Youth Olympics: Glasgow a safe choice, says Coe

LAUSANNE (AFP) - Glasgow would be the ideal safe pair of hands to award the hosting of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), British Olympic Association (BOA) president Sebastian Coe told AFP in Lausanne on Wednesday.

Glasgow, which will host the Commonwealth Games next year, is competing against the Colombian city of Medellin and Argentinian capital Buenos Aires.

They will learn their fate after the final presentations to International Olympic Committee (IOC) members on Thursday.

Coe, the mastermind behind the tremendously successful hosting of the London Olympics last year, said the YOG, the brainchild of IOC president Jacques Rogge, was still finding its feet and Glasgow could take it a step further in developing.

"The Youth Olympic Games are still young (the first was in Singapore in 2010), its roots are not very deep," said Coe, who will be accompanied in the presentation by among others, a 15-year-old girl Elizabeth Pollard.

"I would equate it to a young person still using stabilisers on a bike, and who are not quite ready to take them off.

"It's not a criticism, Jacques Rogge said it would take time.

"Glasgow can help in this process. It is a safe, warm and welcoming city and can really connect with youth."

Coe, who was also the driving force behind the successful London bid for the 2012 Games, said that the YOG were not just about sport.

"Of course you have your magical sporting moments with Jade Jones winning gold in Singapore in 2010 and then going on to win Olympic taekwondo gold in London last year," said the 56-year-old.

"However, the Youth Olympic Games are about much more than that, for it can play a pretty vital role in a world full of challenges and schisms at the moment.

"It brings young people together from different cultures and different religions and gets them not only to compete together but to learn about their respective differences in background.

"Glasgow is a wonderful city, I'm not going to pretend I'm Glaswegian, but I know it well. The city understands sport and it also understands how sport can help in society."

Olympic cycling great Chris Hoy, who is an ambassador for the bid, said that winning for Glasgow would be a huge moment for the city.

"It would be massive for Glasgow," said the 37-year-old Scotsman, who won six Olympic track cycling gold medals and 11 world titles.

"It would continue the post Commonwealth Games momentum to encourage younger people to continue to play sport.

"Imagine a 13-year-old watching the different sports in next year's Commonwealth Games, getting inspired by that and then taking one of them up with the goal of competing in it at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. I would have loved that chance!"