LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
The historical city of Nanjing was brimming with energy and youthful vitality as approximately 3,800 athletes from around the world gathered in Nanjing for the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, held Aug. 16 at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center.
Proudly representing the U.S. delegation were 92 athletes, led by Kendall Yount, who was selected to represent Team USA as flag bearer.
“It was such an amazing feeling to represent Team USA and walk into the Opening Ceremony with all the other nations in the Parade of Flags,” said Yount. “As soon as I saw our country’s flag flash across the screen and heard the crowd, I thought, ‘This is it. The Games are finally here,’ and everything started to feel very real. All my teammates have been so supportive, and I know we’re all excited to compete.”
"On behalf of the entire U.S. delegation, I'd like to congratulate Kendall on this tremendous honor," said Charlie Paddock, chef de mission for Team USA. “Kendall’s commitment to excellence is evident in her achievements both on and off the field of play, and we were thrilled to watch her represent Team USA.”
Following the Parade of Flags, the athletes were welcomed by Li Xuedong, president of the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee, and Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, who challenged the athletes to capture the moment by setting a record for the most #YOGselfies.
“With the hashtag, you are sending a strong message around the world,” said Bach. “You are showing your passion for sport and for fair competition. You are demonstrating that Olympic sport reaches beyond competition. It’s about sharing, learning and making friends across our globe.”
And with the #YOGselfie, signifying the universal gesture of friendship, the ceremony shifted back to the Nanjing 2014 motto, “Share the Games. Share our Dreams.”
Kendall is sending back photos of her time at the Games, and we're delighted to be able to share them with you here! We'll have more from Kendall and coach Sherman soon, including photos from the opening ceremony, so check back regularly!