Countdown to Youth Olympic Games

23rd August 2011, by Chris Gill

Olympic ski jump, Innsbruck

Olympic ski jump, Innsbruck

There are less than 150 days to go before hundreds of young athletes descend on Innsbruck, Austria, for the 2012 Youth Winter Olympic Games.

A new promotional video and new games’ ambassador, Alpine racer Benjamin Raich, are stirring up excitement in the city – which has quite an Olympic history tagged to its name. Innsbruck was also host to the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games, with landmarks such as the ski jump and bob run at Igls still popular attractions with visitors.

The Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games is the first event of this kind and will bring together 1059 athletes aged 14 to 18, from over 60 nations. They will compete in the seven sports, which will also be represented at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

The Games takes place from 13 to 22 January 2012, so expect many of the main ski areas around Innsbruck to be busy. The Bergisel Stadium will welcome the athletes in a grand opening ceremony, overlooking the city-scape – marvel at the mountains from there.

Nearby Igls’s Patscherkofel mountain will host some of the Alpine events, as it did in 1964 and 1976 (the main red run was the Olympic downhill course); the slope-style and ski cross competitions will head for nearby Kühtai – a high and snowsure resort on the pass to Otztal.

Nordic events and the biathlon will be staged at Seefeld, a popular cross-country and downhill base close by. Back in town, you can catch a ring side seat for the indoor skating competitions at Olympiaworld. The modern building has an ice rink for the speed skating and figure skating events.

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