The journeys of Team GB’s Sam Oldham and Jade Jones, from Youth Olympic gold to Olympic medallists, typify the importance and significance of next week’s Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing, China.
Jade and Sam were joined by Tom Daley as Team GB stars who represented their country in Singapore for the inaugural YOG in 2010 before stepping onto the podium at London 2012.
Saturday 16th August 2014 will mark the start of the second summer YOG and will bring together around 3,800 athletes from more than 200 nations for the Nanjing 2014 Opening Ceremony.
The 11 days of competition that follows will see competition in over 220 events in 28 different sports across eight venues as Nanjing welcomes the world’s best young sporting talent to the city.
Team GB travel to the Games with 33 athletes across 14 disciplines, the most number of sports the country has ever competed at during an Olympic youth event.
All athletes across the Games are aged between 15 and 18 years old and Team GB vary from junior world champions and Commonwealth Games medallists, to competitors just starting out in the youth ranks.
Nanjing 2014 follows on from the first summer YOG in Singapore four years ago, which saw Team GB come away with three gold, one silver and five bronze medals.
With all Olympic sports represented in Nanjing, the Games strive to prepare young athletes for appearances at future Olympics through Village life, international multi-sport competition and Olympic traditions such as Ceremonies and the athlete’s parade.
As well as promoting the development of sporting talent, Nanjing 2014 has also created an integrated Culture and Education Programme that will focus on discussions around education, Olympic values, social challenges, and cultural diversity. The YOG aims to spread the Olympic spirit and encourage sports participation.
Nanjing itself is the capital of the Jiangsu province in Eastern China and its name means “Southern Capital”. Asia’s longest river, the Yangtze, flows through its centre and the city boasts a total population of around 8 million – a similar number to London – and has long been seen as one of China’s most important urban areas.
Nanjing has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of six different dynasties since 3 AD – most recently from 1946-49 – and is recognised as one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China.