Norway is hosting the Youth Olympic Games in 2016, taking place in Lillehammer from February 12th to 21st. Over the course of ten days, 1,100 young athletes from all over the world will compete in the 15 Olympic winter disciplines. Even though it is a professional competition, there is an emphasis on culture and education. New this year is an innovative sustainable twist to the opening ceremony.
On December 1st, the Olympic flame was lit as per tradition in Greece at a ceremony conducted by the Hellenic Olympic Committee. The occasion for this is the upcoming Youth Olympic Games, which in 2016 are held in Norway from February 12th to 21st.
From Greece, the flame travelled to Norway, where it will proceed on a torch tour around the whole country before ending at the opening ceremony in Lillehammer on February 12th, 2016. Here, Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra will light the Olympic fire – just like her father did at the Winter Olympic Games in 1994 in Lillehammer.
”Norway has a long and proud tradition within winter sports and attracts a high number of European ski tourists every year, coming here for alpine or cross-country skiing. Therefore we are very much looking forward to hosting the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2016 and hope the games will inspire even more people to go skiing in Norway,” explains Per-Arne Tuftin, Tourism Director of Visit Norway.
New this year, the opening ceremony combines sustainable innovation and sports. In the county of Oppland, the youth is currently running, jumping and leaping in order to generate the power that will ensure lights, sound and images during the opening ceremony. The activities are part of a competition across local schools where the pupils compete to move the most. Each team registers their activities in an online solution that converts the total energy into kWh.
At the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, a total of 1,100 of the world’s best young winter athletes aged 15-18 will be participating. Here, they will be competing in 70 sporting events across the 15 Olympic Winter disciplines. Statistics show that many of the young sports talents will later participate in the regular Winter Olympics.
Even though the Youth Olympic Games is a competition with ambitious and professional athletes, there’s also a focus on developing the sports of the future and expanding the scope of the Olympic disciplines.
“In 2012, slopestyle was on the program in an Olympic context for the very first time at the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, and in 2014, the discipline became a part of the regular Winter Olympics. The same has been the case for other disciplines throughout the years. In Lillehammer in 2016, monobob and cross-country cross will be some of the new disciplines,” says Per-Arne Tuftin.
Solidarity, community and education are keywords for the Youth Olympic Games. In order to strengthen the sense of solidarity and cultural unity, all participants are required to be in the region for the duration of the ten days of the Youth Olympic Games and also to take part of the Learn & Share program to acquire new sports and life skills.
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You may have an impression of the Lillehammer region from watching the Olympic winter games in 1994, or the Netflix series “Lilyhammer”. But if you want an authentic experience of the vibrant region, we warmly recommend a visit.