A Critical Perspective of the Potential Impacts of the 2010 and 2012 Youth Olympics on Youth Sport Development Worldwide
Emese Ivan, College of Professional Studies, Division of Hospitality, Tourism & Sports Management
Abstract: The aim of this presentation is to present a critical perspective regarding the potential serious impacts of the introduction of the 2010 and 2012 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) on youth sport development throughout the world. What is the purpose of these Games and where do they fit as a strategic goal of the International Olympic Committee?
It is hypothesized that the outcomes of these Games will ultimately focus more on high performance results and national team performances, than on the stated cultural and educational goals of the Games as a means to promote “Olympism” and its related ideals among the participants. The 1st Youth Olympic Summer Games are scheduled to take place in Singapore August 14-26, 2010 with an expected participation of 3,500 elite young athletes ranging in age from 14 to 18 years old. These Games will be followed by the first Youth Olympic Winter Games hosted by Innsbruck, Austria in 2012. Serious questions have emerged as to whether or not the introduction of these Games represents good sport policy, good sport practice or merely a crass attempt to further commercialize and promote the Olympic brand image to youth.
This presentation will provide: a) a brief overview outlining the creation and development of 2010 and 2012 Youth Olympics; b) a critical analysis of the potential impact of these Games on youth sport development internationally, and c) a critical perspective regarding the intentional inclusion and/or exclusion of young athletes with disabilities as related to these Games. Special attention will be paid to differentiate between the potential impact that these Games might have on youth sport structures of developed and developing countries. Finally, the presenter will outline a call for more critical research and study of these new IOC sponsored and organized Games with a focus on whether or not these Games have any particular value in promoting greater equity, social and economic justice, and inclusion in sport for girls and boys in the context of international youth sport development.