NOC President Wants Beunos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games to “Shape a Generation”

Quebec City – The Buenos Aires bid for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games will help accelerate a grass-roots revolution of sport and culture across the nation, according to the Argentine National Olympic Committee President.

“If you build based on the kids, you have a foundation,” Gerardo Werthein said while attending the SportAccord Convention here in Quebec City this week.

Werthein, an Equestrian athlete, took charge of Argentina’s NOC in 2009 after having a successful business career in finance and telecommunication – and he brought a vision to the organization that had been caught in a downward spiral.

His long-term view was to invest heavily in sport “to build a better society.”

To do this he knew he had to involve the government and sell them on the idea. It worked – in 2009 his NOC had a total budget of $300,000 (USD), now, through public funding he has access to $40 million (USD).

Werthein has invested in several initiatives designed to include young people in sport development and to build a new generation of leaders who can add management skills, governance and transparency from the athletes’ point-of-view.

He has helped integrate sports education and Olympism in schools as part of the curriculum and has set up scholarships for young athletes; one recipient has been an 8-year-old gymnast.

Buenos Aires staged a failed bid for the 2004 Olympic Games, but in order to get more involved in the Olympic movement the city won a bid to host a high-profile International Olympic Committee (IOC) session to be held in September 2013. Argentina is also preparing to bid for the 2019 Pan Am Games with San Luis and Rosario seeking election in a domestic campaign.

But winning the Youth Olympic Games is an important goal for Werthein.

“The Youth Olympic Games fits the process going on in Argentina.”

He said that Buenos Aires 2018 would be cost effective because many of the venues are already built, and there are plans to construct a privately funded Olympic Village. And he believes that the city is an appropriate venue to host the youth of the world.

“It will be a cultural experience. [Buenos Aires] is a city that is able to take the kids and send them back safe.”

He hopes that Argentina can win the Games to “shape a generation.”