Science and health journalist for the BBC, NBC and the Guardian. Also work in financial journalism and as a sports writer for the New York Times, Al Jazeera, FT, VICE & others. dcwriter89[a]gmail.com.
The Youth Olympic Games have always been intended as a platform to even bigger and better things, and many of the medallists at Buenos Aires 2018 can legitimately dream of sparkling careers in their chosen sports.
But many of the kayakers on the waters of Puerto Madero this week may have been left wondering if this is as good as it will get.
“I honestly don’t know how long I’ll be able to continue,” said Zola Lewandowski (GER), who won a silver medal in the women’s canoe obstacle slalom on Tuesday. “I want to keep doing canoeing as long as I can, but it costs a lot
Sprains, strains and broken bones are part and parcel of sport competition but kayakers are more accustomed than most athletes to serious high-speed challenges and life-threatening danger.
Slalom competitors at Puerto Madero are launched into the water from a trampoline at the start of the race while sitting in their boat.
“Every time I jump from the trampoline in training, something goes wrong,” said Stella Sukhanova (KAZ), who won bronze in the women’s kayak head to head sprint on Friday (12 October).
It is not uncommon to hear of young athletes who forgo teenage freedoms in pursuit of sporting excellence. But few have made so drastic a lifestyle choice as the USA athlete Ria Sribar.
At the age of just 12, Sribar left her family and moved halfway around the world to follow her kayaking dreams, and four years later she is still in a foreign land dedicating her life to her sport.
With such sacrifice, losing in the quarter-finals of the Youth Olympic Games on Monday was tough.
Belgium’s Jules Vangeel has always had low expectations of his ability in a kayak. When he first began paddling four years ago, his main goal at training sessions was simply to avoid capsizing.
While he could not be faulted for enthusiasm, Vangeel’s initial failures to even stay upright, did not suggest a bright future.
“In the first hour after I arrived, I capsized instantly, even though I was in one of the most stable boats,” he said.
The preliminary rounds of the Buenos Aires 2018 3x3 basketball competitions may have continued as usual on Sunday but the mood around Parque Mujeres Argentinas was sombre as athletes and coaches mourned the sudden death of Patrick Baumann.
“I met him at so many events - the women’s national 3x3 championships in Italy, world championships - everyone knew him and what he had done for basketball,” said Andrea Capobianco, coach of Italy’s men’s 3x3 team at the Youth Olympic Games.
Known for their distinctive long horns, the Ankole cattle of western Uganda have evolved over millennia to withstand their harsh environment, with its lengthy dry spells and abundance of local maladies such as trypanosomiasis, a disease spread by the tsetse fly. But after flourishing for almost 10,000 years, the Ankole have begun to rapidly disappear.
Farmland is dwindling in Uganda due to the expanding human population, and Ankole require vast areas to graze. Local herders have responded to ...
Kim Jong-un has had his fair share of headlines in 2018, be it for threatening nuclear Armageddon, jousting verbally with Donald Trump, or signing peace agreements. But every time he makes the news, two very unlikely beneficiaries prepare for their phones to start ringing, writes David Cox.
Howard X, a political satirist living in Hong Kong, and Seoul-based Minyong Kim - who goes by the professional name of Dragon Kim - are the sole members of what they call the Kim Jong-un Impersonators Unio...
As the sun set over the Urban Park at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, German kayaker Gina Zint, 15, recalled the pain of her parents’ separation, her brown eyes filling with emotion.
“It’s been five years now,” Zint said, as she tried to hold back the tears. “It was a very bad time for me and it’s still sensitive. I’m not really in touch with my dad any more. He lives two hours away in a different city, and I don’t really have a good relationship with him. But at the same time, I found canoeing and that gave me something to hold on to. It still does.”
Taekwondo scoring changes introduced at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games have opened the door for other nations to become a global force in the sport.
For the first time in Youth Games history, athletes from Morocco, Italy, Greece, Serbia, Niger, Tunisia, Ecuador and Afghanistan won taekwondo medals.
Many coaches are attributing this to the new electronic scoring system introduced prior to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games where points are automatically awarded for kicks to scoring areas instead of relying on judges’ discretion.
Stephen Chol Atem is an athlete who needs no lessons in perspective. Four years ago he and his family were on the run from the brutal civil war in South Sudan, as they desperately sought safe passage to Uganda.
“There is still much pain in my family when we think of that time,” said Atem, 17. “At first my grandmother told us, ‘We are not going anywhere. We must stay in our home.’ But then my uncle was killed in that war, and we realised that to survive we must go.
“It was initially hard to get out of the country. Many of the roads were closed off, and wherever we went people were running.
When Ethan McClymont (CAN) stepped on to the competition mat at Oceania Pavilion for his men’s +73kg taekwondo quarterfinal against Milos Pilipovic (NOR), he was not thinking about the medal at stake, the screaming local fans or even the large Norwegian about to try to kick him in the head.
Instead, McClymont was picturing himself back home, in his home city of Winnipeg, training at his local dojo with the same bunch of friends he has known since the age of five.
“It’s just how I’m wired, I guess,” McClymont said, after going on to win a 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games bronze medal. “
In a small corner of the Oceania Pavilion, Nadica Bozanic (SRB) is recalling a time when her training partner delivered a kick to the head so hard that she almost passed out.
The partner in question was not her coach or another girl in her team. It was her younger brother, Dusan Bozanic.
“For a moment, everything was black,” said Nadica, who claimed a silver medal on Wednesday night in the women’s -63kg category. “But I didn’t tell him.”
For many medallists at the Youth Olympic Games, their moment on the podium will be the closest they have come so far to experiencing fame. But for Croatian taekwondo fighter Lena Stojkovic, this is nothing new.
Having starred in reality television as a child in her native country, 16-year-old Stojkovic, who won bronze in the -44kg category on Sunday at Oceania Pavilion in the Youth Olympic Park, is already well accustomed to the bright lights and razzmatazz of cameras and a cheering crowd.
A silver medal in the -44kg category at the Youth Olympic Games on Sunday was Indian judoka Tababi Thangjam’s reward for years of arguments and secret training as she fought to overcome her family's opposition.
Growing up, Thangjam would regularly risk her parents’ wrath to improve her skills in a sport which they insisted was “only for boys”.
Growing up in the small town of Villaricca, just outside the city of Naples, Gabriele Caulo (ITA) was always certain about one thing. He detested football. With a passion.
“I hate the sport,” said Caulo, a taekwondo fighter who won bronze in the men’s -63kg category at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games on Tuesday. “I have never had any interest in running around with a ball. I’ve never even wanted to try it.”