Innsbruck comes to a close as flag passed to Lillehammer
INNSBRUCK January 23, 2012 - IOC President Jacques Rogge dubbed the first Winter Youth Olympic Games "refreshing" and has claimed they could help strengthen the fight against doping in sport.
As at the first Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore, organisers laid on a cultural and education programme for the Athletes who were encouraged to take part in events including practical sessions on Alpine safety.
"More athletes visisted the World Anti Doping Agency booth than any other stand." said Rogge." That is a very good sign. it shows a healthy interest in the prevention of doping."
Meanwhile IOC Director Gilbert Felli admitted it will be difficult to persuade future Youth Olympic host cities to rein in their budgets.The next Summer Youth Olympics in 2014 are set for the Chinese city of Nanjing.
"Holding an international event in China is not like staging it in Central Europe. There it goes to the very highest level." He said. "I can also tell you that if we go to a small country that has never had the Games,they will say that this has to be at a higher level because we want to show what we are able to do."
At a simple ceremony in the centre of Innsbruck, the Olympic flag was lowered to the strains of Spiro Samara's Olympic anthem.Then the mayor of Innsbruck Christina Oppitz-Plorer presented a ceremonial Winter Youth Olympic flag to Espen Johnsen Mayor of Lillehammer, winter host city in 2016 .
He was joined by 14 year old Mathea Tofte daughter of 1984 cross country skiing gold medallist Britt Pettersen Tofte. It was somehow appropriate that a Norwegian town should receive the first Winter Youth Olympic flag. Oslo had inaugurated the ritual for the Olympic Winter Games in 1952.
Lillehammer hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1994 and all the signs are that they will follow Innsbruck's example and stage modest Games.
"We will of course adapt the concept and execution of the games to Lillehammer as a city and to the Norwegian culture. " said Siri Hatlen, newly appointed to lead the Lillehammer Organising Committee.
"We want to make sure all participants and visitors will feel as a part of the Olympic legacy of Lillehammer. It has been inspiring to see the Games here and we in Lillehammer have much to learn by keeping a dialogue with the organisers in Innsbruck" she said.
The infrastructure from 1994 will have a central role for Lillehammer 2016." Said Mayor Johnsen." We will have to make smaller adjustments to some venues, to make it fit better the sports of the day. The athletes' village will be the new addition to the infrastructure in Lillehammer, and will serve as a part of the legacy of YOG 2016." On the final day of the 2012 Games, , the Swedish ice hockey women silenced a passionate home crowd to beat Austria .
As the final hooter sounded, Abba's "Winner Takes It" resounded around the stadium. Later in the day, the Finns made it a Scandinavian double with a thrilling victory over Russia in the men's competition .