Buenos Aires Grabs Surprise Victory to Win 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Argentine captial Buenos Aires has been elected as the third host of the Youth Olympic Games after a vote by International Olympic Committee (IOC) members in Lausanne Thursday.

Buenos Aires defeated Medellin, Colombia and Glasgow, Scotland in a secret ballot vote. Glasgow didn’t survive the first ballot after attaining only 13 of 85 cast votes. Buenos Aires received 40 and Medellin 32. On the second ballot, Buenos Aires won decidedly by capturing 49 votes to Medellin’s 39.

The victory comes as a surprise as Buenos Aires received the most criticism in the IOC Evaluation report released last month. The backroom murmur within the IOC had pointed to a Medellin victory based on its back story as a city recovering from past troubles by leveraging sport. Glasgow was also seen a potential winner based on its economic capabilities and venue legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The report pointed to financial guarantees as an issue, but that was later resolved with the Evaluation Commission. Presenters said that the organization of the Games represented less than 1% of the city’s total budget.

“I am absolutely thrilled that the IOC has awarded the 2018 Youth Olympic Games to Buenos Aires.” Argentine Olympic Committee President Gereardo Werthein said.

“I would like to express my thanks to President Rogge and all the Members of the IOC who have placed their trust in us and we will not let them down.

“We feel this is the right time for Buenos Aires, Argentina and the Olympic Movement to join together and advance the cause of Olympism among young people across the globe.

“Buenos Aires believes in the Youth Olympic Games, its values and principles, and the inspirational energy of sport to empower the youth. We are honoured to be chosen as host for the YOG in 2018 because we want the event to thrive and grow in the exciting years ahead.”

Mauricio Macri, Mayor of Buenos Aires City added “over many years, we have been listening and learning and improving the infrastructure in our city – we now look forward to welcoming young athletes from around the globe to enjoy Buenos Aires’ rich and diverse culture and our wonderful sports venues.”

Buenos Aires is set to host the IOC at its next session in September when the members will vote for the host of the 2020 Olympics and for the next President of the Committee.

The Youth Olympic Games were introduced by IOC President Jacques Rogge midway through his ending term as president. The Games were intended to be staged on a smaller scale than the mainstream Olympics and appeal to cities that would otherwise not have the capacity to host an Olympics.

Singapore hosted the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and Nanjing, China will host next in 2014. A winter version of the Youth Games were held in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012 and are scheduled to be contended in Lillehammer Norway in 2016.

More to come as this story develops.