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Nanjing Youth Olympic Games 2014: From War Zone to International Spotlight

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Location: Nanjing, China

Description

2014 Youth Olympic Games open in Nanjing, China.

The 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games opened Saturday (16 August) in Nanjing, China.

Greece led the traditional parade of flags on a rain-soaked night in the northeastern Chinese city.

The 12-day Youth Olympics are expected to attract more than 3,000 athletes from around the world, from the ages of 15 to 18.

The IOC announced that athletes from the Ebola-affected region of Africa will be excluded from combat sports and aquatic events at the Youth Olympic Games which start Saturday.

The outbreak forced Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia to withdraw.

The Liberian flag was still paraded into the stadium Saturday while the IOC and local organizers in China said they are confident a safety policy worked out in conjunction with the World Health Organization will be effective.

After the parade of nations, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach concluded his opening remarks by asking the audience to join him in a mass “selfie” with their smart phones.

Chinese president Ji Xinping then officially opened the Games.

Besides Xi and president Bach, others officials present at the ceremony included United Nations Secretary General Ban-ki Moon and former IOC president Jacques Rogge, who is credited with creating the Youth Olympic Games concept during his tenure.

There were several cultural performances before the YOG flame was carried in and Chinese Olympic diving champion Chen Ruolin lit the cauldron.

The Youth Olympic Games will continue in Nanjing until 28 August.
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