Hundreds of young people gathered in Glasgow's city centre yesterday to share their wishes for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) with one week to go until the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decide which city will host the event.
Based on the ancient Scottish tradition of tying wishes to a tree, the 'I Wish... For Glasgow 2018' campaign was launched in the civic heart of Glasgow by schoolchildren, Olympic gold medallist cyclist Ed Clancy, TV personality and keen marathon runner Jenni Falconer and the Bid's Young Champions.
They were joined by Scottish Government Minister for Sport, Shona Robison, and Councillor Gordon Matheson, the Leader of Glasgow City Council.
The 2018 Bid Team also launched a virtual Wish Tree in which young people and communities from all over the UK will post their wishes in support of the campaign in the run up to next week's decision by the IOC. Legend says that if a wish is tied to a sacred tree it will come true.
School children took over the city's George Square to celebrate a morning of sport and culture, taking part in a variety of sporting activities including hockey, basketball, cycling and athletics as well as dance performances.
The 2018 Bid has engaged with over 1.5 million young people across the UK during the year-long campaign to win the right to host the multi-sport event, illustrating the city's capacity to impact on millions of young people across the globe in partnership with the Olympic Movement.
One of Glasgow 2018's Young Champions, Mahad Ahmed, an athlete from the Glasgow School of Sport, said: "It is hard to believe that we are just one week away from the decision on who will host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. I love Glasgow and I really wish that we get the chance to welcome the world’s best young athletes, their friends and their families to the city in 2018. It would be fantastic to share with them all that is great in our fantastic sporting and cultural city.”
Five-time world champion and double Olympic gold medal winning cyclist, Ed Clancy, said: "One of the things sportsmen and women from all over the world will always tell you is the crowds in Glasgow are amazing. They are so passionate and get behind us in a remarkable way. Add that passion and sense of fun to the world-class venues ready and waiting to host the world's best young elite athletes and you have the ideal conditions for the Youth Olympic Games."
Jenni Falconer said: "Glasgow is such a special city and it would be incredible if we were to win the race to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. The people of Glasgow are so passionate about sport as I experienced a few years back during the Great Scottish Run. The memories of that day will live with me forever and I wish that young people from across the world get to experience that same passion and enthusiasm come 2018."
Shona Robison, Scottish Government Minister for Sport, said: "It is fantastic to see so many young people that love their city and love sport share their wish for the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Glasgow in 2018. We want to see more young people getting active and become interested in sport and the Youth Olympic Games can do that, building on the excellent legacy created by the London 2012 Olympics and Commonwealth Games. I wish to invite everyone to warm, friendly and welcoming Scotland in 2018.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "Glasgow's young people have come here today to tell the world that their biggest wish is to share their city and their experiences with their counterparts across the globe. Speaking 110 languages in total, they already link with friends in 95 countries and hosting the Youth Olympic Games would be the exciting next step for us as we continue to work to improve the lives of the next generation."
Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the British Olympic Association, said: "Glasgow 2018 fully supports the original vision underpinning the Youth Olympic Games and we are committed to playing our part in enabling young people from around the world to be inspired by the Olympic ideals and to experience the life changing benefits of participation in sport. Glasgow has already engaged with 1.5 million young people and our wish is to build on that.”