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
OLYMPIC REVIEW33The Games themselves will kick off with anelaborate 90-minute Opening Ceremony atInnsbruck's Bergisel Stadium. The city's Olympichistory will be the main focus of the ceremony,which will be attended by 13,000 eager Olympicfans and will feature the lighting of the Olympiccauldron. The Closing Ceremony, on 22 January, will be a smaller affair held in the city centre, at theMedal Plaza on Maria-Theresienstrasse, where the medal presentations will also take place duringthe Games.In line with the goals of the YOG, a Culture andEducation Programme (CEP) will be held alongsidethe sporting programme, with a comprehensiverange of activities awaiting the athletes in Innsbruck.Under the slogan "Everyone can be part of it", thethe young athletes, while also encouraging teamspirit and cultural exchange.The Winter YOG will also see Olympic medalsawarded in women's ski jumping for the first time,while snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe will also make their Olympic debuts. All the Olympic competitions will take place atvenues that hosted events during the 1964 and1976 Winter Games. The Seefeld region, which willhost the Nordic competitions, and the Patscherkofelmountain, which will stage the Alpine skiing events,are already renowned as the scenes of memorableOlympic moments, including Franz Klammer'sdownhill victory at the 1976 Winter Games, which is regarded as one of the greatest Austrian sportingmoments of all time.CEP will incorporate topics such as the OlympicValues, Healthy Lifestyle, Social Responsibility,Expression and Skills Development."It gives us the opportunity to give the youngathletes the tools that they need for life later on,"explains Rogge. "We have young athletes between theages of 15 to 18. There is a sporting aspect becausethey are the best ones from their age category - there is a very high level of competition. But next tothat is a wonderful part made of cultural andeducational experiences which is very important."Through seminars and information brochures onnutrition and anti-doping, the focus will be placed on helping young people lead healthy lives. Topicssuch as environmental protection, conscious use of resources, the exchange of ideas and the ?Far rightExcitement hasbeen building inInnsbruck as itprepares to hostthe first everWinter YOG Above(top) YoungAmbassadors willserve as positiverole modelsAbove (bottom) Alltickets are free of charge tothe public"THERE WILL BE A UNIQUEMIX OF SPORTING AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES"