Five Youth Olympic graduates who came of age at Rio 2016

Tchau Rio 2016, hola Buenos Aires 2018!

Rio 2016 was the first Olympics staged in South America but Team GB will be heading back in just two years time for the third edition of Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

Previous experience of a multi-sport environment can be vital when it comes to competing on the biggest stage of all, as the five below all prove. They all competed for Team GB at either the Youth Olympic Games or European Youth Olympic Festival before quickly graduating to the biggest show in sport.

Jade Jones first wore Team GB colours when she won taekwondo gold at the first-ever Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, aged just 18.

Indeed she’s competed for Team GB four times and always topped the podium - at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in London and Rio and also at last year’s European Games in Baku.

“It’s been an amazing six years since winning the Youth Olympics,” she said. “That was an incredible experience and it definitely prepared me for London and Rio, understanding what it’s like to be part of a really big team, rather than just travelling and competing with your training partners and friends.”

Duncan Scott returns from Rio with double relay silver in the 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay, plus a fifth place in the blue-riband 100m freestyle.

He made his Team GB debut at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht, winning 200m medley gold, plus two silvers and a bronze.

And at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing he took gold in the 4x100m freestyle alongside Team GB's Luke Greenbank, Miles Munro and Martyn Walton. “Utrecht and Nanjing taught me a lot about big events like the Olympics,” he said. “Those meetings gave me the confidence to know I can swim well at an Olympic Games when the pressure is really on.”

It’s just three years since Nile Wilson won four medals, including three golds, at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht.

The 20-year-old from Leeds, appearing in his first Games, won Britain's first-ever high bar medal in Brazil, having created history in May by winning their first-ever European title at the discipline.

“It’s been a great journey, with lots of ups and downs. Three years ago my eyes weren’t on the Olympics, they were just on EYOF,” said Wilson.

“I’ve always wanted to reach the top level, to be world class, I feel fortunate and proud and excited to have done that, and to now be competing amongst the best in the world and be challenging for medals.”

Jazmin Sawyers was in determined mood after making the women’s long jump final in Rio, where she finished eighth.

“When you say eighth in the Olympic final, it is good, but I jumped 6.69m and I am better than that,” she said.

“The goal was to make the Olympics, then it was to make the final, then it was to make the top eight but it didn't stop there and I stopped there and that is why I am disappointed.”

Sawyers made her Team GB debut in a very different sport - at the Youth Winter Olympics in 2012 in Innsbruck.

She acted as brakeman for driver Mica McNeil as they won silver in the women’s bobsleigh, Team GB’s first-ever medal at the event.

Boxer Muhammad Ali won flyweight bronze at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing two years ago and quickly graduated to the senior ranks, proving a pathway from youth to senior Olympics can be a very short journey.

He lost to eventual bronze medallist Yoel Segundo Finol in Rio but is already looking ahead to Tokyo, when he’ll have added maturity to his considerable natural talent.

Sportsbeat 2016