Austria ready for Youth Olympics

WITH 123 days to go before the Innsbruck Youth Olympic Games in Austria, the International Olympic Committee's coordination commission said they were impressed with the operational readiness.

The commission's chairperson, Gian-Franco Kasper, said they were particularly impressed with the progress of the Youth Olympic Village, which will accommodate approximately 1660 athletes and officials during the event and, as a legacy of the Youth Olympic Games, will be used as affordable housing once the Games have concluded.

"The Innsbruck organising committee heads into the final few months of preparation with an extremely organised and creative team who are working tirelessly to ensure an unforgettable elite sporting event for the world's best young winter athletes," said Kasper. "This unique host city has a rich Olympic history and already feels the excitement building as it makes history again with the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games."

The IOC has supported the move to have all snowboard and freestyle events at the Kütai venue. Based at over 2000m above sea level and with excellent snow making facilities that practically guarantee snow conditions, the venue is expected to become one of the best winter freestyle sport and training centres in Europe.

At Innsbruck 2012, several new disciplines will be seen for the first time at an Olympic event, such as snowboard slopestype, ski half pipe and ice hockey skills challenge. Also integrated into the sports programme for the first time is women's ski jumping, the winner of which will be awarded the first Winter Youth Olympic Games medal.

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