POSTED: August 21st 2010
NewsUpdate

Innsbruck 2012 so thrilled to be following in Singapore's successful footsteps

Chief Executive Officer of Innsbruck 2012 Peter Bayer at a press conference in Singapore on Aug 21, 2010, to give an update on the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics to be held in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2012 / SPH-SYOGOC/DOMINIC WONG
Chief Executive Officer of Innsbruck 2012 Peter Bayer at a press conference in Singapore on Aug 21, 2010, to give an update on the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics to be held in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2012 / SPH-SYOGOC/DOMINIC WONG

NIKKI WICKS in Singapore / Sports Features Communications

SINGAPORE, Aug 21: Peter Bayer, ceo of Innsbruck 2012, is delighted that the pressure of uncertainty has been removed following Singapore's success in hosting the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games.

At the YOG's halfway point, Innsbruck officials said they will continue to build on the values being promoted to young people by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and follow the example laid down by Singapore to innovate and introduce new events to engage the younger generation.

Innsbruck and Seefeld will host the first Winter edition of the YOG from January 13 to 22, 2012. Having received the most votes in the history of the IOC with 85 the Tirol's capital, which staged the senior Olympic Winter Games in 1964 and 1976, will be a hosting city for the third time.

"It's a very big honour to host, for the third time, the Olympic family," said Bayer.

Although no stranger to playing host, delegates from Innsbruck 2012 are in Singapore participating in the observers programme, an opportunity organised by the IOC to live, learn and experience the new YOG Olympic Movement.

They have been impressed by what they have seen while appreciating that the Winter Games will not be on the same large scale.

"It's been very impressive, especially the opening ceremony. They did a really great job, everything has been very big," said media manager Constanze Weiss. "The Winter Games will have a third of the athletes that are here in Singapore. We'll have around 1,058 (compared to 3,600) from around 70 countries. I think there are around 20,000 volunteers here too, we will have about 1500. We'll start to recruit them in October and most of them will be from the Tirol."

Asked if there would be any pressure to replicate the Singapore success, Bayer said: "No, it's taken the pressure off. Now we know it's working."

With the exception of the Olympic Village, which will be newly built, a bidding advantage for Innsbruck was that all the venues were already in place after the previous Olympic events.

Bayer said: "We don't have to build any of the venues. We have them all ready, and internationally tested year by year, so we are sure that we will have great games. The Olympic Village is one our biggest legacy projects because it's the only thing that we will actually build.

"It's 444 apartments which are now being newly constructed and it's not only a legacy project, it's also one our biggest environmental projects. It is being built in a passive-house way, which means less energy has to be put in than needed."

Whilst Innsbruck 2012 will differ in regard to the scale of the Summer YOG, the fundamental ideas and values promoted by the IOC will remain the same.

Success story

One of the biggest success stories in Singapore so far has been the introduction of new disciplines designed to engage younger audiences. The Games are also seeing some mixed gender competitions and team events for the first time.

Lord Coe, London 2012 organising chairman, stressed the significance of sports event innovation.

He said: "I think it (innovation) is absolutely essential. We have to move with the times and understand that young people are not in the same space from even only five years ago. It's about bringing young people into venues and exciting them to want to come back or hopefully take the sport up. We can only do that by innovation and the (IOC) president (Jacques Rogge) is right on that."  

Bayer said that Innsbruck 2012 will carry this ethic forward and that the 63 medal events would include new competitions such as ski half-pipe, snowboard slopestyle and an ice hockey skills-challenge, developed especially for athletes from countries where hockey is less popular.

He said: "There will also be a new ski jump as we will be the first Olympic Games to feature a women's ski jumping competition."

The IOC has said that the official YOG YouTube channel had received almost 3m views - more than the Vancouver Winter Games - so social and digital media will also feature highly in communicating Innsbruck 2012 to the world.

IOC director of communications, Mark Adams said before the Games: "Clearly with the YOG we are trying to reach a younger audience, not just the athletes but young people who will take part in sport and also spectators. So it’s no surprise that social media figures very highly in what we’re doing to try and reach those audiences."

Innsbruck 2012 has wasted no time in capitalising on the momentum started in Singapore. Weiss said: "We have Facebook and Twitter accounts. I'm doing lots of postings at the moment about Singapore, just to give the people the feeling of the YOG.

"We also launched our new website about one week ago (Innsbruck2012.com) and we are also on YouTube. Of course there is the traditional communications too, you have to work together with newspapers, and do press releases etc, but when it comes to young people, most of the things we are doing are through social media."


Keywords · Youth Olympic Games · YOG · Innsbruck 2012 · Peter Bayer


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