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Inside the Youth Olympic Villages at Gangwon 2024

International Olympic Committee

27 January 2024 – From Athlete365 House and the Athlete365 Lounge to the dining hall and K-culture workshops, every aspect of the activities designed for the athletes taking part in the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Gangwon 2024 ensures they feel comfortable, at home and prepared to deliver their best performance.

Gangwon 2024 encompasses two dedicated Youth Olympic Villages, providing accommodation for approximately 2,650 athletes and entourage members throughout the duration of the YOG. The Gangneung Youth Olympic Village, in Gangneung-Wonju National University, houses about 1,600 athletes, competing in the Gangneung, PyeongChang and Hoengseong clusters. The Jeongseon High1 Youth Olympic Village, within the High1 Resort, provides accommodation for about 200 athletes in the Jeongseon region.

“It’s such an experience,” says German curler Joy Sutor. “It was always my dream to compete at the Youth Olympic Games, and now it’s a dream come true. We’re together with athletes from other countries, the food is good, and everybody is so nice; it’s beautiful. It’s also been nice to learn something about [the Republic of] Korea.”

Fin Melville Ives, a freestyle skier from New Zealand, couldn’t agree more. “It’s been really fun exploring, exchanging pins with other countries and doing the activities,” he says.

The place to congregate

The centrepiece of each Youth Olympic Village is Athlete365 House, home to the (AEP), which gives athletes the opportunity to “compete” in a more relaxed environment. Activities include doping control education, an escape room, table tennis, a “football pool”, an area to meditate with a VR experience and another to learn how to capture and edit footage. Additionally, the Athlete365 Lounge welcomes athletes to chill out on comfy sofas or play board games. There are also daily prizes up for grabs for those who score highest on the fun PinQuest app, including an exclusive Athlete365 mittens and beanie set.

The Athlete Role Models (ARMs) also play an important role at Athlete365 House. They actively encourage engagement with the young athletes, sharing their Olympic experiences. These ARMs support the programme by being present, educating athletes, and playing games, taking pictures, chatting and dining with them, fostering a positive and inspiring environment.

But perhaps the most competitive contest in the Youth Olympic Village is the race to collect as many pins as possible from athletes from other countries. Each of the 78 National Olympic Committees at Gangwon 2024 has a pin collection, and these pins get exchanged among athletes and volunteers, adorning their accreditation lanyards and serving as a priceless souvenir of their Olympic experience.

Nutritious food and focus on health

Another social hub is the Youth Olympic Village dining hall, which serves a nutritious range of Korean, Asian and Western options designed to keep the athletes well fuelled as they expend large amounts of energy competing in the sub-zero temperatures.

Both Youth Olympic Villages also have fitness centres that are open from 7 a.m. to midnight, equipped with weightlifting equipment, treadmills, bikes, yoga mats and recovery equipment for optimal indoor training. If athletes need medical attention, counselling or physiotherapy during the YOG, they can visit the medical centre, while experts are also on hand at Athlete365 House to offer advice on injury prevention techniques, anti-doping and safe sport.

A cultural exchange

Best of all, athletes are treated to a cultural programme each evening. Some of the highlights include traditional Korean paper-making workshops and K-pop performances, with athletes getting the opportunity to learn the dances themselves. This ensures that they leave with a better understanding of the host country, adding to all the different cultures and languages they encounter during this once-in-a-lifetime experience of living in a Youth Olympic Village.


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