September 7 - The Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games have been given a glowing review by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission, who have concluded their fourth and final inspection of the Austrian host city.
The Commission - chaired by Switzerland's Gian-Franco Kasper, the President of the International Ski Federation - conducted the inspection following the Chef de Mission meetings in the city that saw all of the 65 nations that will compete at Innsbruck in attendance and said they were impressed with what they saw, with a little over 100 days to go until the event begins.
"The Innsbruck Organising Committee heads into the final few months of preparation with an extremely organised and creative team who are working tirelessly to ensure an unforgettable elite sporting event for the world's best young winter athletes," said Kasper.
"This unique host city has a rich Olympic history and today we can feel the excitement building as it makes history again with the first Winter Youth Olympic Games."
The Commission claimed they were particularly impressed with the progress of the Youth Olympic Village, which will accommodate approximately 1,660 athletes and officials during Games time and then become affordable housing once the event has concluded.
The Coordination Commission was also pleased to note the full integration of the unique Culture and Education Programme into the overall schedule for athletes, spectators and local schools.
The Programme will enable athletes to learn new skills, experience different cultures and cover key topics such as the benefits of healthy lifestyles, the dangers of doping, and the values of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
The Culture and Education Programme was successfully tested this week during a seminar involving the 33 young ambassadors (pictured) chosen by National Olympic Committees.
This group will then guide the athletes through the Programme during Games time.
"Holding 63 medal events and a wide-ranging Culture and Education Programme in the space of just 10 days requires a tremendous amount of detailed planning, organisation, coordination, leadership and monitoring," said Innsbruck 2012 chief executive Peter Bayer.
"I am proud of our team.
"The vision of the Youth Olympic Games is within touching distance, and there is great enthusiasm among all the members of the Organising Committee.
"We have embraced and are living the Olympic Spirit, which is reflected in the excellent work we've done so far."
At Innsbruck 2012, several new disciplines will be seen for the first time at an Olympics such as snowboard slopestyle, ski half pipe and ice hockey skills challenge.
Also integrated into the sports programme for the first time is women's ski jumping, the winner of which will be awarded the first Winter Youth Olympic Games medal.
Meanwhile the volunteer programme, launched earlier this year, has already attracted almost 2,500 applications from 40 countries - double the amount of volunteers required.
In addition, partnerships with 12 international universities have also been secured.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
September 2011: Sir Clive Woodward excited about Innsbruck 2012 after Chef de Missions seminar
August 2011: Innsbruck 2012 and Planet Tirol join forces to launch Youth Olympics Video Contest
July 2011: Austrian double Olympic champion Raich becomes second Ambassador for Innsbruck 2012
July 2011: Winter Youth Olympic mascot Yoggl features in summer holiday photo competition
July 2011: Innsbruck 2012 unveil Omega countdown clock for inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games