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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

The success of both the sporting programme and the CEP in Innsbruck once again proved to President Rogge that the YOG concept is flourishing."After two very good inaugural events in Singapore and in Innsbruck, it's clear that the concept of allying sport, culture and education is well accepted by federations and athletes," he said.Gilbert Felli, the IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games, was also quick to highlight how the YOG have now become firmly established on the Olympic landscape."What was demonstrated in Singapore and Innsbruck is that people are beginning to understand and fall in love with the Youth Olympic Games," he said. "It is something different and only for the youth. It prepares them as much as possible for their future careers." The young athletes themselves were also full of praise for the YOG."These Games have been fantastic," said British cross country skier Scott Dixon. "Probably the best week of my life in terms of the competition, the friendship, the sportsmanship - it's just been amazing."Combined gold medallist Magdalena Fjällström, from Sweden, agreed."It's the best competition I have been in," she said. "Everything is perfect!"The YOG were also incredibly well supported by Olympic fans in Innsbruck, with more than 110,000 spectators watching the events throughout the Games, creating a lively atmosphere at every venue. Ice hockey proved particularly popular, attracting almost 19,000 fans during the YOG, while thousands upon thousands of people enjoyed the nightly presentations and concerts at the Medal Plaza, which was located right in the heart of the city.The success of Innsbruck 2012 was also evident from the media coverage the Games generated. Television channels from 70 countries showed daily highlights programmes, while the official website - www.innsbruck2012.com - was accessed more than 4.7 million times. "There were so many firsts at these Games, so many incredible moments for the athletes and everyone involved in staging this event," said President Rogge. "Innsbruck was a terrific continuation of the excellent work done at the first Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, and it bodes very well for the future of the Youth Olympic Games."With Innsbruck 2012 proving that the YOG were more than just a one-hit wonder, the future for the Games - and the young athletes who took part - looks very bright indeed. ?Pictured High-level sporting performance, inspiring CEP experiences and Ambassadors all helped make Innsbruck 2012 a great successOLYMPIC REVIEW 33 WINTER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES