Lawrence W. Judge, Jeffrey Petersen, and Matt Lyndunn, "The Best Kept Secret in Sports: The 2010 Youth Olympic Games

By Popovic, Megan L. | Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies, Annual 2009 | Go to article overview

Lawrence W. Judge, Jeffrey Petersen, and Matt Lyndunn, "The Best Kept Secret in Sports: The 2010 Youth Olympic Games


Popovic, Megan L., Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies


Lawrence W. Judge, Jeffrey Petersen, and Matt Lyndunn, "The Best Kept Secret in Sports: The 2010 Youth Olympic Games" International Review for the Sociology of Sport 44, no. 2-3 (2009), 173-191.

In 2007, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Jacques Rogge announced the inception of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) for 2010 and 2012. Concerned with the decline in sport and physical activity due to the rise in technology and shifting values of youth in the new "computer culture" (174), Rogge noted that the YOG was an effort by the IOC to combat the implications of a global shift in the health of the younger generation. Judge, Petersen & Lyndunn investigate the YOG the initiative through an examination of levels of awareness and perceptions held by athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and parents embedded in one way or another in the United States sports system.

Judge et al. introduce their research by contextualizing the background and purposes of the YOG. Rogge is acknowledged for his strong advocacy of the event, as well as the event's intention to help address the problematic link

between health and obesity evident in an increasingly sedentary adolescent population. In part, the YOG claim to promulgate and encourage the Olympic value of fair play, by placing a strong emphasis on education rather than competition.

Replicating the Olympic Games format on a much smaller scale, the 4000 Olympians (1000 for Winter YOG, 4000 for Summer YOG) will experience opening and closing ceremonies, 25 sporting events, life in the Olympic Village, and, inevitably, encounter the phenomenon of national rankings of countries. The authors note that there has been a paucity of research on the YOG, an event whose initial celebration is a mere year away. Media attention has been scant. Thus, this is a preliminary study addressing this knowledge gap; it aims to gather important data on opinions concerning participation in, as well as preparations underway in support of, the YOG.

A five-question survey was given to 268 participants from a wide-range of sporting and demographic backgrounds. They were asked five questions, using both Likert scaling and open-ended exploratory questions. The first two questions focused on ranking their personal awareness and belief of public awareness of the YOG. They found that for both questions, responses were skewed towards "very unaware." The researchers conjectured that this may be due to the fact that the public announcement of the YOG only barely preceded the survey's dissemination. When asked about Rogge's goals of broadening youth participation and the promulgation of Olympic values, the responses received were relatively low in support that this goal was realistic or attainable. …

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