The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is pleased to announce that American Alpine skier and Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn has agreed to take a leading role in mentoring athletes at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, by becoming the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games Ambassador.
Vonn’s appointment follows the success of Summer Youth Olympic Games Ambassadors Usain Bolt, Yelena Isinbayeva and Michael Phelps, who supported last year’s inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
Vonn will encourage young people around the globe to become more active in sport in her role as Ambassador for the Innsbruck Youth Olympic Games, which will take place from 13 to 22 January 2012. The 2010 Olympic downhill gold medallist will also look to connect with and support the young athletes competing in Innsbruck.
“I have been skiing since I was two years old,” the now 26-year-old Vonn said. “So I know the importance of strong role models. When I first met my hero, Picabo Street, it was a huge thrill and an unforgettable moment for me. She inspired me to become what I am today. If I can have even half that effect on some of the young athletes I come into contact with, it will be worth it. I’m really looking forward to it.”
IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “It is a terrific thing to have such an iconic and successful winter athlete — not to mention a three-time Olympian — on board to mentor the athletes at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games and encourage kids around the world to take up sport. Lindsey is not only a great champion. She has a great personality, a warm heart and she knows what it means to give the best of yourself in whatever you do. She is sure to have a positive and lasting impact on the young people she interacts with.”
Innsbruck 2012 will attract over 1,000 top athletes between the ages of 15 and 18 from roughly 70 countries. The athletes will compete in the same seven sports on the programme for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in 2014, but a number of the 63 events will feature for the first time at an Olympic event. They include: biathlon mixed relay, luge team relay, ski halfpipe, snowboard slopestyle, figure skating mixed team event, ice hockey skills challenge and women’s ski jumping.
In addition to mixed gender events, there will also be mixed National Olympic Committee competitions.
In addition to competing in their sports events, the athletes will participate in a Culture and Education Programme (CEP) featuring fun and engaging activities designed to provide guidance on a wide range of topics, including Olympic values, the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle, and the prevention of sports injuries, among others.
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