Youth Olympic Games: The Graduates

Youth Olympic Games: The Graduates

03 October 2018 / 17:38
Buenos Aires is about to open its doors to the world as the third summer Youth Olympic Games prepares to get under way - showcasing the next generation of sporting superstars to a global audience.

Team GB are ready and raring to go, keen to improve on previous medal hauls of nine in 2010 and 20 in 2014 and a strong squad has assembled for the Games.

This may only be the third summer Games but already there is a clear pathway to the very top of sport, with the Youth Olympics helping several young British stars on their way to senior glory.

Here we have picked out five athletes from Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014 who have since gone onto great things:

Tom Daley - Diving

It is rare an athlete arrives at a Youth Games already a world champion at senior level but then Tom Daley is no ordinary athlete.

The diver was already the world champion on the 10m platform, which he secured aged 15 in 2009, therefore making him one of the heavy favourites.

However, injury meant he was only able to compete over 3m and he finished in ninth place.

Still, Daley is still one of the biggest sports stars in Britain and he admits that experience proved crucial ahead of further major competitions.

He has since gone on to win two more World Championship golds, four European titles and four Commonwealth Games golds.

But every athlete dreams of the Olympics and Daley had the rare honour of winning a medal in front of a home crowd as he took bronze at London 2012.

A second bronze came at Rio in the 10m synchro alongside Dan Goodfellow.

Jade Jones - Taekwondo

Everything Jade Jones touches, or kicks, seemingly turns to gold. The now 25-year-old arrived in Singapore as an unknown hopeful but left with a gold medal – setting her up for an unbelievable career.

The Wales athlete was a class apart, winning four matches convincingly – including the final against Vietnamese athlete Thanh Thao Nguyen, but she still arrived at London 2012 an unknown to many watching at home.


Still, she wowed the crowds throughout the competition, beating the top seed in the semi-finals before seeing off China’s Hou Yuzhuo of China to win Team GB’s maiden Olympic taekwondo gold.

Since then, things have only got better. Two European golds have followed, as well as six Grand Prix wins.

And then of course there was Rio 2016. Jones was the favourite heading into it and delivered, storming past Spain’s Eva Calvo to the title – becoming a double Olympic champion, aged 23.

Sam Oldham - Gymnastics

Sam Oldham was the forefront of a golden generation of British gymnasts and it all started at the Youth Olympics.

Oldham was electric in Singapore, winning individual gold on the horizontal bar and silver on the pommel horse – setting him up nicely for a run at London 2012.

There, he helped make history as the men’s team won Team GB’s first Olympic medal in 100 years with bronze.

Oldham has since picked up four European Championship silver medals, three on his favoured horizontal bar.

Ellie Downie – Gymnastics

Gymnast Ellie Downie may be an Olympic veteran and a European champion, but the 19-year-old earned her first major taste of success at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing.

At just 15 years of age it was clear that the Nottingham athlete had a bright future ahead of her when she leapt to a silver in the vault behind China’s future Olympic bronze medallist Wang Yan in gold.


Her medal success didn’t stop there as Notts Gymnastics Club member claimed bronze medals in the all-around, beam and floor finals in an incredible competition in China.

Using the competition as a springboard for her future successes, Downie has followed in the footsteps of her sister Becky in achieving remarkable podium finishes at major tournaments.

Last year in Romania, Downie claimed four medals at the European Championships including gold in the all-round final, two silvers and a bronze in the uneven bars.

But her finest moment came when Downie secured bronze in the world team final in Glasgow in 2015.

Duncan Scott – Swimming

Aged just 21, Duncan Scott already has two Olympic silver medals under his belt, but it was at Nanjing in 2014 where he secured his first bit of Olympic history.

The Scottish swimmer had appeared at the European Junior Championships the year earlier and claimed a haul of two gold medals and a bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay.


But when the Glasgow-born swimmer arrived in China for the second summer Youth Olympics, he went on to play a key part in Great Britain’s 4x100m freestyle relay as he claimed gold alongside Luke Greenbank, Martyn Walton and Miles Munro.

The stunning gold represented the first of many medals of Scott’s infant career as the University of Stirling swimmer has gone on to scoop two World Championship golds and five European Championship golds prior to turning 22.

Sportsbeat 2018