By Tom Degun in Innsbruck

Jacques Rogge_announces_Innsbruck_2012January 10 - Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said he is confident that the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games here will be a hugely inspirational event, just like the inaugural Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010 were.

Rogge, who is widely credited as the man who came up with the idea of staging a Youth Olympics, received widespread praise after the 2010 competition in Singapore proved a major success.

But despite Singapore setting a high benchmark, the IOC President says that Innsbruck can produce another superb edition of the Games when the event begins this Friday (January 13) with the Opening Ceremony.

"We are confident that Innsbruck 2012 will, just as Singapore 2010, prove to be truly inspirational," said Rogge, who will officially declare the Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympics open at the Ceremony at the Bergisel Stadium.

"From January 13 to 22, you will not only see the next generation of international winter sports stars, but you will also experience some great innovations and new formats that have never before featured in an Olympic sports programme.

"The world's most talented young athletes will compete in the same disciplines as at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, with the addition of exciting new sports such as women's ski jumping, ski halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle.

"In addition to these ten days of intense competition, the athletes will also participate in an interactive Culture and Education Programme.

"The Innsbruck Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (IYOGOC) has done an incredible job in providing the best possible conditions."

Innsbruck 2012 will see almost 1,100 athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 from over 60 countries compete.

Organisers revealed earlier this week that 64,000 of the 80,000 tickets available for the Games have already been snapped up with more expected to be sold before the start of competition.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
January 2012: Innsbruck 2012 now 80 per cent sold out
January 2012: Exclusive - Innsbruck 2012 will be as good as Singapore 2010 despite smaller budget, insists Bayer 
January 2012: More than 1,000 athletes set to compete at Innsbruck 2012
December 2011: Exclusive - Innsbruck 2012 chief proud of Winter Youth Olympics legacy
December 2011: Final countdown to Innsbruck 2012 Youth Games begins