Thursday, 19 August 2010

Inaugural 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Game (YOG)

Where Future Olympians Test the Water (at an Olympic Pool and Sport Grounds)

overcast 29 °C


Singapore Olympic Youth Games 2010


When I first heard about the Youth Olympic Game to be held in Singapore, I thought I was out of touch because I had never heard of this event before. As it turned out, the reason I heard about it the first time is because this is the very 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games. The official tag line "Blazing the Trail" says it well.


Singapore Olympic Youth Games 2010



The blue haired sheila on the right is Merly - obvious from the name that it's inspired by the symbol of Singapore's Merlion. And the red haired fella on the left is Lyo, again obvious from the name that's derived from Leo, the lion constellation. Singapore in Malay is "Singa Pura" means literally "Lion City". In fact, the lion head symbol had been used as a Singapore's national identity.


YOG mascots

My guess is, the mascot was designed according to the Yin/Yang principle of Duality with a balance of male (Lyo) & female (Merly) genders, warm (reddish brown) & cool (blue) colour schemes, land (lion) and sea (mermaid) creatures, short spiky (hard) & long flowing (soft) hair styles, and the natural elements of fire (red earth) and water (blue ocean), out of the two Singapore national cultural identities. (I don't know much about the star signs for Lyo and Merly (Leo and Aquarius). I suspect it too has some astrological significance apart from the obvious relationship between Lyo's namesake, and Merly's aquatic home). Compliment to the mascot design team.


Merly, mascots of Singapore Olympic Youth Games 2010
Lyo, mascots of Singapore Olympic Youth Games 2010


The impressive thing isn't that the inaugural Youth Olympic Game (YOG) took place in Singapore, but the fact that the Sin City snatched this honour from the finalist Russia (55 to 43 votes), which is no pushover. The Ruskies had hosted a grown-up version of the Summer Olympic Game. So bravo to Singapore. Not too shabby for a tiny island state of a few millions.

The Game might as well take place in Singapore instead of Russia - especially Moscow - is a scorcher this summer (actually much of northern hemisphere). Muscovite are cooling themselves off by jumping into public fountains. The heat will push the athletes to the limits. But then, Monsoon season hits Singapore right now. There had been showers in Day 3 to 5 of the Games, putting a dampener on outdoor events like triathlon, track & field, marathon, and rowing, etc.
Last but not least, Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Posters signs, Singapore Olympic Youth Games 2010


There's no summer in Singapore, only dry and wet seasons, and we're in the dripping wet season. Well, even Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (SYOGOC) can't organise the weather, but they can do this in Jan-Feb period when the odds of sunny days are much higher. I guess maybe the IOC is stickler for rule. Monsoon rain can dump down in buckets but doesn't last too long. Having said that, actually rain can be great for the athletes, especially when it's light showers. These are cool days (and barely above 30 °C), and a little rain can save the athletes from heat exhaustion, and saving time from pouring water over their heads. Come to think of it, these gloomy skys are great days for outdoor competition. It can dampen the outdoor spectators' spirits, though. Well, can't win them all.

I'm not a sport fan in general, but I take exception to the Olympic Game (I did watch 3/4 hour of FIFA match on TV last month. I should be awarded a gold medal for sitting through it for so long). Who can say no to synchronised swimming, for example, where the lovely ladies slapped on plenty of makeup and donned on a bun like they're going to a party. One moment, their heads bob up and down the water like ducks, and another, their lovely legs raised high above the watermark like a blooming flower. What's there not to like?

The host country may not won too many medals. Of course, they're already the biggest winner in my book/blog being the first country to host this event, which can only be described as historic.

Since the SYOGOC doesn't keep the medal table, the baton is passed to its older and more competitive parent body IOC who took up the housekeeping chore with apron and gloves. It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. And here is the link: 2010 Summer Youth Olympics Medal Table

The performance of Russia shouldn't come at a surprise as they're short-listed to host this Game (China tops the tally, and it's the favourite). I hardly saw any USA competing athletes on TV. Did the IOC simply forgot to email the relevant memo to its USA counterpart? Ok, maybe the financial crisis hit the training programs as well.

The next YOG is going to be held in Nanjing. This is a city I like to visit (not because of the YOG), it's the other Jing of China, and full of history and things to see. The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics marked a new era for China, and 2010 Singapore Summer Youth Olympics marked another new era for SE Asia, quietly. Sheeeeeeeeeeesh. Don't tell anyone. It's a secret...just between you and a few millions in the minority of the world.



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