By Paul Osborne at the Sports Lab in Nanjing 

Thomas Bach enjoys a day visiting the demonstration sports on show at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games ©ITGThomas Bach made a rock star-like appearance at the Sports Lab here at Nanjing 2014 today as four demonstration sports try to make a good enough impression to help them gain a place on the full Olympic programme. 

Wushu, sport-climbing, roller skating and skateboarding have all been present at the Sports Lab for the duration of the Summer Youth Olympic Games as they attempt to show off their sport in a further attempt to boost their popularity.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President made the rounds at the four sports this afternoon, bringing with him a wave of people, cheering and general mayhem as the crowds gathered for a sneak peak at him. 

The Sports Lab is a newly created facility, built specifically for the purpose of these Games, and gives the demonstration sports apt room to display the different disciplines and events that they hope will attract both public and IOC attention.

The world's elite athletes from each of the four sports are present at the Lab as they become ambassadors for their sports, moving from in-sport competition to a relatively friendly contest with one another, as they compete for a place within the Olympic Movement.

Thomas Bach was given a short demonstration in all four sports, while also having a go at a couple himself ©ITGThomas Bach was given a short demonstration in all four sports, while also having a go at a couple himself ©ITG

Speaking to insidethegames during his visit, Bach explained that the "fantastic" Sport Lab is "really accomplishing the mission" it was set out to do, by not only the IOC, but also Nanjing 2014 and the sports themselves.

"On the one hand for the sports to present themselves in an Olympic environment and on the other to engage the youth and the people of Nanjing and you see how much this is happening here," he said.

Talking about the sports on show, Bach added: "They are all great in their particular manner.

"They have very different roots and very different characteristics.

"You see the traditional wushu with a lot of dynamism and grace then on the other hand you see the climbing as a very modern sport with a high technical skill.

"You see the skateboarders make use of the streets of the city and not needing a facility and enjoying themselves in the street and the high half-pipe is just breathtaking to see what they are doing.

"And the roller sports, a sport with which I think billions of kids in the world have experienced at some stage in their life and then to see it in some a high professionalism is exciting."

Skateboarding is among sports given the opportunity to showcase themselves at the Sports Lab in Nanjing ©Nanjing 2014Skateboarding is among sports given the opportunity to showcase themselves at the Sports Lab in Nanjing ©Nanjing 2014

Looking to the future and Agenda 2020, Bach explained that "for the Youth Olympic Games it shows that in the IOC we want to open up in this respect.

"We want to be open to the youth, we want to be open to new developments and for the Youth Games we will evaluate after this edition of the Games and then see what to do with the Sports Lab in the future - to do it in the same way or in a different way.

"For this we will still have some time."

A big part of Bach's Agenda 2020 is looking into changes to the rigid sporting structure that currently exists within the Olympic Games.

Instead of sticking with just 28 sports, discussions are being held on reducing the number of disciplines for some sports, giving room for new sports to be added to the programme.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2014: 
Wushu has a bright future in the Olympic Movement, claims world governing body
August 2014: 
IOC President reiterates commitment to reforming Olympic sports programme
August 2014: 
New partnership hailed as boost for skateboarding's Olympic ambitions
July 2014:
World Skateboarding Championships to showcase Olympic credentials
July 2014: 
Big changes to Olympic sports programme on way after Agenda 2020 Summit