Youth Olympics

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IOC postpones Dakar Youth Olympics by 4 years to 2026

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GENEVA — The 2022 Dakar Youth Olympics were postponed by four years on Wednesday, in further fallout from delaying the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said the decision was discussed two days ago in a telephone conversation with Senegal President Macky Sall. It means Africa will have to wait until 2026 for the continent’s first Olympic hosting duty.

“This was really too heavy workload for everybody,” Bach said during an online news conference, citing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics now opening one year later.

The Beijing Winter Olympics are due to be held in February 2022.

“We would have had to master five [Olympic] Games in just three years,” Bach said.

Bach dismissed a suggestion that a similar postponement for a full four-year Olympic cycle was an option for Tokyo, if the global health crisis persists.

The situations “cannot be compared in any way,” the IOC leader said. “We are and we remain fully committed to celebrate Tokyo 2020 next year in July and August.”

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MORE: IOC preps different scenarios for Tokyo Olympics

South Korea set to host 2024 Youth Winter Olympics; North Korea could be involved

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic events are set to soon return to South Korea at some of the venues used for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.

On the sidelines of the Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, the International Olympic Committee will vote this week to approve Gangwon province as host of the 2024 Youth Winter Games.

North Korea is not currently part of the 2024 project despite earlier hopes of cooperation between the neighboring countries.

The fourth edition of the Winter Youth Olympics would be the first held outside Europe. Austria and Norway hosted previous editions.

The South Korean proposal includes the cities of PyeongChang and Gangneung, which were the hub of the 2018 Olympics.

North Korea could yet be involved “if the conditions are right,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

The IOC executive board also agreed to add the new sports of baseball5, a street version of the game with five players per team, and wushu, a Chinese martial art, to the program for the 2022 Youth Olympics in Dakar, Senegal. Those Games will be held from late October into November.

MORE: 2020 Youth Winter Olympics TV schedule

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Figure skater, 14, lights Lausanne Youth Olympic cauldron at Opening Ceremony

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Gina Zehnder, a 14-year-old ice dancer, lit the cauldron at the Youth Olympic Opening Ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday.

“Welcome home,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a speech, noting that IOC headquarters are in Lausanne, before joining an athlete from each continent for a selfie. “Here you are in the heart of the Olympic Movement.”

Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA airs Opening Ceremony coverage at 8 p.m. on Thursday, followed by 13 days of competition. A full Youth Olympic TV schedule is here.

Zehnder, the youngest athlete in the Swiss delegation, isn’t the youngest person to light an Olympic cauldron. Four years ago, Norway’s 12-year-old Princess Ingrid Alexandra was the final torch bearer at the Lillehammer Youth Winter Games.

Earlier Thursday, each nation’s flag bearer marched out in the countries’ alphabetical order, with Lexie Madigan carrying the Stars and Stripes. Luger Reannyn Weiler was to carry the U.S. flag at a separate Opening Ceremony in St. Moritz, where mountain events will be held.

The Youth Winter Games feature athletes ages 14-18 in traditional Olympic sports and other events not on the traditional Winter Games program, such as monobobsled, women’s Nordic combined and ski mountaineering.

The U.S. roster of 96 athletes is here. Past U.S. Youth Winter Olympians included PyeongChang snowboard halfpipe gold medalist Chloe Kim and Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel.

The U.S. tied for the most gold medals with 10 at the last Youth Winter Games in Lillehammer. Innsbruck, Austria, hosted the first Youth Winter Olympics in 2012.

MORE: IOC details rules on political protests at Olympics

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