By Nick Butler

Voters have a choice between three potential mascots ©Lillehammer 2016A competition has opened today to select a mascot for the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympics after a shortlist of three finalists was chosen.

Following the submission of designs from more than 50 different countries in a competition which began in March, three finalists were chosen by a jury panel last week.

The shortlist consists of three animals associated with winter climates in the form of a moose, a lynx and a weasel, with voting opening today via the Lillehammer 2016 Facebook page.

The voting will be open for more than a week before closing on June 5, with more details on how to cast votes available here.

Details on how choices can be made are outlined on the Lillehammer 2016 Facebook page ©FacebookDetails on how choices can be made are outlined on the Lillehammer 2016 Facebook page ©Facebook

This represents the latest attempt to bring attention to the Games, which begin in 18 months following the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck in January 2012.

The mascots, and the competition to select them, also fits with the youthful and vibrant image associated with the Games, as well as the Lillehammer 2016 slogan of "Go beyond. Create tomorrow".

This follows last week's inspection visit by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission, along with a visit by IOC President Thomas Bach, which Games organisers claim has "energised the bid".

The Games are due to take place in the Norwegian city from February 12 to 21 in 2016, with young winter athletes from all around the world set to compete. 

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories 
May 2014: Lillehammer 2016 "energised" by visit of IOC President with 18 months to go
March 2014: Lillehammer 2016 launches mascot design competition
February 2014: Lillehammer 2016 will introduce world to more exciting winter disciplines, claims chief
November 2013: Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games emblem revealed
September 2013: Lillehammer 2016 revises dates to coincide with 22-year anniversary of 1994 Olympics