Olympism and youth

Doll-Tepper, Gudrun

Edited by [s.n.]. [Germany] - 2009

What makes competitive sport attractive for young people ? This paper outlines the current developments affecting young people that need to be considered by the Olympic and sports movements in planning and identifying opportunities for the future of competitive sport. Developments in life planning and leisure behaviour; global health problems; public awareness and media ; sport and physical education ; universality and individualisation ; youth and competition ; and sport as part of development aid all play a part in how and why young people participate in and "consume" sport. The cultural and educational programmes of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games provide ideal opportunities to gauge feedback from young people - a most vital strategy, given that they are the target audience for future developements in competitive sport. The literature suggests that ensuring quality physical education and sport for all in schools and strengthening collaboration between the school and sport systems are two opportunities that may encourage participation in sport by young people. Establishing connections between the physically inactive and the sport system is also necessary. Once a young person is engaged, closely linking education with a sporting career and ensuring social, medical and psychological care for young ahtletes is important, as is developing talent identification programmes based on an holistic approach. New and innovative opportunities for competition must be created, taking into account youth culture and sporting interests. In addition, promoting clean sport and disseminating awareness and education programmes with a focus on prevention and the fight against doping, which may be achieved by cooperating with athletes who are champions and role models showing perseverance and dedication and setting good moral standards, will support uptake and ongoing participation in sport. Finally, investing in future scientific research and using these findings for development of structures, programmes and initiatives in sport will allow the Olympic and sports movements to look to the future and create a sporting environment that meet the needs of the young people of the world.

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