March 9 - Innsbruck 2012 chief executive Peter Bayer (pictured) has predicted that many more cities will come forward to bid for the Winter Youth Olympic Games after the Austrian city successfully staged the inaugural event in January this year at a relatively low cost.
There were fears amongst the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the Winter Youth Olympics would fail to become a popular event after Lillehammer was awarded the 2016 competition at the end of last year having been the only city to bid for the second edition of the Games following their failed bid for the 2012 event.
But Bayer, who is widely credited as the man who helped make Innsbruck 2012 a major hit, believes that the Games in the Tyrolean city have shown the event works and has created a best practice model on a modest budget that will encourage future bidders.
"We set a budget of €24 million (£20 million/$32 million) for Innsbruck 2012 and we stayed inside that which was very important for Austria because we are a small country," Bayer told insidethegames here.
"We wanted to prove to the world that we could organise an event on the highest level and that we could do it on a reasonable budget.
"It was not only the Government that was keen to see us stay within budget, but also the population of Austria.
"They were very proud to be the host of the first Winter Youth Olympic Games but they didn't want a huge amount of money spent because there are lots other things to do with it in the country.
"We already had a lot of elite venues in place for the Games that usually host world class events so we didn't have to build many new ones and we have a lot of expertise in place with regard to staging winter sport events so that wasn't a major concern.
"That, therefore, gave us a lot of time to focus on the main principles like getting kids involved and getting young people playing a leading role in the organisation of events.
"We are now going through the auditing process and the bank balance today looks absolutely okay from the event.
"We have 90 per cent of the invoices in-house and we are processing them comfortably.
"We did have some extras like heating costs for the tents because of the heavy snow and also for snow removal but everything went okay and in budget.
"I remember before the first Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010, I was even one of the people sceptical about whether the Youth Olympics would be a success.
"But after that, I was confident we could make our model work even on a much smaller scale and with less money.
"So I am convinced that long term, our model will be a best practice model for future cities hosting the Youth Olympic Games."
Following his involvement at Innsbruck 2012, Bayer has been included in the IOC Coordination Commission for Lillehammer 2016, which will be by chaired four-time Olympic medallist Angela Ruggiero of the United States.
Bayer admitted he is delighted to be included because it will give him a chance to still be involved in sport, something that he is hoping to continue when his contract as Innsbruck 2012 chief executive expires at the end of the year.
"I am very honoured to IOC Coordination Commission for Lillehammer which will allow me to stay in touch with people I made friends with during the Innsbruck process," he said.
"I fell in love with the project from the beginning and I still am.
"To be able to do more for the Olympic Family is great and the Youth Olympic is such a fascinating project that is still evolving.
"I love working with athletes and I love working in sport so I was delighted when they asked me and I want to stay in sport after 2012 when I leave a chief executive of Innsbruck because it is an area that I am very passionate about."
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