The opening ceremony of the Olympic Youth Games is scheduled for this Saturday, October 6, at the traditional Obelisk, while actual competition is scheduled to commence on Sunday with 22 sporting events.
The outdoor party is to be headed by President Mauricio Macri and Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, whose speeches are expected to focus on sports as well as on gender equality.
As any other parade or street festivity, attendance is free of charge. Macri has repeatedly viewed these Games as a springboard to Buenos Aires' candidacy for the traditinal Olympic Games in the near future. ”When these are over, we can think about trying to organize a (traditional) Olympic Games, which is much more difficult, Macri has been quoted as saying.
Rodriguez Larreta, who succeeded Macri after two terms as mayor of Buenos Aires during which he was cabinet chief, said at a press conference that it will be the first time in history that the opening ceremony is open to all, free of charge, which is a great pride for us.
And he pointed out that it is a game of equality too since it is the first time that the Olympic flag is carried by a boy and a girl, in a game where half of the athletes are women and half are men.”
The mayor of Buenos Aires, who this past week openly admitted his city is not one to drive around in cars (only bicycles and public transport), added that it will be our pride to show the whole world.
Following introductory speeches, the Fuerza Bruta acrobatic group and tango dancer Mora Godoy are due to perform on two mobile stages and 13 spaces throughout of 9 de Julio Avenue with screens and sound equipment for the enjoyment of the expected 250,000 spectators.
Over 4,000 athletes, between 15 and 18 years , from 206 countries are taking part in the event which is to be officially closed on Thursday, October 18 at the Olympic Village, in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Villa Soldati.
New competitions have been addded to the programme, such as speed skating on wheels, climbing and karate while indoor football will replace the traditional version.
As for the mascot, a yaguareté was chosen because this feline is an endangered animal of Argentina. Named Pandi, this mascot is of fluid gender (neither male nor female) to avoid controversies.