Exclusive: Lillehammer 2016 promise to bring own identity to Winter Youth Olympics
Friday, 10 February 2012
February 10 - Lillehammer 2016 will bring their own identity to the Winter Youth Olympic Games when they host the next event, the chair Siri Hatlen (pictured) has promised.
Innsbruck 2012 received widespread plaudits for successfully hosting the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics, with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge saying the competition "exceeded all expectations and laid solid foundations for future Youth Olympic Games".
Lillehammer was awarded the 2016 Games at the end of last year having been the only city to bid for the competition.
There are high hopes for the city after it hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics, credited as being one of the best Winter Games in history.
Hatlen, a successful Norwegian businesswoman, feels that Lillehammer can cope with the expectation and that she and her team will be fully prepared to host the second Winter Youth Olympics.
"I think Innsbruck 2012 did a great job organising the first Winter Youth Olympic Games," said the 54-year-old, who served for two years as the chief executive of Oslo University Hospital, one of Scandinavia's largest hospitals with over 20,000 employees.
"The city has great traditions for sport and hosting the Olympics and it was, therefore, very well equipped to get the Winter Youth Olympic Games off to a great start.
"I am happy to have had the chance to visit Innsbruck during the Games and, personally, it was inspiring to see the Games in action.
"Lillehammer has much to learn by keeping a dialogue with the Organising Committee of Innsbruck 2012, but I believe that all Games have their own identity.
"We will, of course, adapt the concept and execution of the Games to Lillehammer as a city and to the Norwegian culture.
"We want to make sure all participants and visitors will feel a part of the Olympic legacy of Lillehammer."
Espen Johnson (pictured above left), the Mayor of Lillehammer, has also revealed that infrastructure from the successful 1994 Winter Olympics will be a crucial factor in helping Lillehammer stage the event in 2016.
Johnson also attended Innsbruck 2012 and was heavily involved in the Closing Ceremony where he participated in the Olympic flag handover event (pictured above) to symbolically mark the fact that Innsbruck was passing over hosting duties to Lillehammer.
"The infrastructure from 1994 will have a central role for Lillehammer 2016," he said.
"The Athletes Village will be the major new addition to the infrastructure in Lillehammer and it will serve as a part of the legacy of the 2016 Youth Olympic Games."
The budget for Lillehammer is around $64 million (£41 million/€49 million).
Approximately 50 per cent of all revenues are guaranteed in the form of Government support.
The IOC's financial contribution will amount to around $23 million (£15 million/€18 million), as well as additional funding of $17.4 million (£11.2 million/€13.5 million) for an infrastructure investment that will serve as a legacy after the Youth Games.
Over 1,000 athletes, ranging in age from 15 to 18, are expected to compete at Lillehammer 2016, which like Innsbruck 2012, will feature competitions in the same seven sports that currently make up the Winter Olympics sporting programme.
January 2012: Businesswoman appointed head of Lillehammer 2016
December 2011: Lillehammer awarded 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games