From 13 to 22 January 2012 Innsbruck and Seefeld played host to the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games, which saw 1,058 athletes aged 14 to 18 from over 70 nations compete in 63 sporting competitions and, together with youngsters from the local region, took part in a one-of-akind Culture & Education Programme. The idea behind this mixture of sport and culture is to support young people in their personal and sporting development and to raise their interest in the Olympic Values.
One of the main goals of the YOG is to host excellent sport competitions while ensuring that the athletes are provided with the best possible platform to achieve their sporting goals. Featuring alongside the 15 core sports disciplines at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games was a series of premiere. While some of these are completely new sports making their debut at the Olympic Games, others are Olympic sports which broke new ground by featuring new competition formats with ‘mixed teams’ uniting athletes of different genders and/or from different countries. These ‘mixed teams’ gave the young athletes the chance to live the Olympic Values of Respect and Friendship.
Running parallel to the sporting competitions was the Youth Olympic Games Culture & Education Programme (CEP). The projects and workshops organized as part of the CEP gave participants the chance to enter into discussion and to learn about the importance of healthy living, anti-doping and sustainability. Youngsters interested in media and reporting could also learn all about reporting from the Games and communicating with generations of young people across the world via social networks. The workshops were hosted by well-known champions, international experts and worldclass personalities from the worlds of education, culture and sport.
The 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck and Seefeld were set to become a unique, unforgettable festival of sport and culture for local youngsters and athletes visiting the region, and they served as an inspiration for younger generations across the planet.