Youth Olympics begin with festive Opening Ceremony in Nanjing (photos)
The second Youth Olympics are officially under way, following a brisk Opening Ceremony in Nanjing, China, on Saturday night.
“Dear youth athletes, these are your Games,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said inside Sports Centre Stadium. “This is your moment.”
Bach then called for an unprecedented action at an Opening Ceremony, asking the young athletes in attendance (more than 3,000 will take part overall) to take out their cell phones and “set a record for selfies.”
Four-time Olympic champion diver Chen Ruolin capped the night by lighting the Youth Olympic cauldron.
NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday from 6-8 p.m. ET. (full NBC Olympics, Universal Sports coverage of the Youth Olympics here)
The ceremony included much of the standards from Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The Parade of Nations, which can take up to two hours at an Olympics, was a Parade of Flagbearers in Nanjing, taking 35 minutes.
Chinese Olympic legends, including diver Wu Minxia and hurdler Liu Xiang, brought out the Olympic Flag to be raised.
The artistic portion of the evening was a little reminiscent of the unforgettable and unparalleled Beijing 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony. Of course, it involved far fewer participants and was on a smaller scale, but the performers, fireworks and installations (including a large telescope) were top quality.
The Youth Olympics will include 222 events across 32 sports through Aug. 28. Nanjing is the second summer edition of the Youth Olympics, following the Singapore debut in 2014. Youth Olympic athletes range in age from 14 to 18.
The U.S. athlete delegation of 92 includes Opening Ceremony flag bearer Kendall Yount, a taekwondo athlete.