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OLYMPIC REVIEW31nnsbruck's Golden Roof is undoubtedlythe city's most famous landmark.Every year thousands of tourists visitthe Tyrolean capital just to see the2,657 gilded tiles that adorn the 15th-centurybalcony in the heart of the city, but for the last fewmonths there has been a new landmark competingfor their attention. Within sight of the Golden Roof,in the middle of the bustling Maria-Theresienstrasse, lies the huge Youth OlympicCountdown Clock, which displays exactly how longis left until Innsbruck plays host to the first everWinter Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which followthe inaugural Summer YOG in Singapore in 2010."We went to Singapore for the first YouthOlympic Games not knowing if the experimentwould be a successful one; it was the first trial,"explains IOC President Jacques Rogge. "ButSingapore was a great success. The athletes wereabsolutely thrilled. They loved it."The Winter YOG, which will take place from 13to 22 January 2012, will mark an important event in Olympic and sporting history. Not only will thesebe the first ever Winter Games for young people,they will also signal the first time that the Olympicflame has been lit in the same city on three separateoccasions. Having hosted the Olympic Winter Gamesin 1964 and 1976, Innsbruck is a fitting host for the inaugural Winter YOG."It is a great honour," says Innsbruck 2012 CEOPeter Bayer, "and also a fantastic challenge. Thisopportunity is a great motivation for us all to do ourbest. It is great to see how passionate our young teamis about the Youth Olympic Games and how they areworking hard to organise the perfect Games."A mixture of excitement and anticipationdominates the atmosphere in Innsbruck, as theOpening Ceremony draws nearer. Signs heralding the event are on display throughout the city andeverywhere you look Yoggl, the official mascot, smiles down from posters promoting the Games. A prominent delegation representing Innsbruck 2012has also been present at several major events to help spread the word of the Winter YOG. More?IIILeftInnsbruck2012 mascotYoggl watchesas YouthOlympic GamesAmbassadorKevin Rollandshows off his freestyleskiing skills

than 1,000 young athletes - aged between 15 and 18- from over 65 countries will take part in the Gamesover 10 days in January, when they will compete formedals in 15 disciplines across seven sports.A place on the podium is not the sole focus,however. The Winter YOG will be an opportunity forcultural exchange between young people from allover the world. To facilitate this, a unique mix ofsporting and cultural activities has been integratedinto the programme.Competitions will take place in all seven sportsthat feature on the Olympic Winter Gamesprogramme. Several of the disciplines have beenspecially adapted for the Winter YOG, with excitingnew formats and team competitions, includingmixed gender events and those in which athletesfrom different National Olympic Committeescompete alongside each other on the same team.Other events, such as the ice hockey skills challengeand the speed skating mass start have also beendeveloped especially for the Winter YOG. These newdisciplines distinguish the Winter YOG from othersports events and help foster the Olympic values in32OLYMPIC REVIEW