The fans behind the YOG athletes
What is a sports fan?
According to some, it is a complex matter, partly irrational but not unworthy, a relief from the seriousness of the real world, with its unending pressures and often grave obligations.
Put simply: sport, in all reality, means nothing; so in all reality it means everything.
So what would sport be without its fans?
Pretty boring, that's what.
No matter where you go, regardless of the venue, you will always see them. They are the first in and the first out, brightly clad and shouting even louder. They live and die with each passing moment, celebrating the victory when their hero wins and crying when they lose.
Truth be told, if sport was a human body, the fans would be its heart. At the Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympic Games it’s no different.
"I have been to 13 Olympic Games, three World Cups, one Pan-American Games, one Asian Games and two Youth Olympic Games," said Bud Lidell, an American supporter and self-proclaimed "biggest fan at the YOG".
Karen Gruber of Germany was also fired up to be at the YOG. "I'm looking forward to seeing the figure skating," she said, her face intricately painted in black, red and yellow. "I am here to support my team and I hope they do well."
Natalie Noumeh of Belarus was also happy to be in Innsbruck. "i think we have around 15 athletes at the YOG, so I'm hoping we can win a medal," she said. Austrian Franz Ager said he was happy to have the Games back in his home town after Innsbruck played host to the Winter Games in 1964 and 1976.
"I was 20 in 1976 and I visited many different competitions. The Youth Olympic Games are now a new thing, and it is good that the Games are still here in Innsbruck. We welcome the world with open arms."