Winter Youth Olympic Games reaches halfway mark

Lausanne (SUI), International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jan 18, 2012: The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, praised the inaugural edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck as the event reached its halfway mark today.

“After the success of Singapore, it is heartwarming to witness a city come alive once again with the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games. The local communities have come out in force to enjoy the high-level sports competition on offer, while international spectators have travelled from far and wide to show their support”, he said.

“In the five days of the Games so far, we have seen ski halfpipe and women’s ski jump make their debut on an Olympic programme and the introduction of new sport formats, such as the mixed gender parallel team event in Alpine skiing. All were received with great enthusiasm by spectators in the packed stadiums”, Rogge added.

Over 1,000 athletes and more than 500 officials are attending the Games in Innsbruck, which are being staffed by 1,400 volunteers and covered by over 1,000 accredited media representatives from around the world.

The participation of 70 National Olympic Committees is a strong demonstration of the event’s universality, with athletes from 21 countries winning medals thus far, including Morocco, whose sole athlete – Adam Lamhamedi – made history as the first African to win a medal at a winter Olympic event when he took gold in the Super-G.

Of 63 medal events in total at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, 30 have so far concluded and 117 medals have been won.

The medals have been awarded at the evening ceremonies held at the Medal Plaza, which have attracted crowds of over 3,500. Of the 30 medal events that have taken place, four are making their debut on an Olympic programme: women’s ski jump; ski halfpipe; mixed gender parallel team event in Alpine skiing; and mixed gender team relay in luge. And there are still plenty more new formats to come.

“The new sports formats have been a huge draw in terms of attendance and have added real excitement to the Games,” said the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director, Gilbert Felli. “The International Federations have truly embraced the Winter Youth Olympic Games and contributed to their success”, he added.

In addition to the sports programme, 27 Culture and Education Programme (CEP) activities have been made available to athletes. One of the most well-received CEP events has been Meet the Role Models, a Q&A session with top athletes including Olympic champions Yuna Kim, Stephane Lambiel and Alexander Popov.

Other success stories at the Games include the 33 Athlete Role Models, who have been offering advice and tips to the young competitors and taking part in the various CEP activities; the 33 Young Ambassadors, who have served as CEP guides for their delegations; and the 15 Young Reporters, who have been providing excellent content for the international media.

Something new for the Winter Youth Olympic Games that has created a huge stir among athletes and media alike has been the Yogger, the athletes’ key to their Innsbruck 2012 experience. The interactive USB key is not only full of useful information, it also acts as a virtual business card, allowing athletes to share and collect contact information simply by touching their keys together.

Swiping the keys against the various CEP booths allows the athletes to collect electronic material about the activities. So far over 1,200 athletes and officials have registered.

Media interest in the Youth Olympic Games has been strong, with highlights broadcast in over 60 territories, and over 10,000 media mentions worldwide. The IOC has shared the Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympic Games with over 8.5 million fans across its social media platforms which are on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Sina Weibo, and via its website

International Olympic Committee (IOC), PRESS RELEASE

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