Last week the IOC President visited Lillehammer to take part in a series of early meetings and seminar to discuss the second Winter Youth Olympic Games that will take place in the Norwegian Olympic city in 2016.
Beginning the YOG seminar in the Lillehammer Olympic Museum auditorium, the President gave a rousing speech to the 200-strong audience from the world of sports, universities, authorities and Games organisers.
After the success of the first two editions of the Summer and Winter Youth Olympic Games, President Rogge expressed the IOC’s mission and vision for the Youth Olympic Games as an event that focuses not only on elite sports competition, but also on a culture and educational aspect.
He said: “We will give skills to these athletes; skills for their later life, not only for their athletic and sporting careers, but also as a citizen of the world and as an individual person.”
He continued: “Our vision at the IOC is that sport is far more than a competition - sport is also about the education of young people. It is about integrating minorities into the mainstream of society, and it is about bringing a healthy lifestyle. Sport is about bringing a dream and joy to the athletes.”
The seminar continued throughout the day ahead of the City to City debrief, led by the Innsbruck 2012 Organising Committee.
After inspiring the future Games organisers and participants, the President was then invited to open a new curling facility that will also be used as a YOG venue in four years’ time. Shortly after declaring the venue open, two members of the Youth Olympic Games team from Innsbruck 2012 presented the President with his very own pair of the infamous Norwegian brightly-coloured curling trousers.
Next stop was the Birkebeineren ski station – the centre for Lillehammer’s biathlon and cross-country athletes – where the President was joined by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. After a tour of the exceptional facility, which has produced many Olympic champions, both visitors were invited to try out the biathlon shooting range under the expert guidance of biathletes Fanny Welle-Strand Horn and Olympic gold medallist Tora Berger.