Youth Olympics

Youth Olympics begin with festive Opening Ceremony in Nanjing (photos)

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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.

U.S. roster for Youth Olympics includes London Olympian

President Obama to female Olympians: ‘Y’all crushed it’ (video)

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President Barack Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Obama opened his speech by saying that he had planned on doing a floor routine with Simone Biles, before ultimately deciding that the room was too crowded. First Lady Michelle Obama interjected to remind the crowd that her husband “can’t touch his toes.”

The President then singled out the athletic accomplishments of Olympians including Biles, Michelle Carter, Simone Manuel, Claressa Shields, Kristin Armstrong, Kim Rhode, Allyson Felix, Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali, Kristi Castlin, Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps and the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

He also recognized: Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab, Sam Kendricks, the U.S. Army reservist who put down his pole and stood at attention when the national anthem started playing, Will Claye, who proposed to U.S. hurdler Queen Harrison after winning an Olympic silver medal, and Abbey D’Agostino, who helped an opponent to her feet after a crash.

“That is exactly what the Olympic spirit and the American spirit should be all about,” Obama said about the sportsmanship of D’Agostino.

The President was particularly enthusiastic about the performance of the female athletes.

“2016 belonged to America’s women Olympians,” Obama said. “Y’all crushed it.”

Watch Obama’s full speech here.

After Obama’s speech, Biles presented him with a surfboard autographed by the Olympians in attendance.

“I’m going to have a lot of time to surf next year,” Obama said.

MORE: Photos of Team USA at the White House

Photos: Team USA at the White House

Twitter: @TeamUSA
Twitter: @TeamUSA
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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Below are some of the best photos of Team USA from inside the White House: