Olympic fever spreads throughout Norway
The Norwegians know how to put on an awesome show! From the long-lasting memories of the Olympic Winter Games 1994, the Lillehammer organisers have just written a new Olympic chapter with their hosting of the second Winter Youth Olympic Games.
© Thomas Lovelock for YIS/IOC
Starting with the inspirational Opening Ceremony, which saw thousands of spectators come out in sub-zero temperatures to re-kindle the Olympic spirit while celebrating the young talented athletes who form the future of sport. Then there was the competition; from the Oslo halfpipe and the freestyle venues to the grace on the ice demonstrated in Hamar, and the innovations such as the lightning quick, gone-in-a-blink-of-an-eye new monobob discipline. The more than 130,000-strong crowds over the course of 10 days have been truly thrilled, entertained and excited about what they will see next from these talented young athletes.
© IOC/Ian Jones
Over at the Sjoggpark - a downtown park set in a winter icy wonderland - some of the biggest international acts in the world have rocked the stage, from Madcon, Nico & Vinz and the up-and-coming star Aurora to the live cultural acts and inspirational speakers. The best thing is that all of this has been free… even if the fans had to queue around the block in chilly conditions to get into the venues!
© IOC/Ian Jones
Across Norway everyone is talking about the Winter Youth Olympic Games, starting with the 200 young leaders who have been trained over the past 18 months and have used the YOG as a career milestone in their promising futures in the sports industry. All 200 of them will take this experience home and share it with their communities.
© Catherine Dokken/Lillehammer 2016
The Torch Tour kick-started the Olympic fever, visiting all 19 counties of Norway to celebrate the young talented Change-makers, who have been chosen for their positive contribution to others through sport. And then there are the 20,000 young students who have visited Lillehammer to experience their “Dream Day”; a day not only to watch sport, but also to participate in one of the “Try the Sport” activities available at every venue. They experienced the interactive Learn and Share activities where they not only learnt new skills but also got to chat with Olympians and then finish the day by partying into the night at the Sjoggfest.
Lillehammer holds a special place in the hearts of Norwegians, and now in the hearts of the millions of fans around the world who have watched (both on TV and for the first time live on youtube.com/Olympics), liked and shared the Games through social media. With the #iLoveYOG, over 8,000 pictures have been shared by fans to create a giant physical piece of mosaic art work that will be donated to the brand new Olympic Museum in Lillehammer.
© Line Østerdahl / Lillehammer 2016
During his closing press conference, the IOC President praised the organisers: “The work of the Organising Committee was really outstanding. The way the Lillehammer team planned and delivered the Games fitted perfectly with the youth spirit of these Games, and I can only praise the flawless organisation as well as the 3,200 volunteers from 80 countries,” he said. “This shows that, with these Youth Olympic Games, it was not only the athletes that were inspired; they in turn inspired the Organising Committee, the volunteers and all of us with their great attitude,” he added.
© IOC/Ubald Rutar
The Youth Olympic flame will certainly continue to burn brightly long after the closing party has ended, across Norway and beyond!