Rogge's Games : establishing the Youth Olympic Games as a new event in the Olympic Movement / Svein Erik Nordhagen & Jon Helge Lesjø

Nordhagen, Svein Erik | Helge Lesjø, Jon

The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) were established as a new event in the Olympic family at a session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in July 2007. This paper illuminates why and how this new event was established. It turns out that the formally unanimous decision to establish the event was taken in a contested terrain. Much attention has been put on the agency of the then president of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, and his role as an institutional leader is discussed in a context where the pressure of tradition is strong. Securing the character of an organization which has become an institution is a central task for institutional leadership, and developing an ‘external mechanism’ or a new subfield like the YOG is a way to explore this. Appealing to original ideas and values, such as the educational role of the Games, is of importance but would in itself not be enough to convince the fellow members of the IOC’s decision-making bodies. Acting politically as a ‘statesman’ with the skills and ability to manoeuvre among different interests and wills was equally a necessity to convince the decision makers to welcome this new event into the Olympic movement.

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