Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city and Glasgow, Scotland came up short Thursday as Buenos Aires won the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. It was a bit of surprise as both cities had high expectations.
Medellin, the city that is often remembered as the dangerous, crime-riddled capital of Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel has evolved since the late 1980’s becoming a sport and culture epicentre of Colombia.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos led the Medellin 2018 bid delegation and opened with eloquent remarks in English, setting the stage for a compelling presentation that ran a bit over the fifteen minutes allotted for each city.
“We will not let you down,” the President promised.
Colombia IOC Member Andres Botero then drove home some key points at the conclusion. He said the Games would be “compact and efficient.”
“No new venue construction is needed.
“We have modern sustainable transport system.
“This would be the greatest sport event Colombia could ever host.
“We’re ready to work with you and welcome the world to Medellin”
Medellin hosted the South American Games in 2010, hosting 3500 athletes and leaving a venue legacy that could have supported a Youth Olympics.
Medellin was within eight votes of Buenos Aires after the first round but lost on the second and final ballot by ten.
Glasgow’s bid comes on the heels of a successful Olympics in London last year, causing many critics to ask why the Games should return to the UK so soon. IOC member Sir Craig Reedie explained that the YOG require the most effective global outreach strategy possible and Glasgow would give the Olympic movement the best chance at this goal.
Glasgow is currently organizing the Commonwealth Games to be hosted in 2014 – 100% of the required YOG venues are already built.
But the Youth Olympic Games, as imagined by IOC President Jacques Rogge, was geared to be hosted in cities and nations that were less capable of hosting a mainstream Olympic Games – giving more of the world access to the Olympic movement.
The IOC membership apparently agrees as Glasgow managed only 13 of 85 possible votes on the first ballot.
Seb Coe, Chair of the BOA, said “we extend our congratulations to Buenos Aires on being selected as host for the Youth Olympic Games in 2018.”
“We also congratulate the bid team from Medellin for the quality of its bid and the IOC for the highly professional manner by which the entire bid process has been managed.
“We are of course disappointed that Glasgow didn’t prevail but we will continue to actively promote the Olympic Values and the life-changing benefits of participating in sport to people of every age throughout the UK.
“The Glasgow bid leaves a very tangible legacy, having engaged with 1.5 million young people in the UK, which means we have 1.5 million potential new young ambassadors for the Olympic Movement and sport. That is something we are very proud of.”
IOC President Jacques Rogge said “we had three excellent candidates from which to choose a host city today, each with the capability of staging memorable Youth Olympic Games in 2018.”
“I would like to congratulate Buenos Aires and their bid team for their dedication to and enthusiasm for the Youth Olympic Games project.
“I have no doubt they will build on the successes of Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014 to provide a platform on which the best young athletes from around the world can compete and learn about the Olympic values.”
More reaction to come on GamesBids.com