In 2016, Lillehammer will host the second Winter Youth Olympic Games. Central to the planning of these Games will be a strong commitment to respect and protect the environment; values that many organisations now strive to live by.
But back in 1994, environmental conservation was not so high on everyone’s lists, which made the work of the Organising Committee for the Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games even more commendable.
From using the stone from the building of the ski jumping venue to create the medals, to constructing the ice hockey venue, the Gjovik Olympic Cavern Hall, underground thus preserving energy, Lillehammer became known as the first ‘Green’ Games and set the bar for others to follow.
Speaking about this dedication to environmental protection, Gerhard Heiberg, IOC member and head of the Lillehammer Olympic Organising Committee, said: “The legacy of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games is alive, not only in Lillehammer and the areas around Lillehammer, but also in the Olympic Movement.”
Building on this legacy for a new generation, the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games will use the existing sports venues, which, when built back in the 90s, were integrated into the landscape of the small, picturesque Norwegian town as much and as sensitively as possible. The same green technologies are also still deployed at the Gjovik Olympic Caver Hall, which will be used for the short-track competition, with the venue heated by the energy provided from making the ice.
Lillehammer 1994 set a new standard for major sports events, sending out a strong message that environmental protection measures can and should be part of their operating mandate, and it is a message the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games look set to bring home again.