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OLYMPIC REVIEW 29 WINTER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES

M usicians often refer to "the difficult second album" when faced with the prospect of creating a follow-up to a debut hit. The IOC and the Innsbruck 2012 Organising Committee were confronted with a similar challenge in January, when all eyes were on the Austrian city to deliver the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to the same high standard as Singapore, which hosted the first ever Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2010. The result, after 10 days of high-level sporting action, was a resounding Above Ski halfpipe was one of three events making a debut on the Olympic programme at the Winter YOGsuccess as young athletes, Olympic fans and the world's media embraced the Games and helped create what IOC President Jacques Rogge described as "superbly refreshing Games".This was the third time that Innsbruck had welcomed the Olympic family - following the Olympic Winter Games of 1964 and 1976 - and the city's unique Olympic heritage was celebrated throughout the YOG, not least at the Opening Ceremony, which was held at the spectacular Bergisel Stadium.The ski jumping venue acted as a fitting launch pad for the Games; towering 250 metres above the city, it provided a stunning setting for the celebrations, as the Youth Olympic cauldron was lit in Innsbruck. Over the next 10 days, more than 1,000 young athletes from 70 countries performed at their best across all seven Winter Olympic sports, with stars of the future emerging in every discipline.Among the eye-catching performances were Chinese speed skater Fan Yang's three gold medals on the ice and Austrian skier Marco Schwarz's three gold medals on the slopes, which delighted the home crowd. 30 OLYMPIC REVIEW WINTER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES