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OLYMPIC REVIEW45he Olympic Games have always beenabout far more than just sport. From thegracious spirit of its competitors to theartistic and cultural programmes thatembody Pierre de Coubertin's original Olympicvision, the Games are unique. And now the YouthOlympic Games (YOG) is taking those traditions to thenext level through its fun and interactive Culture andEducation Programme (CEP), which will be a keycomponent of the first Winter YOG in Innsbruck in 2012. Designed to complement the elite sportingcompetition at the YOG, the CEP aims to educate and inspire young athletes at the Games andencourage them to be true champions - in sport and in life - by embracing the Olympic values.Through a variety of fun activities, the youngathletes will be able to interact with each other andmake new friends from around the world, whilelearning about global issues and the OlympicMovement, contributing to protecting the environmentand celebrating different cultures and the Olympicvalues. Each of the CEP activities will be based onone of five educational themes: Olympism, socialresponsibility, expression, skills development, orwellbeing and healthy lifestyle. But what does all this mean? That was a questionAustralia's Ramone Cooper - one of the 33 Young ?TTHE CULTURE AND EDUCATION PROGRAMME, WHICHRUNS ALONGSIDE THE SPORTING COMPETITION AT THEWINTER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES, WILL PROVIDE YOUNGATHLETES IN INNSBRUCK WITH A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE,WHILE TEACHING THEM VALUABLE LIFE LESSONS, AS KIMIYA SHOKOOHIDISCOVERSONTHEBEATRight Feeling therhythm: a YoungAmbassadorenjoys playing anAfrican Djembedrum to connectand communicateat the Septemberbriefing on theYouth OlympicGames

Ambassadors aged 18 to 26 going to the Games asNational Olympic Committee-nominated athletemotivators - asked himself when he arrived inInnsbruck in September for a briefing on the YOG.His answer came in the form of an African drum."They had 25 or so Djembe drums set up. Noone had ever done any drumming before. Nobodyknew what to expect, what to do, or even how tobang the drum," Cooper explains. "Everyone startedbanging these drums and playing in tune with theinstructor and then letting go and improvising. All ofa sudden you would find a consistent kind of rhythm."It was like everybody was communicating witheach other through the music. To connect withsomeone else without any words spoken - it kind of breaks down that barrier a little." The Djembe exercise will be one of 20 activitiesrunning parallel to the Games that make up the CEP. Each exercise has been created to embrace the five educational themes through projects basedon sustainability issues, competence, arts, mediaand culture."The Culture and Education Programme willprovide the athletes with a perfect balance to theirdaily training and competition schedule," saysVerena Sperl, CEP manager of the Innsbruck YouthOlympics Games Organising Committee.Cooper -who competed at the 2010 VancouverWinter Olympic Games - agrees. "It's a way for everybody to connect," he says.For the more than 1,000 athletes aged 15 to 18travelling to Innsbruck from over 65 countries, theYOG will also offer a chance to connect with formerand current professional athletes and Olympicveterans. Over 30 seasoned Olympians will beattending the Games as Athlete Role Models(ARMs). Through a series of panels and workshops,the veterans will be sharing their experiences andlending their advice on a multitude of issues."When you are given good advice, you gain timein your career," explains Vincent Defrasne, a Frenchbiathlete and ARM, whose Olympic medal collectionincludes gold in the 12.5kmpursuit from the 2006Games in Turin. "A sports career is very fast and 46OLYMPIC REVIEW