Tell us about the Torch Tour that started last weekend!
First of all, it’s not a traditional Torch Relay in the meaning of the torch being carried all the way throughout Norway. Instead we have decided to take the Youth Olympic Flame on a road trip! It will stop 21 times to celebrate young changemakers from every county in Norway – these are young volunteers that are creating countless sporting activities in their local community. 400 applied and 19 have been chosen by a jury.
Lillehammer 2016 is created for and with young people and that’s why with this Torch Tour we are using the flame to let these young volunteers shine and celebrate them and they will also play a part in the Opening Ceremony with celebrities such as six-time Olympic champion Marit Bjørgen and H.R.H. Princess Ingrid Alexandra.
The Torch Tour celebrations will take place in schools, at sports venues or in the different towns. The whole tour is a team work togetherwith the Norwegian NOC and our sponsors with Coca-Cola as the presenting partner of the tour.
The Torch Tour will serve as a marketing campaign to raise further awareness for the upcoming Games, and we hope to see many news stories and wonderful pictures across traditional and social media.
How were medals and the mascot designed?
The mascot was given life through an international design competition which we posted on Facebook. We got suggestions from all over the world. A jury, not knowing the origin of the designers, nominated a top three-list. We were pretty surprised to know that all the three finalists came from the Lillehammer-region! In the end the Lynx, which later got the name Sjogg (meaning snow!) won after a poll we had on Facebook. It’s become very popular, and we expect that all visitors will take a plush Sjogg back to their homes together with many good memories from Lillehammer 2016.
The medal was also designed through an international medal competition that the IOC did for us. Again, there were suggestions from the whole globe. The standard of this year’s competition has pushed creativity and imagination to the limits, but the panel of judges has finally picked the winning design. And that title goes to 20-year-old Burzo Ciprian from Romania with his medal, “To the TOP”. Burzo’s winning design was chosen from over 300 entries by a panel of judges comprising Olympians, Young Ambassadors and Young Reporters.
Can you give us some clues about the Opening Ceremony of the Lillehammer YOG ?
The Opening Ceremony will take place in the same venue where the opening for the Winter Games in 1994 were held exactly 22 years after the last time the Olympic flame was lit in Norway. The cauldron at the venue will be lit by H.R.H Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway and Norwegian cross country athlete Marit Bjørgen, a six time Olympic champion, will carry the torch into the venue- she’s a superstar in Norway!
The ceremony is being directed by the 33-year-old shooting star Sigrid Strøm Reibo, already being acclaimed as a theatre director in Norway.
What is the Sjoggfest?
Sports, Culture and learning experiences. Those three key elements are what the YOG is all about. Sjoggfest is the cultural festival of Lillehammer 2016, and we are really proud of the programme we have to offer. The music festival is without comparison the most extensive part of the festival, with more than 100 performances. The profile of the music festival is based on young Norwegian talents, with almost all artists under the age of 30 – varying from youngsters from national talent competitions (UKM) to the most renowed Norwegian artists abroad, such as Matoma, Lemaitrê and Kvelertak. The music festival will be held at several venues in downtown Lillehammer. There also will be an outdoor cinema, opportunities to try new sports, the « Sjoggfest Talks » which are all about young people with big stories – sharing their experiences and adventures with all of us. And some surprises!
Can you tell us more about the surprises?
Yes, there will be surprises both on the field of play. We’ll see some amazing sporting achievements and some new winter sports superstars will be seen for the first time during these games. On the cultural side, we have planned some events that are not to be found on any programme, but with our app that we’re creating there will be a treasure hunt to discover the hidden gems of the Games. Wait and see what happens!
Tell us about the programme "Learn and Share"!
The learning experiences are a key element. The vision for the Lillehammer 2016 is to make an educational difference in the life of the young athletes. The Learn & Share activities will inspire and empower them in order to enable them to Go beyond. Create tomorrow – like our slogan! Among them, « Your Body and Mind » where Participants learn how to maximise their physical and mental potential, while respecting their body and health, in their sporting career and beyond, « Your Career » where they learn about the various aspects of a professional athlete’s career, including personal development and how to manage transitional phases, « Your actions » an activity that enables the participants to learn, understand and express their excellence by acting as role models and representatives of their community, or «Your discovery » where the round athletes will get a taste of Norwegian winter sports culture and Olympic history through signing up and attending different excursions in the area of Lillehammer.
15 world-class athletes from the international sporting scene, the Athletes Role Models (ARM) will spend time with the athletes, participate in the Learn & Share activities and contribute to the Chat with Champions sessions.
How do you use the social media to help spreading the word?
Social media has been a vital tool to raise the awareness for Lillehammer 2016. We actually had a Facebook site long before we set up our web page. We are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and also proud to be the first Olympic event to be on Snapchat. These channels help us in different ways to communicate to our friends, and by that spreading the messages and the spirit of Lillehammer 2016. We are constantly pushing our hashtag #lillehammer2016, and this hashtag will also be seen on the field of play since it is included in our look of the games decorations. This is another first for an Olympic event, being the first games to include a hashtag in the stadium decorations.
During games time we will have a large social media team to keep our channels alive and kicking, but also for us to monitor and share all the fun stuff our visitors are posting with #lillehammer2016.
What is the role of the Young Ambassadors?
Their main role is to aid the different participants to get the most out of the games as possible, by staying with the NOCs and inspire and inform the athletes on all the fun and engaging activities that they should try out while being here.
What will be the main actions of the 3000 volunteers?
The volunteers play a crucial role for this event. Without them Lillehammer 2016 would never happen. When we start the games, the organizing committee is basically putting the event into the hands of the volunteers. Their main role is to make everyone feel welcome, they need to be helpful and more or less be able to solve any issue on the spot with a smile. The volunteer movement is strong in Norway, with tons of dedication. We truly rely on our volunteers to make the best of their time here with us, and if they’re happy and joyful – the whole event will be just the same.
How Lillehammer will be decorated during the 2016 YOG?
The city of Lillehammer and all the venues will be decorated in the visual profile of Lillehammer 2016, another design task that back in the early days were handed to some design students. The inner city of Lillehammer will be quite colourful during the games, and we also have great support from the local shops as they are extending their opening hours until late throughout the games. There will be flags, banners, and other Lillehammer elements all over the place, so there will be impossible not to notice that there’s something amazing going on. In addition to this, there will be fun and engaging activities from our sponsors in the city and tons of activities such as ice climbing, sliding activities, an igloo disco and outdoor cinema. To sum it up, there will be something to do or watch all the time during this event.