Their ambition is to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and adopt and live by the Olympic Values. Their challenge to host cities is to put on an event which balances sport, education and culture. To host an event which is about more than just sport. To be innovative and to reach youth communities across their nation and around the world.
A commendable ambition or an impossible task? It may be too soon to tell, but Singapore, host city for the first ever Youth Olympic Games, certainly rose to the challenge and gave it their best shot.
I've just spent six days at the Games, and they far exceeded my expectations - they were bigger, better and more glamorous that I had thought that they would be. And they embraced the Olympic Values of friendship, excellence and respect.
Below the surface, the Games were much more than just a sporting competition. By staying in the athletes village for the duration of the Games, the athletes had the chance initially to concentrate on their competition and then to take part in a range of cultural and education workshops, activities and programmes. They learnt from their peers from around the world, developed communication and team working skills, explored issues related to healthy active lifestyles and thought about their responsibilities as role models, elite athletes and members of their community.
Running educational activities for such a broad range of young people is immensely challenging, but the organisations involved designed bitesize opportunities which, for the most part, were digital, engaging, fun and innovative – there was barely a suit in sight, and lectures, lengthy speeches and presentations were almost entirely off the agenda. It was refreshing to see the Olympic Movement present itself in a more modern way.
Singapore's schools also embraced the cultural learning opportunities presented by the Games, twinning with and researching countries which many of them probably couldn't have named or pointed to on a map before Singapore won the right to host the Games.
Organisers then stepped away from traditional Games protocol and opened the athletes village up to students and invited them to showcase their work, so they could share it with the athletes and National Olympic Committees in an engaging and fun environment. It was wonderful to see Singaporean children meeting athletes from the countries that they had researched, engaging in conversations that would never have happened if not for the Games.
In some ways, this is all much closer to De Coubertin's vision – the marriage of culture, education and sport – than the modern Games are 114 years on. But is it a step backwards or a giant leap forwards? Personally I think it’s great, and very forward thinking – but then I’m probably bias as the vision is very similar to that of our own Games – to inspire a generation of children and young people to choose sport and embrace the Olympic Values.
Either way, there was much for us to learn from our colleagues in Singapore, particularly around education, and it was a privilege to see this new event firmly cement itself in the world's sporting calendar.
Andrew Johnston won one heck of a prize through the Deloitte Business Challenge and spent two weeks in Singapore experiencing the Games first hand – read his account of his time there