First-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games to be held January 13-22, 2012
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TORONTO, Jan. 13 /CNW/ - One year from today, Innsbruck, Austria will be
electrified as young athletes from around the world converge on the
Alps for the first-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The Canadian Olympic Committee will mark this milestone with a media
conference call at 1:30 pm ET, featuring past Canadian Olympic
champions and Youth Olympic hopefuls. Media are invited to call
416-340-2217 in Toronto or toll-free at 866-696-5910 and quote pass
code 2718308 to join the call.
The Youth Olympic Games made their debut in 2010 when Singapore hosted
the first Summer Games. Created in 2007, the two-week event was born to
inspire young people to engage in sport and learn about Olympic values.
Young Canadian athletes are competing at home and abroad to qualify for
Innsbruck, an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent
their country in an Olympic atmosphere at such a young age.
"However cliché it may seem, the ultimate dream is to compete in the
Winter Olympic Games and stand on the podium to watch the maple leaf
rise," said 15-year-old luger John Fennell. "I feel that the first step
in making that dream become a reality would be to compete in the Youth
Olympics. These Games could be a realization of my dream, a taste of
that Olympic glory."
The Games will attract more than 1,000 athletes between 14 and 18 years
of age from over 70 nations. They will compete in the same seven sports
that will be contested at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
As for Singapore 2010, new events and disciplines have been introduced
into the sports program. There will be a combined discipline of
cross-country skiing and biathlon, as well as the first-ever Olympic
inclusion of women's ski jumping. Athletes will also attend a
comprehensive Culture and Education Program, which is a major component
of the experience.
The Austrian ski resort town has been the breathtaking setting for two
Olympic Winter Games: 1964 and 1976. Along with Lake Placid, USA and
St. Moritz, SUI, it is unique in hosting two Winter Games.
Canadians have won two Olympic gold medals in Innsbruck. Victor Emery's
four-man bobsleigh team sped to gold in 1964, while skier Kathy
Kreiner-Phillips won the women's giant slalom in 1976.
"Competing in the Winter Youth Olympic Games would have been a great way
to be more prepared for the Olympic Games," said Kreiner-Phillips, who
was just 18 when she won Olympic gold. "Speaking as an athlete and now
as a mental trainer, the more opportunities to compete in a
multi-sport, big games event the better. It increases the opportunity
to experience the unique pressures and logistics of competing with many
distractions. There is nothing quite like them so it would certainly
help one to know more what to expect."
"The Olympics are the ultimate goal of athletes the world over competing
at national and international levels," said Emery. "Typically, their
historical performance is measured by how well they performed in the
Olympics. It is a marvellous time to relate to a peer group outside of
one's own sport and country, to compare notes not only about sport, but
also living - on a world scale."
In one year, a new group of young athletes will endeavour to make their
own history, as they vie to add their names to the short list of
Canadians who have left Innsbruck with an Olympic medal.
Check out the IOC's new Innsbruck 2012 countdown video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLhjk0SwAtg.
About the Canadian Olympic Committee
The Canadian Olympic Committee is a national, private, not-for-profit
organization committed to sport excellence. It is responsible for all
aspects of Canada's involvement in the Olympic Movement, including
Canada's participation in the Olympic and Pan American Games and a wide
variety of programs that promote the Olympic Movement in Canada through
cultural and educational means. For news and information, visit the COC
website at www.olympic.ca and find the team on both Facebook (Canadian Olympic Team) and Twitter
For further information:
Isabelle Hodge, Manager, Media Relations, Canadian Olympic Committee
Tel.: (416) 324-4122, Email: email@example.com