From YOG to Sochi and beyond!
One year ago, over 60 young athletes who broke onto the scene at the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Innsbruck in 2012 went on to make their Olympic debut at Sochi 2014. For a small number, their Olympic star was burning bright as they became Olympic champions, for the other “Yoggies”, they gave it their best shot and carried the legacy of the YOG through to the Olympic stage.
© IOC/C. Graythen
There were gold medals won by Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) in front of her home nation in figure skating, Shim Suk Hee (KOR) who picked up a medal of each colour in short track speed skating, and the literally high-flying Andreas Wellinger (GER) in ski jumping. Taku Hiraoka (JPN) also made a name for himself as he bypassed Shaun White for the bronze medal in the men’s snowboard half pipe.
© IOC/A. Bello
The story continues for many of the YOG athletes. Shim Suk Hee went onto smash it at the ISU World Championships last year in Montreal; and Australian luger Alex Ferlazzo, who trains on a street luge in tropical Queensland, went on to make more history by becoming the first Australian to win a medal in luge, which he claimed at the Junior World Cup in December 2014. In the same month, fellow luger Tucker West (USA) went onto win the first men’s World Cup title for his country since 1997.
Taking inspiration from YOG Ambassador and freestyle skier Kevin Rolland (FRA), who himself picked up bronze in Sochi in ski half pipe, fellow freestyler Katie Summerhayes (GBR), the ski slopestyle pioneer, just claimed silver last month at the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships. Meanwhile, Sara Takanashi (JPN), the ski jumping favourite who missed out on the podium in Sochi, has now gone onto win 26 World Cup titles.
Behind the scenes, there are also the Young Ambassadors and Young Reporters who, since working tirelessly in Sochi supporting their athletes or reporting on the Games, now continue to work for their NOC or have full time journalist positions to bring more tales of the future Games!
Together these individuals brought not only the YOG magic to the Olympic Games, but a good dose of YOG-DNA!