It’s back to Asia as the Winter Youth Olympics heads out of Europe for the first time

By Justin Kor in Lausanne

Lausanne, home of the IOC, hosts the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games. Photo: OIS/Joe Toth

The Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) has been to the majestic Austrian Alps in Innsbruck, the renowned ski resorts of Lillehammer, and is currently being held in picturesque Swiss villages surrounding Lausanne.

But the fourth edition will have an Asian twist as it heads to the South Korean province of Gangwon in 2024, just six years after the country hosted the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

At the 135th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Lausanne, IOC president Mr Thomas Bach officially conferred the honours to South Korea, after the committee voted 79 to 2 in favour of bringing the Olympic rings back to the East Asian country.

This is the third time that the YOG will be held in Asia after Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014, but the first Winter Youth Olympics to be held out of Europe. Russia, Spain, Bulgaria and Romania were the other countries that had expressed interest in hosting the competition.

Asia has emerged as a dominant player of the Olympics in the past decade, with four events heading to the continent in just six years: Pyeongchang 2018, Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and now, Gangwon 2024.

The Games will be split between cities of Gangneung and Pyeongchang, with the event using the same competition venues as Pyeongchang 2018. It is part of the IOC’s effort to ensure that previous Olympic host cities will continue to maintain an active Olympic legacy post-games, said Mr Bach.

“This Winter YOG will be a great opportunity to enhance the legacy of Pyeongchang 2018 with regards to the infrastructure, and also to carry on the passion of the young generation in Korea for winter sports and their commitment to the Olympic Values,” he said.

Cheyenne Goh of Singapore at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena. Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Gangwon 2024 is the first Games awarded under the IOC’s new process of electing host cities.

From now, a Future Host Commission will manage countries’ interest in future Olympic events. This will allow for more dialogue and flexibility between the IOC and potential Olympic hosts. The Winter Future Host Commission had earmarked Gangwon to be the preferred hosts of the 2024 Winter YOG.

There is also a possibility that North Korea could co-host the Games, which may further bolster peace efforts on the Korean peninsula. South Korea has indicated that it is willing to partner its northern neighbour, said the country’s Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism Mr Park Yang-Woo, who is also head of the Gangwon 2024 delegation.

“Gangwon 2024 will be prepared to contribute to the advancement of the Olympic spirit and the vision of the IOC to promote peace and harmony,” he said.

“The co-hosting will contribute to the furthering of Olympic spirit and the IOC’s vision of promoting peace and harmony.”

Singaporeans in action on day one

Matthew Hamnett of Singapore and Team Orange battles for the puck with Wei-Yu Lin of Chinese Taipei and Team Red and Matija Dinic of Serbia and Team Red during the Men’s Mixed NOC 3-on-3 Preliminary Round against Team Red during day 1 of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics. Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images

Ice Hockey Mixed NOCs 3 on 3

Orange team beat Red team 8:6

Orange team:
SGP: Matthew Hamnett
POL: Jakub Michalski
MEX: Diego Rodriguez
JPN: Tomoyoshi Yuki
ITA: Nicolo Remolato
NZL: Jack Lewis
KOR: Kim Sangyeob
AUT: Jonas Dobnig
GER: Roman Kechter
HUN: Mark Weidemann
SUI: Leni Michellod
RUS: Ivan Novozhilov
BLR: Yan Shoshak

Relive the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games here on Olympic Channel.

Catch the sporting action of the Winter YOG on Toggle TV