International Ski Federation President Gian-Franco Kasper will monitor preparations for the 2012 Winter YOG in Innsbruck. (Getty Images)
International Ski Federation President Gian-Franco Kasper makes his first visit to Innsbruck, Austria this week in his new role as head of the IOC coordination commission for the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
IOC President Jacques Rogge named the Swiss IOC member as the co-com chair on Monday.
Kasper will accompany Rogge on a trip to Innsbruck on Wednesday and Thursday, the IOC's first official visit to the Austrian city since it was awarded the 2012 YOG last month.
They will discuss plans for the inaugural winter YOG with Innsbruck's sports leaders and Games organizers; a press conference is scheduled Jan. 15.
As commission chair, Kasper is charged with ensuring preparations run smoothly and guiding the Innsbruck 2012 organizing committee over the next three years.
Kasper brings experience as a member of coordination commissions for the last two Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy and Salt Lake City. He is also a member of the IOC watchdogs overseeing preparations for Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.
Last year an IOC evaluation commission report concluded that Innsbruck's Games concept posed “minimal risk," saying the city had a very well thought out plan that achieved the appropriate balance between sport, culture and education.
In initial discussions with Innsbruck's YOG leaders, Kasper is likely to seek reassurances over the timetable for construction of the Olympic village for the Games. He will also want to get an idea of how the global economic crisis might shape preparations and affect sponsorship revenues.
Organizers have an operational budget of $22.5 million. Events will be staged in the communities of Innsbruck and Seefeld.
In March, Kasper will return to Innsbruck with a team of IOC officials and possibly the full commission for an orientation seminar with the organizing committee, including its newly appointed chief executive. The bid committee is currently transitioning into an organizing committee, a process that will take several months to complete.
Innsbruck was chosen over 2012 YOG finalist Kuopio, Finland on Dec. 12.
The winter YOG brings together around 1,000 athletes aged 14-18 years who will compete in all seven sports on the Winter Olympics program, albeit in a limited number of disciplines and events.
With reporting from Mark Bisson
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