Young skaters from the Youth Olympic Games. Photo courtesy of IOC.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to try and make its mark as a relevant entity for today’s global youth culture marketplace by engaging more in social media. Last week, the IOC  announced its latest social media campaign asking athletes to share their love of sport and get active with the #iLoveYOG hashtag as they gear up to the second Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, this February, 2016.

They kicked-off the campaign using one of the biggest and most inspirational names in winter sport, South Korean Olympic figure skating champion, Yuna Kim. Also known as “Queen Yuna” the skating legend and YOG Ambassador got behind the campaign by opening her official Instagram account using the hashtag, which has already gained over 80,000 followers.

Following the success of #YOGselfie last summer in Nanjing at the second Summer edition of the Games, which saw 58 million people posting their sporty selfies on social media, the IOC aims to engage young athletes and fans in this latest campaign and ultimately get people active and involved in the YOG.

During Games time, between 12 and 21 February 2016, printing stations will be available around Lillehammer for people to print their pictures posted on social media. Collectively, these thousands of images will create a giant mosaic – a piece of artwork that will then be donated to Lillehammer as part of the legacy of the Games.

In line with Olympic Agenda 2020, the Youth Olympic Games aim to engage with fans and young people around the world to encourage them to get active and enjoy the benefits of sport. The IOC sees social media as key to the success of this mission, and as outlined by Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, the world’s largest marketing communications group, the IOC is striving “to use these Games as an incubator, as an accelerator and as a way of understanding what young people want.”

Ironically however, the Olympics often misses the fact that the sports that are in the Olympics simply are not relevant to the marketplace. In addition, where the Olympics is broadcast is not where young people are turning for their entertainment. TV has an older reach; YouTube is far more relevant, which has changed the business model of the Olympics’ reach (see also our 15th Annual Fall Youth Culture Study 2015).

In addition, says the IOC, they have also teamed up with other winter sports stars: US Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn, Norwegian Alpine skier Kjetil Jansrud, Norwegian slopestyler Silje Norendal and Norwegian ice hockey player Mats Zucarello. Collectively, these YOG Ambassadors reach millions of young fans through their social media accounts and support the IOC and Lillehammer 2016 in their campaigns to raise the profile of the forthcoming YOG.