The USA Olympic Snowboarding Halfpipe Team 2010 in their lovely new team jackets by Burton.
Photo by Doug Pensinger–Getty Images

IOC launches New Youth Olympic Games Visual Identity “YOG-DNA” and New Media Campaign
The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) which will feature 3,600 14-18-year-olds in 26 different sports from August 14-26, 2010 in Singapore, announced their new “non-logo” logo or rather “label” as they call it, and a new media campaign using “social networking sites,” Twitter, and texting as part of their overall goal to “raise awareness of the Olympic values and topics like healthy lifestyles and the fight against doping” among young people.

As we’ve written about many times before, we’re still not on board with how the IOC has come about creating the entire YOG, not to mention the possibility of sabotaging the Olympics in general. The concept of trying to get more young people interested in the Olympics is great, and of course lucrative with long-term, survivalistic implications for the Olympics in general, but so far from what we’ve seen, they’re not even close to hitting the mark of why young people are losing interest in the Olympics overall.

First, promoting a healthy lifestyle, while noble, isn’t really a huge motivator to a demographic that tends to still believe they’re immortal. One of the main ways to attract young people to the Olympics is to provide sport competitions that they actually care about. (There’s a reason that snowboarding is one of the few Olympic sports that actually draws a large youth culture fanbase.) Secondly, having a “second” Olympics of 14-18-year-olds may do damage to the main Olympics when you consider that many Olympic athletes, especially in the Summer Games, are within this age group (think gymnasts and divers).

Finally, the entire concept of attracting youth to the YOG movement via new media tools, while obvious, wasn’t so clear to the IOC until the last 2 years. (Their press releases about getting “in touch” with the marketplace using “social networking” was enough to make us ask, “who the hell is writing this? And “where the hell have they been for the past 10 years?”) The IOC is notorious for NOT gathering consumer insights and allowing feedback from fans about its events, production, sports, athletes, and other aspects of the Olympic Games. But now, hey! they’re going to get in touch with youth through social media.

Today, January 26, they announced the new visual representation of the YOG, called the “YOG-DNA” (which, yes, sounds like a new type of power-yogurt) which you can check out in the “hip” “Cube” area of www.olympics.org/yog.

For a generation that hates to get labeled, this latest from the leaders of the YOG really shows how off they are with marketing their entire visual communication plans: “YOG-DNA is targeted at young people, not as a logo or a brand, but as a label. It represents the attitudes and freedom of young people and has no restrictions like a traditional “brand”. It is to be used by young people as a stamp of approval for anything that has the “Spirit of the Youth Olympic Games.”

So does this mean they%uFFFDll be giving out free stickers with this non-logo-non-label? Can we wheat-paste it across cities at various locations that we believe deserve our stamp of approval–like favorite skateboarding spots or street dance locations? Which “sports” exactly define the “Spirit of the Youth Olympics?”

I get the whole not-calling-yourself-a-brand to try and gain cred with youth culture, but young people are extremely savvy and can smell anything that smacks of insincerity a mile a way. They KNOW that the YOG is a brand, people. Saying it out-loud that this new logo is not a logo for a new sporting franchise that%uFFFDs not a brand (but branded by the Olympics) is like calling McDonald%uFFFDs golden arches a non-logo “label” or “stamp of approval” (that you can use yourself, if the spirit moves you) for a chain of gathering places were people can eat cheaper and faster, rather than
an indelibly logo-ed part of our culture for a branded fast-food chain that%uFFFDs a contributing factor to youth obesity issues.

So let’s move onto some great Olympic news: The USA Olympic Snowboard Team Announced
Last weekend, January 23-24 marked the last of the 3 Grand Prix’s towards determining the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team, and the results include a male and female team that both clearly have the best chances in the world for a medal sweep in the sport at the Vancouver Olympic Games next month..

Here’s the official release from Park City: Olympic gold medalists Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA), Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT), Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT), and Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME) each highlight a talent-filled roster as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced the 2010 Olympic Snowboarding Team Monday.

USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt, together with the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team partner Visa, announced the roster of 18 athletes to compete in the snowboard events at Cypress Mountain in Vancouver.

“We are going in to the 2010 Games with one of the strongest athletic lineups possible,” U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley said. “We%uFFFDre hoping to go into Vancouver and build on the successes we saw in 2006. This Team is in position to do great things.”

After winning four of five events at the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, White, who took the gold medal in 2006, has kept his stronghold on winning halfpipe events and will be a favorite in Vancouver.

“Shaun is truly an amazing competitor. After winning in 2006 he has been non-stop and has played a huge role in the progression halfpipe has seen in these past four years,” U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Head Coach Mike Jankowski said.

Joining White is a lineup of talented riders with unique style, including Louie Vito (Sandy, UT), who has back to back double corks in his repertoire and Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) who reaches mesmerizing heights with each hit in the halfpipe. Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, CA) who has the coveted double cork in his bag as well, completes the men%uFFFDs roster.

Danny Davis (Detroit, MI) would have qualified for the Olympic team with a fourth in the Grand Prix standings, but suffered an injury earlier this month that will keep him out of competition.

On the women%uFFFDs side of things, the Olympic Team will be comprised of the same talent it featured in 2006.

Clark also won four of the five Grand Prix stops to make the team, and has been using her time to lock down new tricks that she plans to add to her run as she looks for success in Vancouver.

Filling out the women%uFFFDs roster, Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO), Teter, and 2006 Olympian Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, CA) all bring the Olympic experience and heavy-hitting tricks to make the grade at Cypress Mountain.

Defending snowboardcross champ Wescott fills out one of the most talented SBX men%uFFFDs teams making its way to Vancouver.

“It was a huge battle to make this men%uFFFDs SBX team. Six different U.S. riders have already been on the World Cup podium this season, and only four of them make the Olympic Team,” Foley said. “Vancouver is going to be an incredible fight for the podium, and our guys are ready for it.”

Five-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA) is gunning for success after an unfortunate fall in the 2006 Games. After getting a surprise shot at being an Olympian in 2006, Graham Watanabe (Sun Valley, ID) is prepared for 2010, toting World Cup wins and an X Games silver medal on his way in. And, joining the seasoned Olympians is World Championship bronze medalist Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, MI).

In the women%uFFFDs SBX field, Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT), who earned silver in 2006, has taken win after win in the four years leading up to the 2010 Games and looks strong going in to Vancouver.

Joining Jacobellis are Olympic newcomers and solid contenders Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City) and Callan Chythlook-Sifsof (Girdwood, AK).

Finalizing the Olympic Snowboarding Team are the alpine racers, who are led by 2006 Olympian Tyler Jewell (Steamboat Springs, CO), who came out on top of the team selection process.

Two-time Olympian and 2002 bronze medalist Chris Klug (Aspen, CO) joins Jewell for the men. He notched two top-eight results on the World Cup this season to grab his third team spot and was on the original Olympic Team in 1998 for the sport%uFFFDs debut. Michelle Gorgone (Boston), who also competed in 2006, will represent the U.S. for the women.

“Klug’s hard work and perseverance have really paid off,” Foley said. “What an amazing accomplishment it is for him to make the Olympic teams in 98, and 2002, then miss the team in 2006, and now comeback and make the team again in 2010.”

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