YOG fans getting active at Lillehammer 2016
As well as cheering on the next generation of Olympic stars, fans at the 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lillehammer have also been putting their own sporting skills to the test.
The ‘Try the Sport’ programme has been giving young supporters the chance to have a go at all 15 Winter Olympic disciplines when visiting the YOG venues during the Games.
The free sessions – which are open to both beginners and more advanced athletes – have been allowing kids aged from 6 to 15 to either learn the basic skills of the sport or receive expert tuition from qualified coaches.
For Lillehammer 2016 CEO Tomas Holmestad, the Try the Sport programme is an integral part of what the Organising Committee is trying to achieve through the YOG.
“From day one, we have said we wanted to create Games where spectators can be participants,” he said. “So, at every venue we set up a smaller venue, where everyone can try the sport. We hope the Games inspire children and youth to do sports, but in order to do so, the facilities and equipment are essential. Together with local clubs, we offer free loan of equipment to those who want to try. I think Try the Sport is great – where you can be inspired by the leading athletes in the world, and later try what they do. The journey of Lillehammer 2016 has told us the following; young people are best inspired by other young people.”
Several famous athletes have also been on-hand to lead training sessions, including four-time Olympic Alpine skiing gold medallist Kjetil André Aamodt, Olympic skeleton champion Maya Pedersen, 2002 Olympic curling gold medallist Pål Trulsen, Olympic cross-country skiing champion Maiken Caspersen Falla and double Olympic biathlon champion Tora Berger.
Berger, who won gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games, said: “I think it’s very good to introduce kids to all these different sports. They won’t know if they like a sport if they’ve never had a chance to try it. It’s important to also try lots of different sports when you’re young, and then as you get older you’ll have a better idea of what you want to do. I was 18 years old before I knew I wanted to be a biathlete!”
Visitors to the YOG have also been encouraged to get active as part of the Sjoggfest cultural festival that is taking place throughout Lillehammer during the course of the Games.
The ‘Active’ programme has been giving young people the chance to try ice climbing, bandy, parkour and telemark skiing, as well as more unusual activities such as ski ballet, which was a demonstration event at the Olympic Winter Games Albertville 1992; ice stock, which is similar to curling; and jump biathlon, which combines ski jumping and snowball throwing.