What a prize!
23 August 2010
It has been a privilege to be in Singapore to witness the inaugural Youth Olympic Games as the winner of the 2010 Deloitte Business Competition. As I write, five days of competition have passed and seven further days remain.
The Games began on Saturday evening with a truly memorable Opening Ceremony, which was held in Marina Bay on the world’s largest floating stage, set against the iconic Singapore skyline. The ceremony was based on the story of Singapore – a young dynamic nation – and its similarities to that of a young athlete. Musicians from across the world also performed the Youth Olympic Games theme song to highlight the global unity of the Olympic movement. The ceremony was spectacular, with more than 5,500 young people performing against the backdrop of music, fireworks and visual effects.
Here in Singapore, it is impossible not to be captured by the excitement of the Games. Youth Olympic Games posters are displayed throughout public places, whilst the Games logo is very visible in shopping malls, buses and restaurants. The Games is also being broadcast on major television channels and is featuring strongly on the front pages of local newspapers. The high profile nature of the Games is a reflection of how seriously Singapore has taken this opportunity. Despite the seriousness, there’s no doubt the Games has a feel of youthfulness and fun.
The local people have been very welcoming and helpful hosts. It is clear that they are excited about having the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. More than 20,000 locals offered to volunteer, which is a reflection of the enthusiasm that abounds. To a man, the volunteers are very helpful and always smiling.
The Youth Olympic Games comprises 26 sports and the sporting action, so far, has been very interesting and exciting to watch. The ability and talent of the young competitors has been very impressive and, at times, you could easily mistake it for a full Olympic Games.
The support the locals have offered the Singaporean athletes has been amazing, and has really added to the atmosphere at events. On Thursday evening, the Singapore under-15 team advanced to the semi-final of the football competition in an exciting match against Montenegro. The match was played in front of a sell-out crowd at the Jalan Besar Stadium, which included the President of Singapore. It has been great to see Singapore win medals and perform well in the competition.
Singapore itself has been an amazing experience for me on my first visit. It is a country which displays great cultural diversity and I have found it to be a very welcoming country. It delivers excellence in everything, especially transport and facilities. In many ways the nation of Singapore seems to embody the Olympic values of Friendship, Excellence and Respect.
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