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More thoughts on the YOG as a 'laboratory': Thousands of Argentines join in for a different kind of Olympic opening

Artists perform on the Olympic Rings during the opening ceremony of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at Obelisco monument on October 06, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
by Alejandro Munevar and Haileegziabher Adhanom, AIPS Members

BUENOS AIRES, October 10, 2018 - Following the analysis of AIPS President Gianni Merlo from Buenos Aires on the first ever opening ceremony in the Olympic movement to be held outside of a stadium, AIPS members and former Young Reporters, Alejandro Munevar from Colombia and Haileegziabher Adhanom from Ethiopia gave us their views on the kick off of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Alejandro Munevar

It’s hard to pinpoint the most memorable Olympic Opening Ceremony, but without any doubt Buenos Aires 2018 must be up there. Why? It was different from previous spectacles. It didn’t stick to the concept of a classic opening ceremonies, but instead it was an urbanised event: on the streets, open and accessible to all.

The LOC had always feared that citizens would receive the Games badly: after all a bad image in the top of mind of a consumer means the death to a trademark, specially when the trademark is a huge event that costs two hundred million dollars to the city, but against all odds the Argentinians have welcomed the Games in the best manner possible.

There was plenty of joy and happiness after and before the opening ceremony with people enjoying the event, to see the athletes. The Games represent a big opportunity for the city and the country.

It seems to be that in the middle of the economical crisis of the nation, the YOG is a balm of tranquility and a way to forget the situation. People face change when they saw the Olympic flame. There was extreme happiness and hope, although the reaction of the people to the politicians is one of rejection. They clearly accept and enjoy the games, but not how the nation is run.

Thousands of “porteños” filled the 9 de Julio avenue. In 1986 the avenue had been packed for a last time when Argentina won the World Cup.

The cold of the night didn’t last so long because souls of the Olympic fans warmed the atmosphere, they were amazed with the spectacle held by the theatrical group “Fuerza Bruta” but also because of the energy of the young athletes.

The IOC and the LOC achieved a big success with the first ever opening ceremony celebrated on the streets as the TV ratings were not a big priority. They wanted people to attend the ceremony in person and galvanize locals for the Games, which will run until October 18.

Haileegziabher Adhanom

The Youth Olympic Games as a ‘laboratory’

It was that time of the day, where the third summer Youth Olympic Games opening ceremony was taking place. In which the waiting would come to an end for all 4000 athletes from 206 countries aged 15 - 18 to show to the Buenos Aires and the world, their talents and athleticism in their respective competitions.

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) addressed the media a press conference at the Hilton Hotel about the feeling he experienced together with the athletes at the Youth Olympic Village, how it was so vibrant, how they told him they are ready to take the opportunity.

Everybody, including the IOC President, was talking opening ceremony being a first of its kind, as it was due to be held at the vicinity of ‘9 de Julio Avenue’ a place where Buenos Aires’s iconic Oblisco is found. It wouldn’t be held inside the stadium that usually witnessed all forms of Olympic opening ceremonies for ages.

There was a question of security issues, but according to the Local Organizing Committee, they found the balance between this openness of the spectacle for the larger audience and security concerns.

The IOC President stated that the ceremony was a first step to bringing the sport to the people of Buenos Aires and Argentina, more than ever before, in a time when hosting major events is calling for more inclusion, more interaction from host cities. “By staging an inclusive opening ceremony to which everybody is invited to participate together with athletes, we are bringing the Games, the sport, to the people.”

We asked Thomas Bach if the IOC was willing to follow in its own steps from Buenos Aires, to host future opening ceremonies outside stadiums. “We want to use these Youth Olympic Games more than in the past, as a laboratory to find out about new sports, disciplines, competition performances, and also to find out how to make the Olympic Games more inclusive. We will also see how things are going now and the needs of the host city in the future.”

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