February 29 - Rotterdam is to bid for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games, it has been announced today.
The Dutch city joins a field that already includes Buenos Aires in Argentina, Glasgow in Britain, Medellín in Colombia and Guadalajara in Mexico.
"We are pleased to have such an enthusiastic partner for this beautiful event as Rotterdam," said Andre Bolhuis, the President of the Netherlands Olympic Committee*Netherlands Sports Federation (NOC*NSF).
A bid from the Netherlands had been expected before tomorrow's deadline but it had been widely assumed it would be from the capital, The Hague, rather than Rotterdam, which is home to Europe's largest port.
The Netherlands has only ever hosted the Olympics once before, at Amsterdam in 1928, despite having competed in every Summer Games since London 1908.
"By bidding for this event we hope to motive and inspire people, both abroad and in the Netherlands," said Antoinette Avenue, the Rotterdam Councillor with responsibility for sports, recreation, arts and culture.
"It is a chance to discover and come into contact with other cultures and have fun together.
"These Olympics provide a great opportunity for our city."
Other potential bids for 2018 could still include Dagestan, which rests on the city of Kaspiysk and which has already secured the support of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) but is still awaiting the approval of the Russian Government.
A late bidder from a Swedish city could also still emerge but the chances of the Nigerian capital Abjua putting themselves forward appear to be fading.
The International Olympic Committee are due to produce a short list of Candidate Cities in January 2013, before announcing the winning Host City in the summer of 2013.
As a sporting city, Rotterdam is best known as the home city of Feyenoord, the 14-time Dutch champions, and its home stadium, De Kuip, hosted the final of Euro 2000, when France beat Italy 2-1, thanks to a golden goal from David Trezeguet (pictured).
The city also stages an annual city marathon, in which the men's world record has been set twice and the women's once.
Rotterdam also hosted the Grand Départ of the 2010 Tour de France, which was won by Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara.
If this campaign is successful, then the Youth Olympics could be a launchpad for a bid for the Olympics and Paralympics.
Rotterdam Council has already backed a potential bid from the city for the 2028 Games.
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December 2011: David Owen - Youth Olympic Games can provide a city with the Olympic aura but without the cost