LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today named Lillehammer, Norway, as the host city of the 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2016.
Lillehammer, which hosted the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, was elected by the IOC members via postal vote, the deadline for which was 5 December.
As the only city in contention, Lillehammer needed – and received – a majority to obtain victory.
“We are excited to be going back to Lillehammer, which hosted unforgettable Winter Games in 1994,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “The city, the government and Norwegian National Olympic Committee have shown a great desire and commitment to hosting these Games, and we are confident that Lillehammer will provide a world-class experience for the young athletes in just over four years’ time.”
Over 1,000 athletes ranging in ages from 15 to 18 will compete at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, which will feature competitions in the same seven sports that are currently on the Olympic Winter Games programme.
President Rogge will soon establish a Coordination Commission to assist Lillehammer throughout its preparation period.
“I would like to thank the IOC and its Executive Board for the trust they have shown us and Lillehammer in selecting us as the host of the 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2016,” said Norwegian NOC President Børre Rognlien.
“It is with great pleasure and pride that the Norwegian Olympic Committee can now invite a new generation of athletes to Lillehammer. We will attempt to build on the heritage of the Lillehammer 1994 Olympic Winter Games, and also create a new legacy – a legacy of young people, by young people, and for young people, as well as for our country and the rest of the winter sports world.”
Norwegian Minister of Culture Anniken Huitfeldt said: “I am very pleased to recognise the IOC's announcement that Norway and Lillehammer will host the 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2016. The IOC’s decision will help boost youth sport in Norway and internationally. Hosting the 2016 Youth Games coincides nicely with existing plans to further develop the Lillehammer region as a winter sports destination, and a number of the arenas used in the 1994 Olympic Games will be reused for the Youth Olympic competitions.”
The Youth Olympic Games are the culmination of the IOC’s determination to reach out to young people. Far more than merely being about high-level competition, the Games are also a platform on which young people can learn about the Olympic values and the benefits of sport, while sharing their experiences with people from around the globe.
Innsbruck, Austria, will host the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games from 13 to 22 January 2012. Singapore hosted the first Summer edition in 2010, while Nanjing, China, will host the 2nd Summer edition in 2014.