Rogge gives high praise before closing Youth Olympics

Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:22am EDT
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By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A crescendo of drums, an eclectic array of singers and an elaborate fireworks display brought an end to the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) on Thursday.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge closed the event on the world's largest floating platform at Marina Bay and handed over the Olympic flag to the mayor of Chinese city Nanjing, the hosts of the 2014 youth Games.

The ceremony featured messages from three YOG ambassadors and Olympic gold medalists -- Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, American swimmer Michael Phelps and Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva -- with all the youth athletes situated on the stage.

Rogge was given rapturous applause by the 27,000 capacity crowd after telling Singapore they had done a "superb job" in hosting the Games, an event he had been pushing for throughout his presidency.

Earlier, in his closing news conference, Rogge said: "The Youth Olympic Games have exceeded vastly my highest expectations."

"I always knew it would be well organized, but I did not expect this level of perfection.

"I now have 22 Olympic Games under my belt but (Singapore) ranks at the very top."

The 12-day event involved 3,500 athletes aged from 14 to 18 from more than 200 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) competing in 26 Olympic sports.   Continued...