible. He pulled measide and, patiently, told me my skills would improve.The second batch of images I delivered were, in hiswords, "Keepers, mate!" This group of shots includedpictures of people's faces - some happy, someintrospective, some candid. The subjects were of allages, races and nationalities. How did I even knowwhat to look for when I was looking through the lens?Because Peter had opened my eyes.One final example: As the Games neared an end,Lucia gave us an open-ended assignment. Go out intothe village, she said, and "surprise me."I chose to write about the janitor who cleaned ourYoung Reporters workroom. His name was ChengChuan. He was 48 years old, lived in Malaysia and tooktwo buses to work every morning. He had to get upevery day at 2:30 in the morning to get to the village by seven. He could not have been more proud of hisrole in the first Youth Olympic Games. Me neither. ?LeftAlan puts his new found skills into practiceBelowThe 29 IOC Young Reporters picturedtogether in SingaporeOLYMPIC REVIEW35

Former Namibian sprinter FrankFredericks says he could have wonOlympic gold if he was more "ruthless"during his career. The former WorldChampion, World Record holder andfour-time Olympic silver medallist was speaking to a group of young reporters at the first Youth OlympicGames in Singapore."I was probably thinking of different things whichdidn't give me an advantage," said Fredericks, whenasked what he felt before a race. "I think if I was moreruthless I probably would have won four gold medalsrather than four silver."Fredericks, who is his nation's only Olympicmedallist, acknowledged Olympic gold is the only thing missing from his trophy cabinet."Looking back now it's the only thing I don't have,so it would be nice to have one in the cupboard."But after six years of retirement Fredericks iscontent with his achievements. "I've tried my best. But there's now an opportunityfor another youngster to have that dream of beingNamibia's first gold medallist."Fredericks also hopes to see an African nationhosting an Olympic Games in the near future: "AfterSouth Africa hosted a wonderful and, what I think, a successful FIFA World Cup, I think it shows Africa is ready." (Luke Dufficy, Australia)Asked about her first meeting with fellow pole-vaulting legend SergeyBubka, Yelena Isinbaeva turns into ahyperactive fan, describing in animateddetail how she had once sought a photograph with him in Sydney in 2000. She recountsthis with the Ukranian seated beside her, at the Chat with Champions programme in the Youth OlympicVillage, where the two superstars met YOG athletes."Sacrifices," she said, were her biggest challenge,because "all my young girl's life was sacrificed forsports. And all of you must do it too. You won't lead a normal life like your friends."Her pre-competition routine includes staying alone in her room the night before, not doing anything at all. "I focus on myself. I imagine." She imagines her bestjump. She imagines looking over the bar as if she hascleared it. The three-time IAAF World Athlete of the Yearholds the honour of being the first woman to clear theholy five-metre mark. But it was not all smooth sailing.Last year, Isinbaeva lost twice, including at the WorldChampionships in Berlin. "I cried for two days after the Berlin defeat. I couldn't believe it.""Winning, not so hard. Breaking records, a littleharder. I thought I could do it forever. So I was relaxingand wasn't 100 per cent focused. When I was looking at the new world champion I realised I wanted to be thebest again. I took a break, went out, and did everything I like. I had a lot of ice cream!" Isinbaeva rewrote the pole vault mark to 5.06metres just eleven days later. "There is so much I canachieve. It took a defeat for me to realise this."Many are also intrigued by what she mumbles toherself every time before a jump. But Isinbaeva is keeping mum, calling it "nothing special". She was more forthcoming on her Ambassador role,however: "Make friends and learn about each other'sculture. When you go home, share with others what you learnt here." (Thiam Peng Tan, Singapore) BelowSergey Bubka looks on as Isinbaeva chats with athletes36OLYMPIC REVIEWYOUTH OLYMPIC GAMESUPCLOSEANDPERSONALYOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES YOUNG REPORTERS QUIZZED OLYMPIC LEGENDS FRANKFREDERICKSAND YELENA ISINBAEVAAS PART OF THEIR TRAINING IN SINGAPORE