The second Winter Youth Olympic Games will be hosted in the Norwegian city of Lillehammer from February 12-21, 2016. One of Scandinavia’s finest winter sports locations, Lillehammer was also the host of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games where Australia celebrated its first Winter Olympic medal (men’s short track speed skating relay).
Lillehammer is still renowned for having some of the best venues in Olympic history. These venues will host the majority of events at the 2016 WYOG. There are seven sports on the 2016 program and a wide range of disciplines including women’s ski jumping and slopestyle which were introduced for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Hot off the heels of Sochi, Lillehammer is just the second ever WYOG following the inaugural Games in Innsbruck, Austria in January, 2012. The Lillehammer Organising Committee endeavours to create a WYOG that builds on the Innsbruck experience and also ties in aspects of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. They are involving many young people from Lillehammer in their planning and delivery of the Games.
Like Innsbruck and the past two summer Youth Olympic Games (Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014), a Culture and Education Program (CEP) will form an important part of the Games experience for athletes. The CEP activities are aimed at integrating young people with the Olympic values and culture and will be run out of the Athlete’s Village- one of the few new venues built for Lillehammer 2016.
The Australian Olympic Committee will look to send a team of approximately 15 athletes to Lillehammer. It is anticipated Australia will be repesented in the following disciplines: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, figure skating, freestyle skiing (ski cross, halfpipe), ice hockey (individual skills), luge, short track speed skating and snowboard (cross).
Alisa Camplin has been named as the Chef de Mission of the Team, as she was for Innsbruck 2012. The two-time Olympic aerial skiing medallist and former world champion is thrilled to be able to help Australia's future winter sports champions reach theif full potential.
Lillehammer is a modern town with medieval skiing roots- its coat of arms features a Viking on skis. The Lillehammer region, which comprises the southern and middle part of the Gudbrandsdalen Valley, lies approximately 180 kilometres north of Oslo. The town of Lillehammer has a population of around 26,000 and an average temperature of minus 6 to minus 12 degrees Celsius in February.
One of Lillehammer’s most iconic natural features is Lake Mjøsa - the largest lake in Norway.
One of the main principles of the Youth Olympic Games is to use existing sporting venues. It will be fantastic for the athletes at Lillehammer 2016 as eight venues from the Lillehammer 1994 Olympic Games, will be utilised:
- Birkebeineren Ski Stadium, Lillehammer
- Lillehammer Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track, Hunderfossen
- Kristin’s Hall, Lillehammer
- Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Hills, Lillehammer
- Hafjell Alpine Ski Resort
- Gjøvik Olympic Cavern Hall, Gjøvik
- Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre, Hamar
- The Viking Ship Olympic Arena, Hamar
The Lillehammer Curling Hall is the one new venue to be be used for the Youth Olympic Games. It is in Lillehammer and was opened in 2012.