4th Winter Youth Olympics celebrates growth of young athletes in closing ceremony

The fourth edition of the Winter Youth Olympics wrapped up in eastern South Korea on Thursday, as the closing ceremony marked the growth of teenage athletes during the two-week competition. Gangwon Province hosted a record 1,802 athletes from 78 nations during the first Winter Youth Games to take place outside Europe. They got to compete at many of the same facilities that held events for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games across Gangwon. Host South Korea finished with seven gold, six silver and four bronze medals, including two gold medals on Thursday from figure skating and snowboarding. The closing ceremony was held under the theme, "Shine Again." It was a nod to the motto of the competition, "Grow Together, Shine Forever." "The closing ceremony encapsulates the narrative of young athletes confronting new challenges in the future, and drawing strength from the light within themselves that they discovered during Gangwon 2024," the event's organizing committee said. "These young athletes, who have grown throughout the 14-day competition period, should cherish the light within themselves, as they stride forward into a new tomorrow." The ceremony took place at the Gangneung Olympic Park in Gangneung, some 160 kilometers east of Seoul. After the flags representing the participating nations arrived on the scene, a video showing photos shared by athletes on social media during the competition was played. The ceremony also recognized the services of volunteers with the playing of a special video. Three female and three male athletes from each continent and each sport represented all athletes in thanking the volunteers. After another video, showing competition highlights from the past two weeks, the digital flame -- the first of its kind in Youth Olympic history -- was extinguished to mark the end of the closing ceremony. Moongcho, the mascot of Gangwon 2024, and eight volunteers scattered snowflakes over the digital cauldron. Powered by cloud computing technology, the digital flame stayed lit throughout the t wo-week competition and changed its color based on real-time weather data in Gangwon Province. Source: Yonhap News Agency