POSTED: January 23rd 2012

Innsbruck 2012: First winter Youth Olympic Games a resounding success

IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and YOG Ambassador Lindsey Vonn / IOC
IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and YOG Ambassador Lindsey Vonn / IOC

There was lots of cheer and dancing in the streets as the YOG came to a close / IOC
There was lots of cheer and dancing in the streets as the YOG came to a close / IOC

LAURA WALDEN in INNSBRUCK / Sports Features Communications

INNSBRUCK: The inaugural winter edition of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) came to a close after ten fun filled days of sports and activities in the Olympic host city of Innsbruck. Seventy countries had athletes participating from around the globe.

There was a great mood enjoyed by all in the relaxed atmosphere as these youth Games offered everyone a taste of the Olympic Spirit and a chance to really mingle with the athletes. Shuttle rides were great fun as you never knew who might be getting on at the next stop.  

IOC head, Dr. Jacques Rogge, said during the closing ceremony, “By all measures, the first Winter Youth Olympic Games exceeded expectations and established a solid foundation for future Youth Games.

“They were superbly refreshing Games.”

He said to the athletes, “You are role models for your generation. You have started something special in Innsbruck. And no matter what happens in your sports career from this point, all of you are equipped to become future leaders.”

Over 110,000 spectators attended the events watching the 1,000 plus athletes competing in the YOG between the ages of 15-18 in the seven sports on the program which was the same as the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. These also included women’s ski jumping, ski halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle.

There were several new formats to jazz up the program such as the mixed country doubles competition in curling; the mixed sport event cross-country/biathlon; mixed gender luge and ice hockey skills challenge.

Morocco became the first African country to win a medal at a winter Olympic event when Adam Lamhamedi took gold in the men’s super-G.

Rogge said, “There were so many firsts at these Games, so many incredible moments for the athletes and everyone involved in staging this event.”

The YOG was not just about sports, the Culture and Education programme (CEP) offered the young athletes a chance to learn about the Olympic values through engaging workshops held at Congress Innsbruck.

An inspirational Young Ambassador program took place with 33 exceptional young people on hand to guide the athletes through their YOG experience. There was also an Athlete Role Model program which involved over 30 Olympians mentoring the athletes.

Athlete Ambassadors included high profile Olympians such as superstar skater, Yuna Kim, and world renowned ski racer, Lindsey Vonn, were on hand to cheer on the athletes and even were available for Q&A sessions.

 “Innsbruck was a terrific continuation of the excellent work done at the first Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, and it bodes very well for the future of the Youth Olympic Games,” the President concluded.

Keywords · Youth Olympic Games · YOG · Jacques Rogge · Lindsey Vonn

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