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Right Short track speed skating was one of the disciplines that featured a unique mixed team event, with athletes from different NOCs Figure skaters Han Yan (CHN) and Elizaveta Tuktamisheva (RUS) also underlined their potential as they pirouetted their way to gold medals, while Japan's Sara Takanashi dominated the women's ski jumping, which was making its debut on an Olympic programme. In keeping with the YOG concept, there were also several new events created especially for the Games, such as the ice hockey skills challenge, while other events - including ski halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle - were also making their first appearance at an Olympic event after being added to the sports programme for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.There were also several innovative events featuring teams of mixed gender and mixed National Olympic Committee (NOC) competitors, further fostering the idea that the Youth Olympic Games are the perfect opportunity for athletes from different backgrounds to come together on the field of play."It is a really great event which lets us perform as a team," said Austrian Alpine skier Christine Ager, after competing in the mixed parallel team event."The mixed event is fun, with boys and girls playing together," added Stine Haalien, of Norway, who was competing in the mixed curling team event. "There's not that much difference, although the sweeping is good because the boys are strong."YOG Ambassadors and Olympic champions Yuna Kim and Lindsey Vonn also delighted the young competitors when they appeared in Innsbruck to show their support both on and off the field of play."I think it's a great opportunity for the kids," said Vonn. "The experience of coming here and competing internationally ? OLYMPIC REVIEW 31 WINTER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES

is amazing. I wish I had the opportunity to do it when I was younger. And it's not just the competing, they're interacting with other athletes and they have so many cultural activities that they can take part in. They're learning about so much more than just sport. I think instilling the Olympic values at a young age is extraordinary."Sport was not the sole focus of the Games, however. Innsbruck 2012 also featured the second instalment of the YOG's Culture and Education Programme (CEP), which ran alongside the sporting competition, giving all participants the chance to interact with each other and learn more about different cultures, as well as topics such as Olympism, the environment, healthy lifestyles and nutrition, career planning and social responsibility. The CEP also offered young athletes the opportunity to speak to over 30 inspirational mentors, including both current and former Olympians who visited Innsbruck as part of the Athlete Role Model initiative. Local youngsters were also able to get involved in the CEP by participating in the World Mile Project - a cultural presentation on participating countries, which turned the Youth Olympic Village Square, situated at Congress Innsbruck, into a walk-through world tour for the duration of the Games.New to Innsbruck 2012 was the introduction of an innovative USB device - known as a YOGGER - which enabled the young athletes to exchange contact details, including email and blog addresses on more than 40 different social media platforms, in a fun and secure way so they can keep in touch once the Games were over. "It's so cool," said women's ski halfpipe champion Lisi Gram, from Austria. "You just have to put the two YOGGERs together and when the light turns green you have all their details. I've made lots of new friends."32 OLYMPIC REVIEW WINTER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES