GLASGOW'S drive to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games kicks off today with a spectacular display of sporting and cultural performances.

Youngsters from across the city will launch the bid at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

The young sports stars will join members of the Scottish Youth Theatre in a show featuring sports and traditional cultural performances in which the team will showcase the very best Glasgow, Scotland and the UK have to offer.

The bid is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and the British Olympic Association (BOA) and has the support of government at all levels.

Glasgow's bold vision builds on the legacy already being achieved through London 2012 as well as plans for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The city is already home to the largest youth employability scheme of its kind in the UK, the Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative, which has placed almost 3000 young people in training.

Through its eTwinning programme, the city has also linked pupils from every school in the city with young people in every region of the Commonwealth.

Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Gordon Matheson, said: "Glasgow is already known the world over as a great sporting city because of our proud track record of hosting international events and investing in world-class sports infrastructure.

"Hosting the 2018 Youth Olympic Games would be a new success story for our city and one that we are determined to capitalise on.

"Young people are at the very heart of our bid and will be our strongest voice as we go all out to bring the Youth Olympic Games to these shores for the first time.

"A successful campaign would continue the legacy created by the London 2012 Olympics and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, helping us continue to work hard with young people to build a bright future."

The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) sees athletes aged 15-18 compete in all 28 Olympic sports over 12 days.

Glasgow became the UK candidate city for the 2018 YOG in February. The first summer YOG, in Singapore in 2010, was broadcast to 160 territories with an estimated audience of more than 247 million. The Great Britain team won 13 medals in Singapore.

The next summer event will be held in Nanjing, China, in 2014. The first winter YOG was held this year in Innsbruck, Austria, and the next will be in 2016 in Lillehammer, Norway.

Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, said: "The official launch of Glasgow's bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games showcases the best creative and sporting talent from Glasgow, Scotland and the UK and brings the city's vision for 2018 to life.

"Today's launch is unique in being hosted and delivered entirely by young people – they are at the very heart of Glasgow's vision."

The UK Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, said: "I fully support the Glasgow bid for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games."

London 2012 chairman Seb Coe said he is hopeful that Glasgow's bid for the 2018 Youth Olympics will be a success, with the legacy of the 2012 Games helping bring more major sporting events to Britain.

He said: "I want see, in all four corners of the United Kingdom, people bidding for things.

"If you successfully show you can bid for and then deliver a major sporting event that often helps pave the way for a lot of other bids and a lot of successful sport so I'm behind the Glasgow bid for the 2018 Youth Olympics."