By Duncan Mackay

Innsbruck 2012_Olympic_Village_officially_opened_January_7_2012January 7 - Innsbruck 2012 mascot Yoggl today helped officially open the Athletes' Village for the first-ever Youth Winter Olympic Games, which will be home to more than 1,700 athletes and officials during the event. 

Tyrol Vice-Governor Hannes Gschwentner, managing director of construction comoany Neue Heimat Tyrol Klaus Lugger and Innsbruck 2012 chief executive Peter Bayer were also present as it was opened on the stroke of 10am on the clock in Imperial General Eccher-street, the main street in the Village.

Located in the east of Tyrol's regional capital, the Youth Olympic Village has been built using the latest passive-house technology combined with cutting-edge architecture, meaning that its residents can enjoy comfortable accommodation which will also protect the environment for many years to come, Austrian officials claim.

After the end of the Games, the apartments will be handed over to their new tenants and owners, with one of the 13 buildings being used as a residential home.

"The Youth Olympic Village is the largest passive-house complex in Europe and, as such, serves as an example for building projects both in Tyrol and further afield," said Gschwentner.

Luger added: "It was the decision to award the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games to Innsbruck that kick-started the project to create these 444 apartments, which have been built in record time thanks to the excellent cooperation between the Department of Subsidised Housing, the Tyrolean Military Commando and the Innsbruck 2012 Organising Committee."

The first athletes are due to in the next few days ahead of the Opening Ceremony next Friday (January 13).

"We can be proud of our Youth Olympic Village," said Bayer.

"I am sure that all the athletes and team officials coming to Innsbruck for the Games will feel very much at home."

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