Lillehammer to host 2016 Youth Winter Olympics

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Photo: Maciej Zytniewski (File)
09:24 CET+01:00
The Norwegian city of Lillehammer is to host the 2016 Youth Winter Olympic Games, 24 years after it hosted the senior version, it was announced in Lausanne on Wednesday.

Lillehammer - which will follow the inaugural edition in Innsbruck, Austria, next year - was the only candidate which is something the International Olympic Committee is seeking to address.

Gilbert Felli, Olympic Games Executive Director, said that they had identified two areas which needed improving to encourage more candidates.

"We have looked at it in terms of timing for the bids to be received and the positioning of the Youth Olympic Games," he said.

"We already think we have four-five candidates for the 2018 Summer Games after a seminar we held in November and the deadline for which is March 15th.

"We have learned our lessons. The Youth Olympic Games is something new."

The Norwegians couldn't have cared less about the lack of competition for the hosting of the event, which will host 1,000 athletes from the ages of 15-18 competing in the same seven sports on the Olympic Winter Games programme.

"The IOC's decision will help boost youth sport in Norway and internationally," said Norwegian Minister of Culture Anniken Huitfeldt.

"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."

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IOC President Jacques Rogge - who was the force behind the introduction of the Youth Olympic Games - was delighted that Lillehammer would be the host.

"We are excited to be going back to Lillehammer, which hosted an unforgettable Winter Games in 1994," he said.

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