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Ressort: Chronik, Events, Gesellschaft, Sport, Tourismus, Tirol Werbung, Youth Olympic Games - EN
Datum: 13.1.2012
Ort: Innsbruck

Tirol proves to be a host of global standing on the occasion of the YOG

15,000 enthusiastic spectators attended the opening ceremony Friday evening during which the Olympic cauldron was lit for the third time at the Bergisel, making Tirol the only region worldwide chosen to host Olympic Games three times. Monarchs from all over the world, sports legends and the elite of the Tirolean tourism industry celebrated the beginning of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG). The hosts at the heart of the Alps proved to be world class not only with regard to sports but also from a social point of view.

The ceremony went exactly according to plan. The Bergisel Stadium was sold-out, accommodating 15,000 enthusiastic spectators as well as Austria’s highest ranking politicians, represented by Federal President Heinz Fischer and Chancellor Werner Faymann, who witnessed a world premiere. In the presence of IOC President Jacques Rogge, three Olympic flames were lit simultaneously for the first time in history. In addition to the flame for the 2012 YOG, another flame each is burning for the Winter Games of 1964 and 1976, which also took place in Innsbruck. Tirol proved to be the Alps’ number one tourism destination before the world public and presented exclusive events running parallel to the major sports competition.

Friday evening, right after the grand opening of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games, former Olympic champions as well as the elite of the Tirolean tourism industry gathered for an exclusive get-together held at Innsbruck’s Tourism College, located at the foothills of Bergisel. In the spirit of the YOG, the upcoming generation of tourism professionals catered for the culinary needs of the distinguished guests among which were dozens of former medallists. The legendary winner of the Olympic downhill race on Patscherkofel in 1976, Franz Klammer, didn’t want to miss out on the event, and neither did Egon Zimmermann, who won the gold medal on Patscherkofel in 1964. Among the guests of this get-together, organised by the Head of the Tirol Tourist Board Josef Margreiter, were also snowboard bronze medallist Gitti Köck and former ice princess Trixi Schuba (1972 gold medallist). Besides numerous sports legends representatives of Tirol’s tourism industry, which is doubtlessly at world-class level, also participated in this event.

The first medal events were followed by the social highlight of the YOG on Saturday evening: the grand Tirol gala night held at the Imperial Palace in Innsbruck and hosted by the Governor of Tirol, Günther Platter. The Head of the Tirol Tourist Board, Josef Margreiter, acted as the articulate presenter of the show. ‘Sports, youth and culture – this forward-looking symbiosis is at the centre of the first Youth Olympic Games here in Tirol’, summarised Mr Margreiter the motto of the Games. The musical programme of the night was also characterised by the youth, featuring the Wiltener Sängerknaben, a boys choir with one of the longest traditions in the Alpine region, as well as the young singer and Song Contest participant Nadine Beiler. A young team of the Villa Blanka tourism school created culinary specialities and provided perfect service.
The list of guests of honour included IOC President Rogge, President of FIS and Swiss IOC representative Gian-Franco Kasper as well as Karl Stoss and Leo Wallner from the ÖOC (Austrian Olympic Committee). Besides many international members of the IOC numerous royals enjoyed the Tirolean hospitality at the Imperial Palace, such as Prince Faisal bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia as well as Princess Nora of Liechtenstein. In addition to the officials, Tyrolean Governor Mr Platter also welcomed high-ranking politicians at the Tirol gala night, held in the Giants’ Hall of the Imperial Palace. Hungary’s President Pál Schmitt had travelled from Budapest specially for the occasion, and Austria’s Minister of Science Karl-Heinz Töchterle also enjoyed the gala night at the Imperial Palace.

Finally, a gala night on the occasion of Olympic Games is incomplete without its athletes, who are the centre of attention. However, as the young athletes had been in bed long ago to be in shape for the competitions, retired sports and Olympic legends took over their role, including Austria’s famous Olympic winner Franz Klammer, ‘Gold Rosi’ Rosi Mittermaier with her husband, the former German skiing star Christian Neureuther, Egon Zimmermann and Karl Schranz.

Tirol managed to prove its expertise as a host region already during the first two evenings of the YOG. The feedback of the high-ranking visitors from all four corners of the world 48 hours after the lighting of the Olympic flame turned out to be overwhelmingly positive: ‘Thanks to the commitment of the Tyroleans the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games have become the success we had hoped for, and I would like to express my appreciation and sincere gratitude to the hosts’, said IOC President Jacques Rogge.

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Olympic downhill winners Franz Klammer (1976, right) and Fritz Strobl (2002, left) didn’t miss out on the get-together at the Innsbruck Tourism College after the YOG opening ceremony and gladly accepted the invitation of Josef Margreiter (Head of Tirol Tourist Board).

Picture: Tirol Werbung
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Secretary General of the ÖOC, Peter Mennel, flanked by Olympic champions Doris Neuner (right) and Sigrid Wolf (left), who acted as torch-bearers during the opening ceremony.

Picture: Tirol Werbung
(free of charge)

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Winners of the Olympic Games in Innsbruck among themselves: Egon Zimmermann (downhill 1964), Rosi Mittermaier (downhill and slalom 1976) and Franz Klammer (downhill 1976)

Picture: Tirol Werbung
(free of charge)

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Welcomed the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games with a gala night at the Imperial Palace in Innsbruck (from left): Tirol’s Governor Günther Platter, IOC President Jacques Rogge and Innsbruck’s mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer. Photo: Tirol Tourist Board (reprint free of charge)

Picture: Tirol Werbung
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Innsbruck’s mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer was glad to welcome a high-ranking visitor on the occasion of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Prince Faisal Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan.

Picture: Tirol Werbung
(free of charge)

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Gian-Franco Kapser, FIS President and IOC member (left) and ski legend Karl Schranz enjoyed the gala night at the Imperial Palace.

Picture: Tirol Werbung
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Host Governor Günther Platter could also welcome Minister of Science Karl-Heinz Töchterle at the gala night.

Picture: Tirol Werbung
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The magnificent Giants’ Hall of the Imperial Palace in Innsbruck provided the perfect setting for the Tirol gala night ‘Gold for Tirol’.

Picture: Tirol Werbung
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