Thursday, January 13, 2011

The countdown is on to Innsbruck 2012!

Thursday, January 13th marked the "one year to go" milestone for Innsbruck 2012! In one year exactly, the world’s best young athletes of between 15 and 18 years old will attend the Opening Ceremony of the 1st edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Innsbruck 2012 will showcase over 1,000 young athletes representing their countries in the seven sports on the programme: Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Curling, Ice Hockey, Luge, Skating and Skiing. Just like for Singapore 2010, new events and disciplines have been introduced into the sports programme: there will be a combined discipline of Cross Country and Biathlon, as well as the first ever Olympic inclusion of Women’s Ski Jumping. Athletes will also attend a comprehensive Culture and Education Programme (CEP), which will allow them to address key issues and learn new skills in a fun and interactive way. Peter Bayer, CEO of Innsbruck 2012 says: "The innovative mixture of sport and culture as well as the competitions held as part of the Olympic Games for the first time make the organisation of this event a special challenge. One year before the opening of the Games we are excited that they are now so close and we are working at full blast to turn them into a unique experience for the 1,058 athletes. The Tyrol’s Olympic heritage, its excellent sporting infrastructure and the support of its partners and sponsors are of great help and I would like to use today‘s opportunity to thank everyone involved".
Innsbruck (Tirol, Austria) was the host city to the Olympic Winter Games back in 1964 and 1976 (Innsbruck replaces Denver at short notice to host the Winter Games after the people of the state of Colorado voted to prohibit public funds from being used to support the Games).
On February 4th 2011, 35 years to the day after the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games 1976 in Innsbruck the ‘Youth Olympic Games Snow Festival‘ will be held. This three-day festival (4 to 6 February 2011), which takes place at the same time as the Billabong Air & Style Innsbruck Tyrol 2011 – the world’s biggest snowboard festival -will give a taste of the Winter Youth Olympic Games. After kicking off at Maria-Theresien-Straße with two live concerts, Innsbruck city-centre will turn into a giant sporting arena for a whole weekend, during which everyone will have the chance to discover and try out all the Olympic sports. In cooperation with the Austrian Olympic Committee, there will also be a contest in which participants will have the chance to win a weekend for two at the Summer Olympics 2012 in London, including entrance tickets for the opening ceremony. During the Festival the official Innsbruck 2012 mascot will be unveiled, based on the "Mountain Goat" design voted for by the public in December 2010.

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