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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

hile Innsbruck 2012 will feature thesame seven sports that will make up the2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, itwill also boast a number of innovativeevents that currently only feature on theprogramme of the Winter Youth Olympic Games. Of the63 events that will be contested in biathlon, bobsleigh,curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing at the firstedition of the Winter YOG, many will be taking place forthe first time at an Olympic event. Women's skijumping, ski halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle havenever been held in an Olympic arena before. Inaddition, there will be a number of innovative events,found only at the YOG, which feature unique formatssuch as mixed gender competitions and teamscomprising athletes from different NOCs.Gian-Franco Kasper, Chairman of the IOCCoordination Committee for the 1st Winter OlympicYouth Games, is excited by the sports programme andpleased that sports are reaching out to young people in new ways."The new events show a genuine effort fromInternational Federations to adapt to young athletes'interests," he explains. "The Youth Olympic Games area great way for them to showcase new events and see how they work in an Olympic environment. Thegoal is to attract young people and encourage them toget involved in sport. The mixed gender and NOCevents are particularly interesting for them as they areasked to compete with and against different peoplethan they are used to. This is a great cultural andeducational lesson!"32OLYMPIC REVIEWWWE TAKE A LOOK AT THE SPORTS PROGRAMME FOR INNSBRUCK 2012, WHICH WILL SEE INNOVATIVE NEW FORMATSJOIN TRADITIONAL DISCIPLINES, AS YOUNGMEN AND WOMEN - AND EVEN DIFFERENTNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES (NOC) -COMPETE ALONGSIDE EACH OTHER FORYOUTH OLYMPIC MEDALSBE AGOODSPORT