© IOCOlympic Games News
Date : 07 Oct 2018
Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 7, 2018: Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, welcomed the young athletes of the world to the 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games, singling out a Thai boys’ football team who were trapped for over two weeks in an underground cave, at a spectacular Opening Ceremony on Saturday night.
After a colourful and stunning show that kicked off the Opening Ceremony – held for the first time as a street party down the main avenue of Buenos Aires – Bach began his speech in Spanish and offered a message for the 4,000 young athletes in attendance among the record 200,000-strong crowd.
“To get here, each of you athletes trained and competed hard. You gave your best in the sport you love so much. This is why you deserve to be here at the Games. Every athlete is different. We all come from different parts of the world and have different cultures. But we are all united by the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect,” Bach said.
The IOC President then welcomed the Thai boys from the Wild Boars football team which captured the world’s attention in July: “Everyone remembers that brave group that was trapped in a cave for 17 days. They showed the importance of these sport values. For that reason, we invited them here to share their experience with other young athletes.”
A former Olympic representative in fencing and a gold medal winner at Montreal 1976, Bach conveyed the event’s values to the new generation of athletes: “This experience will stay with you for all of your life. We are all assembled here to celebrate you, as the real game changers.”
Athletes from 206 nations have gathered at the first gender-equality Games with equal number of boys and girls making up the 4,000-strong athletes. They will compete in 32 sports.
The show itself was spectacular, with the Olympic rings appearing to float in air, the Youth Olympic sports being presented on the iconic Obelisk on the vibrant Avenida 9 de Julio. An athlete carrying the Argentine flag seemed to defy gravity by walking down the Obelisk while cyclists did tricks on the Olympic rings.
Bach thanked Argentina for its “wonderful hospitality” and for “welcoming us with open arms”.
“Thank you very much Argentina! Thank you very much Buenos Aires! And now let’s start the Youth Olympic Games of Buenos Aires 2018,” Bach concluded. The Games will end on October 18.
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