During the first meeting held between the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission and Gangwon 2024, the Korean hosts of the 4th Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) announced their powerful vision, which will provide the foundation for all their activities for the years to come: “Gangwon 2024 – youth celebrating peaceful coexistence and unity through sport to create a better future together.”
“Youth” refers to the participating young elite athletes, aged between 15 and 18, and the local youth of Korea and the region. The power of “peace” and “unity” through sport is paramount in the minds of the people in Gangwon Province, which already hosted the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The Winter YOG 2024, the first Winter YOG to be held in Asia, will build on the Olympic Games legacy and engage even more young people, allowing them to “create a better future together.”
Through the various programmes that are to be developed in collaboration with the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation – as well as schools, local sports clubs and youth organisations – young people in the region will be encouraged to engage in sport and cultural and educational activities before, throughout and after the Games. Planned activities include peace youth camps, cultural exhibitions and sports initiations to name just a few. The use of digital platforms will increase the reach at national level and beyond. The local youth mobilisation will commence soon, with a “Youth Supporters Programme” due to begin at the start of the 1,000-day countdown on 24 April. The youth supporters, who are currently being selected, will be aged between 13 and 24. They will help to create and promote communication opportunities and content to raise awareness of the YOG among their peers.
The YOG athletes will develop new perspectives and skills through their participation in a dedicated Learn & Share programme – digitally before, and physically during the Games.
This first Coordination Commission meeting, held virtually on 30 and 31 March, brought together representatives from the IOC and Gangwon 2024. The purpose was to discuss opportunities and challenges related to the project, and to find and co-create smart solutions by adapting to the local context. The ultimate aim is to organise efficient, impactful and transformative YOG – delivered for, by and with the youth.
Coordination Commission Chair and IOC Member Hong Zhang said: “The impact of the YOG stretches far beyond the competition period. Gangwon 2024 has the opportunity to build on the great work already accomplished by PyeongChang 2018 and leverage the ongoing activities in youth sport and Olympic values education to mobilise and engage youth. This is a unique opportunity that is afforded by hosting the Olympic Winter Games and the Winter YOG within a six-year time span. Transformation starts now. The positive impacts on the local youth have the potential to be exponential.”
Shin Chang-Jae, President of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 Organising Committee (GYOGOC), said: “Gangwon 2024 will promote youth participation in sport, nurture winter sports athletes and expand the base of winter sports, solidify Gangwon Province’s position as a winter sports hub in Asia, and spread the Olympic values around the world. In doing so, Gangwon 2024 will create far-reaching changes in sport and culture. At the centre of change, there will be youth. For the three years until the Games, the team will work tirelessly to deliver successful YOG together with stakeholders and the youth.”
Another important topic discussed during the meeting was the competition sites for the YOG, which are closely linked to the athlete competition programme and the duration of the athletes’ stay. The programme was approved by the IOC Executive Board last month, pending details on freestyle skiing and snowboard, with additional time needed to complete the planning for those sites and facilities. This joint site assessment, to be conducted with the International Ski Federation (FIS), is due to be finalised this spring.
Gangwon 2024 will benefit from many of the facilities used for PyeongChang 2018. This will ensure cost-efficient and sustainable YOG. Most of the competitions will take place in PyeongChang (mountain sports) and Gangneung (ice sports), offering the participating athletes a setting similar to that of the Olympic Winter Games concept in 2018. They will therefore have the opportunity to compete in some of the same sites as Olympians did a few years before.
The Gangwon 2024 Organising Committee also presented its roles and responsibilities matrix, which was welcomed by the IOC Coordination Commission, as it shows that roles have been clearly established between all the stakeholders in Korea, which is key to delivering the vision and ambitions of these 4th Winter YOG.
This first meeting between the IOC Coordination Commission and Gangwon 2024 also served to discuss the collaborative development of the Edition Plan for these 4th Winter YOG, a comprehensive document which defines all the key elements necessary for the delivery of the event. The Edition Plan is currently being co-created and will be finalised in the coming months.
Gangwon (KOR) was elected as the host of the 4th Winter YOG, to be held in 2024, at the 135th IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 10 January 2020. Since then, the GYOGOC has been established and has been working in close partnership with the IOC and other key stakeholders to advance the planning of the Games, building on the successful delivery of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and the 3rd Winter YOG Lausanne 2020.
The Youth Olympic Games were established by the IOC as a high-level multi-sports event. They are a unique combination of athletic performance, a purpose-driven sports festival and an incubator for innovation which bring young elite athletes aged from 15 to 18 together to develop their sports skills, live out the Olympic values and share their experience with other young athletes from around the world. The 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games were hosted by Innsbruck in 2012, and they have been held every four years since then.