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Youth Olympic Games on track
Sunday September 11, 2011 - Email this article to a friend

The first Winter Youth Olympic Games will take place in Austria next January. Last winter PlanetSKI went to the host city of Innsbruck for a preview and now the IOC, on its final visit, has pronounced everything ready.

There are 4 months to go and things are looking in pretty good shape.

It is now apparently in its "operational readiness phase" according to the information we have been sent  by the Innsbruck Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee.

The fourth and final visit has just taken place by the IOC Coordination Commission, led by the chairman, Gian-Franco Kasper.

They were particularly impressed with the progress of the Youth Olympic Village. It will accommodate approximately 1,660 athletes and officials during Games time, and, as a legacy of the Youth Olympic Games, will be used as affordable housing once the Games have concluded.

"The Innsbruck Organising Committee heads into the final few months of preparation with an extremely organised and creative team who are working tirelessly to ensure an unforgettable elite sporting event for the world's best young winter athletes," said Kasper. "This unique host city has a rich Olympic history, and today we can feel the excitement building as it makes history again with the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games."

Innsbruck; Olympic CityInnsbruck; Olympic City













PlanetSKI was in Innsbruck last winter as part of a small international team of journalists that was invited to see preparations. 

See here for our detailed reports on the Games  and our editor tried his hand at the bobsleigh as he went to the Olympic bobsleigh run. It was not for the faint hearted! 

He then had a go at a slightly more sedate Winter Olympic sport; curling.

the Youth Winter Olympic Games promises to be quite an event and we will be following it next January here on PlanetSKI.

Several new disciplines will be seen for the first time at an Olympic event, such as snowboard slopestype, ski half pipe and ice hockey skills challenge.

Also integrated into the sports programme for the first time is women's ski jumping, the winner of which will be awarded the first Winter Youth Olympic Games medal.

There is a Culture and Education Programme for athletes, spectators and local schools. Its aims is to enable the young athletes to learn new skills, experience different cultures and cover key topics such as the benefits of healthy lifestyles, the dangers of doping, and the values of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

The volunteer programme, launched earlier this year, has attracted almost 2,500 applications from 40 countries - double the amount of volunteers actually required.

In addition, partnerships with 12 international universities have also been secured.

A group of senior athletes have been selected to help promote The Games, including the Alpine skiers Lindsey Vonn (USA) and Benjamin Raich (Austria).  More will be announced in the lead-up to the Games.

Here on PlanetSKI we are rather looking forward to it all.

For the spirit of the mountains

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