Step right up: the Nanjing 2014 Video Booth

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The athletes’ village at any Olympics is always a hub of camaraderie, bonding and hijinks – Johnny Quinn’s Olympic bathroom escape, anyone? The Youth Olympic Village at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics is apparently no exception.

The International Olympic Committee is doing its part to promote those good times with the Nanjing 2014 Video Booth, into which step village residents for solo and group interviews. And if you want a good example of what happens when you ask a bunch of teenagers – who happen to be among the world’s best athletes – to interview themselves, this video of Americans Tyler Merkley, Myles Marshall and Kenneth Brinson is a great example.

All three are track-and-field athletes: Merkley competes in discuss, Brinson in hammer and Marshall in the 800m; Marshall’s father, John Marshall, competed in the same event at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

The first video prompt is to say hello in their native language. Easy enough, the guys nail it with two hellos and a ‘sup.

Next up, their favorite part of living in the Young Athletes Village: The friendly volunteers, meeting new people from distant countries, comfy beds – and, of course, the all-you-can-eat environment.

“And I like all the free food,” says Merkley. “Free food’s delicious.”

Their victory dance? Better to watch than read about – and definitely worth the watch.

The last two questions highlight a universal truth about teenagers in that, when you ask three teens a serious question, you’ll get answers that range from the sarcastic to the refreshingly honest.

Where do they want to be in 10 years? Apart from the competing in the Olympics, they just want the basics.

“Hopefully I’ll still be running track and doing something great in the track world,” says Marshall. “And alive. Yeah.”

What does it take to be a true champion? Hard work and dedication, says Marshall, and setting goals high, says Merkley.

“I think the biggest thing would probably be, believe in yourself and surround yourself with good people who are trying to accomplish high goals like what you want to do,” says Brinson, a hammer athlete.

That earnest response earns an approving nod from Merkley – who follows that up with a mockingly tender shoulder pat.

And scene.