The first Youth Olympic Games conclude successfully in Singapore on Thursday

By USOC and USA Wrestling | Aug. 30, 2010, 10:40 a.m. (ET)
Youth Olympic Games ceremonies photo courtesy of U.S. Olympic Committee

With the conclusion of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Thursday, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) extends its congratulations to all Youth Olympic athletes from around the world for participating in and contributing to the successful inaugural staging of the event. The USOC also applauds the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose vision and commitment to youth have sparked a new generation to live the Olympic spirit, and to the Singapore Organizing Committee, for demonstrating its passion for sport and excellence in staging an event of this magnitude.

The Youth Olympic Games took place in Singapore from Aug. 14-26, welcoming 3,600 young athletes ages 14-18 from 204 National Olympic Committees. The event featured competition in 26 sports and, for the first time, a Culture and Education Program (CEP). The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games aimed to inspire youth to embrace, embody and express the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

The USOC congratulates all 82 members of Team USA for their hard-fought performances in Singapore, and more importantly, for being excellent ambassadors for the United States. The team also came away with invaluable international experience, personal growth, and significant cultural and educational opportunities.

Team USA completed the Youth Olympic Games with 24 medals, including six gold medals, eight silver medals and 10 bronze medals. Overall, Team USA won medals in 10 sports: basketball, diving, fencing, judo, swimming, taekwondo, track & field, triathlon, volleyball and wrestling.

In wrestling, the U.S. effort was led by silver medalist Jordan Rogers (Spokane, Wash.), who won a silver medal in men's freestyle at 76 kg. The three other U.S. wrestlers competed admirably and fell just short of medals. Lucas Sheridan (Concord, Calif.) placed fourth in Greco-Roman at 85 kg and Quinton Murphy (Holley, N.Y) placed fourth at 63 kg. Jenna Burkert (Middle Island, N.Y.) placed fifth in women's freestyle at 60 kg.

"Overall this has been a great experience for the kids, " said U.S. wrestling coach Mark Halvorson. "It was a tough wrestling competition. There was a lot of interaction with kids from other countries and the wrestling venue is great. It definitely had a big time feel."

Team USA saw break-out performances in sports including judo, where Max Schneider (Chicago, Ill.) and Katelyn Bouyssou (Hope, R.I.) each captured gold. In fencing, Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.) won silver in sabre, Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) won silver in foil, and the Americas 1 team captured bronze in the team event. In triathlon, Kelly Whitley (Geneva, Ill.) and Kevin McDowell (Geneva, Ill.) together won three medals: silver in boys, bronze in girls and bronze in the mixed team relay. U.S. athletes won eight medals on the track and on the field, with golds in the girls' 400 meters (Robin Reynolds, Miami, Fla.), and gold in both mixed team medley relays.

The U.S. wrestlers also participated in a Beach Wrestling competition, which was not included in the official medal standings. Burkert won a bronze medal in the women's Above 60 kg/132 lbs. division, and Rogers placed fourth in the men's Above 70 kg/154 lbs. division. All four U.S. wrestlers participated in the Beach Wrestling event.

U.S. athletes from every sport were excited about this amazing opportunity.

"There's a lot to take away from this experience" said archer Miranda Leek (Des Moines, Iowa). "It's not just one thing. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It really opens your eyes to a lot - the high level competition, different cultures, all of the CEP activities - it's all been really fun. And this was my first time in a big-time venue with crowds, cameras, jumbotrons and everything. It definitely went by so fast, and I'm so glad I was able to participate."

"These Games have been a really cool experience" fencing athlete Alexander Massialas said. "It's really unique and not a lot of people get to do this - we're the first at the Youth Olympic Games. Obviously competing was really cool, and so has being in Singapore. There's been so much for us to do throughout the Games. Some of the athletes we knew of before, but this was the first time we got to meet them and talk to them."

The U.S. Olympic Committee congratulates each of the athletes for their efforts.

"We could not be more proud of our athletes for all that they accomplished at the first Youth Olympic Games, both on and off the field of play" said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "They represented our country with enthusiasm and integrity. They demonstrated the very best of the Olympic Ideals, building friendships with young athletes from around the world while competing to the very best of their ability. That is the essence of Olympism, and we know we will see many great things from these athletes in the years to come."