Skip to main content

Everything You Need to Know About the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games 2018

The third edition of the sporting event will be held this October.

By | [email protected] | September 8, 2018 10:00am

The Olympic Torch in Jujuy. (Photo via Buenos Aires 2018).

In the midst of this Peso Palaver™, it’s easy to forget that this year is still set to be an exciting one for Argentina, and the city of Buenos Aires in particular, as it gears up to be an Art Basel City, host the G20 and welcome the largest multi-discipline sporting event in the country’s history.

Yes, the Youth Olympics are coming, look busy. From October 6th-18th, four thousand teenage superhumans aged between 15 and 18 will descend upon the city and attempt to run, swim and jump themselves onto the podium to win that elusive gold medal. 206 countries are being represented and among those athletes will be 149 Argentines hoping to bring home gold.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: with the country’s economy going down the toilet quicker than you can say “emerging markets currency contagion crisis” and political naughtiness abounding with scandal after scandal, why should you get excited about this event when you could be fretting yourself into an existential crisis?

Well, apart from the entertainment value of sitting on the sofa in your pajamas eating a whole dozen of empanadas and judging supremely-talented 16-year-olds for not quite managing to nail that Triple Full + 1/2 – layout with 1260 degree twist, it’s an opportunity to support some of the finest up-and-coming young Argentine athletes as they make their mark on the world stage in an event which will welcome thousands of visitors to Buenos Aires.

Luckily for you, The Bubble is here to give you the who’s who, the what’s what, the where’s where and the why’s why of the whole event.

Why? (Yes, we start with Why)

Bear with me, this a valid question, given that many of the athletes who compete in the adult Olympic Games are the same age or younger than those eligible to take part in the Youth Olympics. However, this event is different because it integrates a Culture and Education Program (CEP) based around five main themes: Social Responsibility, Skills Development, Olympism (?), Expression and Well-being and Healthy Lifestyles. The idea is to give the participating athletes to explore other cultures and develop the skills to become true ambassadors of their sport


Like the Olympic Games, the Youth Olympics take part every four years and cover both winter and summer sports. The first summer edition took place in Singapore in 2010, making this year the third-ever edition of the event. The Games will take place from October 6th – 18th this year.


Well, sport obvi. This year there are 241 total events, in 32 sports and 36 disciplines ranging from aquatics to handball to wrestling. This year sees the addition of four new sports to the program at the request of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee (or the even catchier “BAYOGOC”). The new sports are Karate, Dancesport (competitive breakdancing, like in the Step Up films), Roller Sports (roller speed skating) and Sport Climbing. Karate and Sport Climbing will also be added to the program at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In Karate, each bout will last two minutes, during which the two athletes score points according to correctly executed techniques of controlled punches, strikes and kicks.

For Dancesport, two breakers will go head to head in a battle, where one will perform first and then their opponent will respond and each round will be scored by five judges plus two referees – head judges – according to six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, performativity and musicality. Honestly, this sounds so lit, I can’t contain my excitement.

As for Roller Sports, 24 male and female skaters serve roller derby realness in a combined event that covers three distances – the 500m sprint, the 1,000m sprint and the 5,000m elimination, and the final ranking is based on the combined number of points earned across the races.

Finally, Sport Climbing will cover three disciplines: speed, bouldering and lead. In speed, the aim is to be the fastest to the top of a 15m-high wall, in bouldering, the objective is to overcome the most problems on a climbing route in the least number of attempts and in lead, the goal is to go as high as possible on a route on a 15m wall in six minutes.


The Youth Olympics will take place in four main venues:

Parque verde: includes Bosques de Palermo, Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis, the Cenard (National High Performance Sports Center) and the Club Hípico Argentino (the Argentine Equestrian Club).

Parque Tecnópolis: includes the Tecnópolis arena and Parque Sarmiento.

Parque Urbano: Puerto Madero and Parque Mujeres Argentinas.

Parque Olímpico de la Juventud: located in Villa Soldati in the South-West of Buenos Aires, next to the Youth Olympic Village. The complex reportedly cost ARS $2.25 billion (nearly US $60 million) to build and is made up of six buildings.

Certain disciplines which require a more complex set-up, such as surfing, will be held at independent venues such as the Paseo de la Costa in Vincente López, the Hurlingham Club and Náutico San Isidro.

The Olympic Village is located in Villa Soldati. The 3.5-hectare development is made up of 31 buildings of up to eight floors. Once the Games are over, the apartments will be lived in by families who have gone through an allocation process.


(Photo via La Nueva).

You can register for free access to the four Youth Olympic Parks and the independent venues through There are hundreds of thousands of passes available and there will be various points available throughout the city to pick up the wristbands. As the events aren’t ticketed, access to popular events will be allowed on a first come, first serve basis as all the venues have a maximum capacity for safety reasons.


Delfina Pignatiello. (Photo via Ariel Grinberg/Clarín).

149 Argentine athletes are taking part in the Games, and those “in the know” have already selected the most likely candidates to bring home a medal. The ones to watch are:

  1. Delfinda Pignatiello, 400 and 800m Freestyle
  2. Sol Ordas, Women’s Single Sculls
  3. José Luis Acuña, Taekwondo
  4. Teresa Romaione and Dante Cittadini, Two-Person Multihull – Nacra 15
  5. Sebastián Báez, Tennis
  6. Victoria Saputo, Boxing
  7. Men’s and Women’s Hockey5s
  8. Pablo Zaffaroni, Pole Vault
  9. Men’s Rugby 7’s
  10. Agustín Osorio, Javelin


#Pandi in his natural habitat. (Photo via Buenos Aires 2018).

The mascot for the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympics is #Pandi, inspired by the Argentine jaguar. The hashtag is compulsory and is meant to show his “strong digital profile,” because #Pandi is a Gen Z jaguar who’s most definitely down with the kids.

The Olympic Torch at Iguazu Falls. (Photo via Buenos Aires 2018).

#Pandi is currently accompanying the Olympic Torch as it travels more than 14 thousand kilometers around Argentina, from Iguazu Falls to Ushaia. The torch will return to Buenos Aires on October 6th for the Inaugural Ceremony, which will be the first in history not to be held in a stadium, instead taking place on Avenida 9 de Julio, in front of the Obelisk. Dare to be different guys.


The Buenos Aires victory ceremony theme song is called, unsurprisingly, “Olímpicos,” and was composed by renowned Argentine musician Leo Sujatovich. The piece features Sujatovich on keyboards and guitar, Nicolás Enrich on bandoneon, Jonathan Bisulca on trumpet, Juan Canosa on tenor and bass trombone, Fernando Chiappero on French horn, Guillermo Rubino and Natalia Cabello on violins and Paula Pomeraniec on cello.

“I’m passionate about making music for specific situations. As a starting point, I watched footage of past ceremonies. The award ceremony is a time of pure emotion, coming after the adrenaline of the game. The athletes cry… that represents a strong stimulus and it helps in the creation of the music,” Sujatovich told, adding that the use of the bandoneon was meant to evoke the distinctive sound of Argentine music.