Sport, Training and Culture at Winter Youth Olympic Games
|08.07.2011, Innsbruck / IBU Inf. Dept TO/JK|
| The first Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is set for Innsbruck, Austria from January 13-22, 2012. The competitions will be held for the best young athletes at the age of 14 through 18. The next generation is equally important for the Organizing Committee as it boasts a youthful face. Only five staff members are older than 40, yet working alongside the IOC this young group is currently developing one of the most important projects in the IOC's recent history.
The young and energetic group is supported by experienced specialists. The IOC grants them regular “Consulting Days” where the young organizers get advice on their plans. The OC is also working closely with the Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV) and of course, the IOC in Lausanne. Still, there is enough freedom for the OC to put their mark on the event. The product YOG is currently being developed in Innsbruck, to a certain extent and in cooperation with IOC.
Passing on Experience
The training of young sport enthusiasts into future experts in major sport event organization is one of the major goals for the YOG. One part of it is the program “Grey Eagles,” provides experienced volunteers, some of whom worked during both the 1964 and 1976 Innsbruck Olympic Winter Games, to advise and work closely with young volunteers.
In the stadiums, experienced officials are supported by youthful assistants. For example, in biathlon roughly 20 officials from Hochfilzen and Obertilliach will support the officials and volunteers from Seefeld, site of the Nordic competitions.
Citizens and Athletes Participate in Cultural Program
The event will leave its marks in other areas. In addition to the competitions the organizers have planned a colorful cultural education program for athletes and citizens. A medal design competition has already been completed and schools have begun fan club programs for the participating nations. During the YOG the Media Lab will offer an opportunity to the youngsters to shape the reports about Innsbruck. The Sustainability Program will have avalanche training and environmental excursions. Additional topics include arts and dance.
The young athletes will also have the opportunity to meet with legends of their sport. In biathlon, French Olympic Champion Vincent Defrasne, who currently works for the IOC will talk about his experience in biathlon and answer questions.
Venues for Long-term Use
Sustainability is important when it comes to the venues. In part, the venues already existed, like the ice stadium in Innsbruck or the downhill tracks at Patscherkofel. They will continue to be used. The biathlon, cross country, ski jump and Nordic combined stadium was newly built in Seefeld. This third biathlon location in Tyrol will serve as a training center for both youth and world-class athletes while hosting will also host regional competitions.
Amore detailed description of the new Seefeld stadium is the next issue of Biathlonworld magazine which will be published later this month. More information is available at www.innsbruck2012.com the YOG official website.