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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

OLYMPIC REVIEW47you don't have any time to lose. getting advicefrom older athletes helps gain time."Defrasne, who began training seriously at the ageof 12, recalls receiving advice from athletes headmired growing up in France. An organised platformfor passing on the knowledge, he says, is vital inbuilding champions. The YOG Competence Project,which includes the ARM panel, also features nutritionalcooking workshops, cross-cultural activities, and ashowcase of different kinds of opportunities forathletes after their sports careers. American freestyle skier, and two-time Olympicmedallist Shannon Bahrke Happe understands theimportance of exploring career options all too well.When Bahrke Happe, who will also be an ARM inInnsbruck, seriously injured her knee during acompetition in 2008, she knew that she needed toexpand her horizons beyond the borders of sport.The injury led to a year-long rehabilitation process -and a new career as an entrepreneur. "It happens,"Bahrke Happe says of her injuries. "You can't be anathlete forever, as much as you try." Being achampion, she says, is about finding a balance andalso about giving back. That is exactly what she willbe doing in her role as an ARM.Another group of participants in Innsbruck will be the 15 Young Reporters - aspiring journalists,aged between 18 and 24, who were all part of theinaugural Young Reporters programme at the 2010Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. The group,hailing from different parts of the world, will becoming together once again to report on the firstWinter YOG.For athletes who want to experience being onthe other side of the camera, microphone, ornotepad, the YOG Media Lab will offer hands-on,content-generating workshops on behind-the-scenesvideo work, on-camera TV reporting, photography,and web media. Local youngsters from Innsbruck will also be able to experience some of the CEP activities forthemselves. As early as 2010, local children agedeight to 17 were given a number of opportunities to try the Olympic sports through the Youth OlympicFestival 2012 Sports Challenge. Through theprogramme, local schoolteachers also had a chanceto develop their own skills. Come January, theChallenge will become a tournament, testing theskills of Tyrol's young participants. During the Gamesthey will be able to mingle with the athletes throughmountain-based excursions and other challengesthat will feature ice stock sport (similar to curling)and rock climbing, among other trendy urban sports. Tyrol's young people will also be heading theWorld Mile Project, a cultural presentation onparticipating countries, which will turn the OlympicVillage Square into a walk-through tour for theduration of the Games. In addition, athletes will haveaccess to the information booths of the IOC Athletes'Commission, the IOC Medical Commission, andbooths set up by the United Nations.The CEP will also organise dance lessons,teaching participants the Schuhplattler - Austria'straditional dance. Moreover, the Innsbruck Gameshave a customised YOG Dance, which Tyrol's youngpeople having been working on since January 2011.Above all, the emphasis during the CEP will beon having fun. With so many exciting activities onoffer, that surely won't be difficult. ?World Mile ProjectThrough a series of interactivedisplays created by localyoungsters, the World Milewill showcase the diversecultures of each of theparticipating nations at theGames and allow youngathletes to learn more aboutthe world around them.SustainabilityProjectThrough a seriesof educational postersaround the Youth OlympicVillage and a number ofexcursions into the localmountains, participants willbe able to learn more aboutthe importance ofenvironmentalism andsustainable development.Arts ProjectParticipants will beable to share theirdifferent cultures throughdance, music and arts bytaking part in groupdrumming sessions andlearning the official YOGDance and the traditionalAustrian 'Schuhplattler'.CompetenceProjectThis series ofpresentations and paneldiscussions will includeworkshops with current andformer Olympians, who willshare their experiences withthe young athletes, andworkshops on healthy eatingand post-sport careers.Youth Olympic Festival 2012The Youth OlympicFestival 2012 will offerathletes and local youngpeople the chance to get toknow each other throughteam-building activities,interactive games and sportssuch as rock climbing andice stock sport.Media LabThis hands-on,content-generatingactivity will comprise fourmedia workshops, focusingon video, TV, photographyand the web, with participantsable to create their own filmsand experience what it's likeon both sides of the camera.CEP ACTIVITIESLeftCommunicatingand connectingthrough teamworkis a major part ofthe CEP Below leftThe virtual stairclimber is a test ofstamina BelowMountainworkshops willhelp participantsunderstand theirenvironment