History of the London Youth Games

Your borough. Your sport. Your passion.

Our history

The London Youth Games have been inspiring young Londoners since 1977, when they were launched to mark the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Since then, borough teams have competed on an annual basis for the prestigious Jubilee Trophy.

1977

The first London Youth Games are held at the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

1985

As the Games continue to grow in size and complexity an organisation dedicated to running the Games and other London-wide sports events for young people, the London Youth Games Foundation, is created.

1986

A watersports regatta is introduced at the Royal Albert and Victoria Docks in East London.

1987

Cross-country becomes part of the Games, which Mo Farah will later take part in.

1994

The Games attract their first-ever title sponsor, BAA Heathrow and are renamed the London Heathrow Youth Games. The year also sees the introduction of a programme especially for Londoners under the age of 11, the Mini Games.

1998

For the first time, the Games breaks the 20,000-competitor mark.

1999

The Regatta is revamped, with the introduction of separate competitions in canoeing, sailing and rowing and events specifically for disabled athletes; swimmers and footballers are introduced, as well as girls’ rugby union. 

2002

The Queen visits the Mini Games as part of her Golden Jubilee tour and the Games reach their 25th anniversary. 

2004

The Games showcase the 2012 bid at their launch and finals weekend and participants greet the Athens Olympic Flame as it arrives in the UK on its world tour.

2005

As BAA Heathrow sponsorship ends, new public sector funding secures the Games’ future with long term-funding from Sport England and the Greater London Authority. 

2007

Balfour Beatty announces a six year association with the London Youth Games, signing as title sponsor until 2013.

2009

We celebrate our 500,000th competitor in its history. The Games also have a patron for the first time ever with former competitor, Chicago Bulls and GB basketball captain, Luol Deng. The Hall of Fame is launched with Christine Ohuruogu and Linford Christie amongst the first inductees. GamesForce (the London Youth Games volunteer programme) is created.

2010

The London Youth Games smashes another record with over 64,000 participants taking part.

2011

The London Youth Games hosts the capital’s pilot event of the School Games at Crystal Palace. Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, attend.  

2012

In the year London hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games, there are 44 former London Youth Games competitors at London 2012, winning 14 medals, including nine golds. London Youth Games hosts the biggest competition programme in its history with 80 school and community competitions across 30 sports. GamesForce Teams, a programme to engage school and college volunteers, is introduced.

2013

Balfour Beatty extends its association with the London Youth Games for another two years. 

2014

The GamesForce Event Award is created in partnership with Create Development to train young volunteers in sport event volunteering and London Youth Games hit one million participants taking part.

2016

GamesForce wins the London Sport ‘Bigger and Better Workforce Award’ and for the first time, more girls compete in the Games than boys.

2017

London Youth Games celebrates its 40th Anniversary with #40stories40years campaign and the Respect the Games programme is launched, aiming to promote the values of Fairness, Inclusion, Ambition and Respect.

2018

London Youth Games hit one and a half million participants taking part.