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Russia to finish Youth Olympics with most medals

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Russia clinched the top spot in the Youth Olympic medal standings, two days before the Closing Ceremony in Buenos Aires and eight months after it was excluded from the PyeongChang Winter Games for its doping problems.

The Russians have 52 medals with 25 golds so far, distancing the rest of the world.

1. Russia — 52 total, 25 gold
2. China — 36 total, 18 gold
3. Mixed NOCs — 36 total, 12 gold
4. Japan — 34 total, 14 gold
5. Italy — 31 total, 10 gold
10. U.S. — 15 total, 4 gold

China and Russia went one-two in total medals at the first two Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010 and Nanjing, China in 2014. The U.S. has never topped a Youth Olympic total medal table, be it Summer or Winter Games.

The U.S. has, however, earned the most total medals at the last six Summer Olympics, beginning with the 1996 Atlanta Games.

The Youth Olympics, for athletes ages 14 to 18, do not emphasize medal counts (plus have many medal events where athletes from different nations compete on the same team). The Games include many Olympic events and some that are not on the Olympic program, including break dancing, where a Russian who goes by Bumblebee earned gold last week.

The next Youth Olympics are the winter version in the IOC base of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2020, followed by the summer version in 2022 in Dakar, Senegal, the first Olympic Games of any kind to be held in Africa.

The Youth Olympics conclude with the last full day of medal competition on Wednesday and the Closing Ceremony on Thursday.

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Sport climbing debuts at Youth Olympics ahead of Tokyo 2020

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A dramatic late fall decided the first Youth Olympic sport climbing medals Tuesday, two years before the sport debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo.

Austrian Laura Lammer led after the first two of three events — speed climbing and bouldering — and looked destined for gold, in the final lead event, two holds from the top of the 15-meter wall. But Lammer fell, dropping her to the bronze medal while countrywoman Sandra Lettner took gold.

Slovenia’s Vita Lukan earned silver in an event without an American competitor.

Tuesday’s event resembled what sport climbing will look like at Tokyo 2020.

Men and women each compete in speed, bouldering and lead with results combined to determine medalists.

From Tokyo 2020: Speed climbing pits two climbers against each other, both climbing a fixed route on a 15-meter wall at a 95-degree angle. Winning times are generally between five and eight seconds. In bouldering, climbers scale a number of fixed routes on a four-meter wall in a specified time without safety ropes. In lead climbing, athletes attempt to climb as high as possible on a wall measuring over 15 meters in height within a fixed time with safety ropes.

The Youth Olympics, for athletes ages 14 to 18, debuted in Singapore in 2010, followed in 2014 in Nanjing, China. Youth Winter Games were in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2012 and Lillehammer, Norway, in 2016.

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Youth Olympics award first medals in break dancing

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Let it be known that the first Youth Olympic gold medalists in break dancing are Sergei “Bumblebee” Chernyshev of Russia and Ramu Kawai of Japan.

Teenagers, some of whom went by nicknames like Bad Matty, Senorita Carlota and KennyG, went head-to-head in dance battles in preliminaries on Sunday and quarterfinals, semifinals and finals Monday. They performed on a mat atop an outdoor basketball court to a musical beat and emcees in Buenos Aires.

Judges determined winners using six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, perfomativity and musicality. A mixed-gender team event is set for Wednesday and Thursday.

Bumblebee, dancing in a white track suit with Russian flag colors, won all four rounds against France’s Martin Lejeune. In the girls’ final, the 2018 World Youth champion Kawai swept Canadian Emma Misak in four rounds.

Bronze medals went to Japan’s Shigeyuki “Shigekix” Nakarai and South Korean Kim “Yell” Yeri.

“Breaking (also called b-boying or b-girling) is an urban dance style,” according to the Games’ official website. “The urban dance style originated during the mid 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City.”

The U.S. did not have a breakdancing entrant. Athletes qualified by submitting videos of themselves online, with the winners being selected for the World Youth Breaking Championships in Japan, where 11 athletes qualified for the Youth Olympics.

The IOC announced in 2016 that break dancing would debut at the Youth Olympics in 2018.

Break dancing has never been up for a vote for Olympic inclusion, but the World DanceSport Federation is recognized by the IOC, the first step toward possible addition to the Olympic Games.

The Youth Olympics, for athletes ages 14 to 18, debuted in Singapore in 2010, followed in 2014 in Nanjing, China. Youth Winter Games were in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2012 and Lillehammer, Norway, in 2016.

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