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Ressort: Youth Olympic Games - EN
Datum: 01.1.2012
Ort: Innsbruck - Seefeld | Tirol

1964 | 1976 | 2012: Innsbruck to host the Olympics for the third time

With the opening of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) on the 13th January 2012 the Olympic flame will be ignited at the Bergisel stadium for the third time, following 1964 and 1976. Tirol is the first region in the world to be given this honour.

13th January 2012 is the day! The 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games will celebrate its debut in Tirol, in Innsbruck, Seefeld and Kühtai. Some venues will celebrate their Olympic comeback, since Tirol’s capital Innsbruck already hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games. This Olympic heritage, symbolised in the famous five ring logo, is still ever-present today, not least in the Bergisel Ski Jump, which can be seen from so far away. The fact the Games are coming to the ‘Heart of the Alps’ for the third time is confirmation of the winter sports expertise in Tirol. Let us look back at the Olympic history in Tirol:

1964 Olympic premiere in Innsbruck
The race to host the 9th Olympics in 1964 in Innsbruck was won by a majority of 59 votes against the Canadian city of Calgary with 9 votes. The scope of the 1964 Games is comparable with the YOG 2012. 1,350 athletes from 36 nations participated in a total of 34 events. The YOG 2012 will see 1,059 young sportsmen and women from up to 70 nations competing across 15 different disciplines to win a total of 372 medals. From the perspective of the host country the Winter Olympics of 1964 were extremely successful: with a total of twelve medals - including four gold, five silver and three bronze - the Austrian team secured second place in the medal table behind the Soviet Union. Venues including the Bergisel Stadium (ski jumping), Patscherkofel (Alpine skiing) the Olympic ice stadium in Innsbruck (ice hockey and ice skating) and Seefeld (cross-country skiing) made their Olympic debuts in 1964. These historic sport venues all upgraded to state of the art facilities, will be used again for the YOG 2012. For the Youth Games 2012, Kühtai will become an Olympic venue for the first time.
From a sporting perspective, the Winter Olympic Games in 1964 were a great success for Austria, especially in the alpine skiing disciplines. Christl Haas, Edith Zimmermann and Traudl Hecher swept the board for Austria in the Women’s Downhill in the Axamer Lizum. Egon Zimmermann was crowned king of the Men’s Downhill speed discipline. Pepi Stiegler also contributed with a gold in the Slalom. The major stars in the 1964 Games came from the Soviet Union: speed skater Lidia Skoblikova won gold four times (over 500 metres, 1,000 metres, 1,500 metres and 3,000 metres). Compatriot Klavdiya Bojarskich was not far behind with three gold medals in cross-country skiing - she won the 5 and 10 km race and the relay. With approximately 1.1 million spectators, the 9th Winter Olympics in Innsbruck also reached a new record for visitor numbers.

1976 - "Games of Simplicity for Innsbruck"
Only twelve years after the premiere, the 1976 Winter Olympic Games once again made a guest appearance in the Tirolean capital. The reason for this was the unexpected rejection by the people of Denver to host the Games. In a referendum during the 1972 presidential election, the citizens of Colorado voted against the use of taxes for hosting ‘Denver 1976’, the 12th Winter Olympic Games. The IOC had to find a replacement quickly and Innsbruck soon became the obvious choice, with a proven track record as organiser in 1964. Tirol convinced the jury with its concept of the "Games of Simplicity for Innsbruck" and fought off competition from Chamonix, Lake Placid and Tampere. Twelve years after its Olympic debut, the Games of 1976 were attended by 1,370 active sportsmen and women from 36 countries. Over 70,000 spectators were at the Bergisel stadium on 4th February 1976 as two Olympic fires – for 1964 and 1976 – were ignited and the 12th Winter Olympics were declared open. Just a day later on the Patscherkofel, 22-year old downhill skier Franz Klammer claimed his big moment that went down in history. With a relaxed run he finished 33 hundredths of a second ahead of Swiss favourite, Bernhard Russi, and was crowned "Kaiser Franz", as he is still referred to today. It seemed this might be Austria's only gold medal, until the very last day of the Games, when Karl Schnabel rescued the honour of the host nation by claiming gold at the Bergisel Ski Jump. Once again it was a woman who became the big star of these Games in Innsbruck: the German Alpine skier Rosi Mittermaier. She won gold for the downhill on the Axamer Lizum, gold in the slalom and gold in the combined as well as silver in the giant slalom - the Super-G was not yet part of the Olympic programme in 1976.
From the perspective of the organizers, the 12th Winter Olympics in Innsbruck were a great success. Financial targets were surpassed by approximately ten million Schillings at the time. At the same time, spectator interest reached new records in Innsbruck 1976, when over 1.5 million visitors witnessed the medal ceremonies live in Innsbruck and Seefeld.

Olympic sustainability
Both in 1964 and 1976 numerous urban-planning policies were used in preparation for the Winter Olympic Games. The Olympic villages in the east of the city created a completely new neighbourhood, which helped shape the face of the Tirolean capital, Innsbruck, today. Again in 2012, sustainable steps were implemented in terms of urban planning, which will resonate across the city once the Olympic flame has stopped burning. With 'O3' - the Olympic Youth Village Innsbruck - the biggest environmentally neutral housing complex in Europe has been created in the district of Reichenau. A total of 444 apartments have been built for the 1,059 athletes and their managers. After the Games, these apartments will be used for the local population, as part of the social housing programme.

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