Golden 25 -- #20 Alexander Popov

(ATR) The chairman of the coordination commission for the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics will earn his spurs if he can help deliver an exciting YOG that improves upon the 2010 edition.

(ATR) The chairman of the coordination commission for the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics will earn his spurs this year if he can help deliver an exciting YOG that shows improvements on the 2010 edition.

If Singapore was the testing ground, then the second edition must certainly raise the bar. Alexander Popov is tasked with guiding the Chinese city’s preparations through the tricky months to the opening. The 42-year-old, in partnership with Chinese sports authorities and YOG organizers, will try to help cement the YOG as an important event in the Olympic cycle.

Popov has more on his plate than he expected. Since taking up the IOC presidency Thomas Bach has expressed a desire to breathe fresh life into the YOG concept.

One of the decisions made at the four-day Executive Board brainstorming in Montreux in December was to invite skateboarding, sport climbing, and roller sport to stage demonstrations at the YOG set for August 16-28. The Chinese martial art of Wu Shu is also putting on an exhibition showcase.

The move is designed to be a springboard for new sports to eventually gain Olympic status.

The challenge for Popov is how to manage the integration and promotion of these demonstration sports at the YOG without detracting from the medal sports.

An IOC member since 2008, Popov’s IOC career is its ascendancy. He was on the evaluation commission for the Rio 2016 Games and is now a key member of the coordination commission. The Russian swimming great also sits on the marketing commission.

2013 ranking: unranked

Reported by Mark Bisson

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