By Michael Pavitt

The Omega Countdown Clock was unveiled to show one year until the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympics ©OmegaLillehammer 2016 has hosted celebrations to mark one year to go until the city stage the Winter Youth Olympic Games, with Norway's Crown Prince Haakon unveiling a Omega countdown clock showing 365 days to go.

Prince Haakon was joined at the celebrations by IOC vice-president Nawal El Moutawakel and Angela Ruggiero, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission.

Norwegian Minister for Culture Thorhild Widvey also attended the ceremony. 

"This is truly a Games by young people for young people and a big thank-you goes to the tremendous efforts of the young and talented local Organising Committee," said El Moutawakel.

"With its exciting sports and unique spirit, this will certainly be a wonderful and unforgettable Youth Olympic Games."

El Moutawakel and Ruggiero also took part in a school sports day event and Olympic ice hockey gold medallist Ruggiero held a coaching session for local youngsters.

The specially made Omega countdown clock was designed to represent the fresh and dynamic atmosphere associated with the Youth Olympic Games.

It will countdown the seconds until the Opening Ceremony, is due to be held on February 12, 2016, exactly 22 years on from the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympic Games.

The clock is located in the Lilletorget city centre and is decorated with the official logo of the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games logo and a declaration of Omega's role at the Games, which will see them measure, record and distribute the results of each athlete.

School children celebrated the one year to go milestone at Gjøvik Olympic Cavern Hall ©Lillehammer 2016School children celebrated the one year to go milestone at Gjøvik Olympic Cavern Hall ©Lillehammer 2016

"We are proud to work with Omega," said Tomas Holmestad, the Lillehammer 2016 chief executive.

"Its service and experience is vital to making Lillehammer 2016 a successful event.

"The countdown clock itself is an impressive statement of its dedication to our event and a great gift to the city of Lillehammer.

Lillehammer, hosts of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games, will become the second country to stage the Winter Youth Olympics after Innsbruck in Austria hosted the inaugural edition in 2012. 

Lillehammer will stage several days of festivities to mark the occasion along with the locations of Hamar and Grøvik which will also host sports and "Learn and share" activities during the Games.

There will be a Youth Olympic Games themed ice hockey match and the Sjogg Film Festival in the centre of Lillehammer for the public to enjoy, with Sjogg, the Norwegian word for snow, also the name of the Lillehammer 2016 mascot.

"Every one of the next 365 days now to making Lillehammer 2016 a huge success," said Holmestad.

"We have an amazing team of young, talented staff and I know we will deliver a unique Winter Youth Olympic Games.

"We have an Olympic Games legacy under our belts, and now we will create the legacy of Lillehammer 2016."

The Games will see over 1,000 athletes between the ages of 15 and 18 descend on Norway from over 70 countries to compete in seven sports. 

Monobob, snowboard cross and cross-country cross will make their debuts at the Winter Youth Olympics, while popular mixed-gender and mixed competitions will also take place.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories

December 2014: Lillehammer 2016 mascot named Sjogg
September 2014: American Vonn named Games Ambassador to mark 500 days until Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games
August 2014: Dog-sled racing at Lillehammer? Chief executive would love to see it
June 2014: Lynx voted as official mascot for Lillehammer 2016
May 2014: Lillehammer 2016 "energised" by visit of IOC President with 18 months to go