Innsbruck 2012: Three times lucky
Standing tall over the Austrian town of Innsbruck, surrounded by the snow-capped Tyrolean mountains, the iconic Bergisel Stadium has become a symbol of legacy.
The ski jumping venue hosted two Opening Ceremonies for the Olympic Winter Games (1964 and 1976) and in 2012 played its part again, welcoming athletes and fans alike to the first Winter Youth Olympic Games.
But it is not only the Bergisel Stadium that remains a reminder of Innsbruck’s strong Olympic heritage. Patscherkofel (Alpine skiing), the Olympic ice stadium (ice hockey and ice skating) and Seefeld (cross-country skiing) all made their Olympic comeback some 38 years after their Olympic debuts in 1964 hosting sporting competitions during the Youth Olympic Games.
As a direct result of hosting such legendary Games, Innsbruck has become recognised and revered for its world class sporting venues, with fans coming out in their thousands to cheer on their favourite athletes in competitions hosted throughout the winter season. The YOG added to this reputation with the addition of Kuhtai, one of Europe’s largest freestyle ski and snowboard parks.
The YOG also contributed to Innsbruck’s Olympic legacy through the optimisation of its carbon neutral Youth Olympic Village to benefit the whole community of Innsbruck. Just three months after the Games the Village was handed over to 444 families on low incomes who needed affordable homes.
But one thing all three Games left behind was a new generation inspired by the sporting achievements and Olympic values demonstrated by the athletes and city proudly living up to its name as the ‘Heart of the Alps’.