The International Olympic Committee announced today that they would be adding an 800 free relay to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, which will head back to Southeast Asia and specifically to Nanjing, China.
The Youth Olympics have already been known to push the envelope with multi-gender events, including mixed 400 free and medley relays in swimming before the Europeans decided to do the same. They’re taking things more traditional by adding single-gender 800 free relays, but they’re still important additions.
As this event continues to grow in stature (the Americans, along with many other teams, were reluctant to send their best athletes in 2010), it will serve as a valuable tool for testing out events. The competition is held wholly in the spirit of that – competition – and are a great way for athletes to gain some international exposure without overwhelming pressure.
Other new events for 2014 include a team diving competition that will have mixed-gender teams, competing from different boards, and even combinations of different countries. In track & field, they’ve added an 8×100 mixed-gender relay, which could be great fun as well. In Canoeing, head-to-head racing will be added in the slalom events.
This is what these Olympic sports need to keep fans interested – some youth, some enthusiasm, and some creativity.