SINGAPORE, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- It is here in Singapore that the Olympic dream finds its youthful version.
On a floating platform in Marina Bay, the inaugural Youth Olympic Games opened its arms to about 3,600 athletes from the world.
Singapore's President S. R. Nathan declared open the Games to the roaring cheers of 27,000 spectators facing the beautiful skyline of the city state.
After just two and a half years of preparation, Singapore is ready for its biggest ever event to embark.
"Tonight we open a new chapter in the history of the Olympic movement," said International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge, the founding father of the Youth Games.
Rogge put forward the Youth Games concept in 2001 and saw an unanimous approval from the IOC members at the 119th IOC session in Guatemala City for the creation of a youth version of the Olympic Games in 2007.
"From this moment on, young people around the world have a chance to participate in a global event that combines sport, education and culture," he said.
In the 13-day sport gala, athletes aged between 14 and 18 will be engaged in more than 50 culture and education programs that stress the Olympic value of excellence, friendship and respect.
"There is a need to provide education to young people at an age when they are receptive. We want to give them the skills for their later life, no only skills in sport and also outside sport in their normal social life," Rogge said before the opening ceremony.
"We want to have a very strong prevention of doping. We want to help them to form a healthy lifestyle, prevention of injuries, prevention of infection diseases, also the social responsibilities like caring for the environment," he said. "And also help them to respect the Olympic values of respecting fair play."
Former winter Olympic champion Yang Yang agreed that it was important that the youngsters learn the Olympic value.
"As a former athlete, I feel that competitive sport is getting more commercialized and entertaining rather than educating. Some of the young athletes don't know where to go," said Yang who was among some 30 Role Models for the Games named by the IOC.