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athletes will also participate in a unique Culture andEducation Programme (CEP) during the Games, whichwill employ a variety of fun and interactive initiatives toraise their awareness of the Olympic values as well as different cultures and topics such as sustainability,the arts and digital media.As in Singapore, IOC President Rogge expects theyoung participants from around the world to revel inthe unique atmosphere of the YOG and take awaymemories that will last forever: "Only some of theathletes won medals, but all of them won new friends.Many of the athletes met and were inspired byOlympic champions, but each of them learned what ittakes to be a champion, both on and off the field ofplay. All of them are richer for having come into30OLYMPIC REVIEW

OLYMPIC REVIEW31measured by the positive experiences of the athletesthemselves - who we hope will take back home theirstories of the Games and share them with theirfriends, family and communities, encouraging andinspiring other young hopefuls."Innsbruck previously hosted the Olympic WinterGames in 1964 and 1976, and, with the countdown tothe inaugural Winter YOG gathering pace, the Gameshave already brought a carnival atmosphere back tothe city. In February, on the 35th anniversary of the lastWinter Games to be held in Innsbruck, the city hosted a three-day Youth Olympic Games Festival, which sawthousands of young people enjoying a series of outdoorconcerts and snow sports events, helping to build thegrowing level of excitement among the city's residentscontact with peers from so many different culturesand backgrounds."With less than a year to go until the Games begin,all eyes are on Innsbruck to see how the preparationsare progressing. The IOC Coordination Committee forthe 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games, chaired by Gian-Franco Kasper, conducted its third visit to the city at theend of last year to see how the Organising Committee(IYOGOC) was making the transition from strategicplanning to the operational phase of its plan. Havinglooked closely at IYOGOC's plans, Kasper is confidentthat Innsbruck will deliver an unforgettable Games -not least for the athletes that will be taking part."As the first winter edition, it will certainly bememorable," he says. "However, the success will beas they look forward to next year's Games. "It's a huge honour to be hosting the first everWinter Youth Olympic Games, especially in Innsbruckwhere people know what it means to be an OlympicHost City," explains Peter Bayer, CEO of Innsbruck 2012. "What I'm really looking forward to is when theYouth Olympic Flame finally arrives, because that's when it all really starts. I'm also looking forward toseeing the youth of the world come together to celebr-ate their sports and their cultures. There is somethingmagical about the Games and the atmosphere that will be created here will make Innsbruck anunforgettable place." With the clock ticking and anticipation building, thecountdown to Innsbruck 2012 is well and truly on. nAbove and leftThe YOG spiritbrings sport, funand games to the streets ofInnsbruck asexcitement buildsin the city