While I may be the only one who’s reading the International Olympic Committee Reports these days about the launch of the Youth Olympic Games” there’s some fresh news to note that again makes the Olympic Committee sound incredibly antiquated. As we’ve noted in the stories below as we continue to track what’s going on with the development of the Youth Olympic Game movement (YOG), new revelations by the old-boys network has come to light in a recent report.
As of last week the IOC released a report not only about why and how they chose Singapore and Moscow as the finalists for the Summer Youth Olympic Games intended for 2010 for 14-18-year-olds, but also what some of their goals are for the YOG to begin with, including: 1) Integrate youth-relevant sports into the Olympic program (but they have ironically NOT included Snowboarding into the Winter Games and are still trying to umbrella Skateboarding under Cycling); 2) Make urban culture a part of the Olympics; and 3) Increase interaction between athletes and young people through “new media channels.”
I’ve said it before reading the press releases from the IOC feel like I’m reading news that’s 15 years old.
This week, you may have noticed that we ran a story about the Winter X Games and how it continues to capture the attention of youth culture globally, in addition to their expansion of using new media (see also “Winter X Games Wraps Up with Show-stopping Performances by Shaun White, Gretchen Bleiler; Label Networks Compares Sports in X Games to Favorite Sports to Watch Among Youth Culture”). For Skiing and Snowboarding Big Air for example they allowed viewers to text in their votes for best tricks. Now, it’s highly doubtful that the Olympics would be so interactive and new media savvy, which makes me wonder what they mean by goal #3. In addition, the sports that they’ve listed for the Winter Youth Olympic Games don’t even include the cool ones that youth culture are into such as Skiing Slopestyle, Snowboarding Slopestyle, Superpipe, and Big Air. Instead, the top 7 sports for the 2012 YOG Games include Biathlon, Bobsledding, Curling, Ice Hockey, Luge, Skating, and Skiing.
I may have missed something here, but as a sports writer for an global youth culture intelligence company measuring top sports participation, favorite sports to learn and watch, it is incredibly irrelevant that Luge, Curling, Biathlon, and Bobsledding are even being considered for the Winter YOG.
Honestly, President Jacques Rogge has to be one of the oldest men on the planet if he thinks this is a good idea.
However, there may be another reason why the IOC is bringing on such sports for 14-18-year-olds: To try and make these sports relevant again to a generation that could care less. For example, if there’s a YOG of these events, then maybe young people will train for them, thus making the real Olympics big, fat, and happy again once these athletes get older? It is such a long-shot, but why else is the IOC doing this? Those who witnessed Shaun White’s performance in the SuperPipe at the Winter X Games in Aspen on Sunday would concur that the IOC plan to revitalize, say, Curling, among youth culture is not a good idea. Not to mention sponsors: Burton, one of the largest sporting brands in youth culture sports, just signed a 10-year deal with Shaun White. They didn’t with Canada’s teen Curling champ.
As the ridiculousness of the YOG plans progress, we can’t help but call out such really bad ideas. And it’s getting worse. The final goal of connecting with urban culture is borderline to say the least. I doubt that Mr. Roggue has communed with “urban athletes” much in the past if ever. And if so, then maybe they should consider Parkour in the Summer YOG, but of course, such a new hip sport as Parkour probably isn’t yet “recognized” by the Olympic Committee.