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  • Innsbruck YOG Chiefs on Track After IOC Summit


    The IOC’s Essar Gabriel and Gilbert Felli with Innsbruck 2012 President Christoph Platzgummer and IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Gian Franco Kasper (AOC)


    (ATR) Organizers of the Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympic Games say meetings with IOC officials in the Austrian city this week have boosted motivation levels to deliver a spectacular event.


    Innsbruck 2012 CEO Martin Schnitzer and President Christoph Platzgummer met with Gian Franco Kasper, president of the International Ski Federation and chair of the IOC Coordination Commission overseeing YOG preparations. Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli, and the IOC's Head of Youth Olympic Games Essar Gabriel played leading roles in the briefings.


    Other IOC Youth Olympics executives participating in the orientation seminar March 17 and 18 included Patrick Stalder, Head of Creative Services and Culture & Education and Antoine Goetschy, Head of Competitions & Operations.


    The IOC seminar was designed to steer the fledgling organizing committee in the right direction on all functional aspects of planning for the first Winter YOG as well as ensuring an understanding of the importance of YOG clients and their Games experience.


    Around 50 Games stakeholders took part in a session Tuesday, including representatives of the city and state, officials from Austria’s winter sport federations and leaders from the tourism and transport authorities.


    “They are all impressed by the project and highly motivated and really appreciated the commitment from the IOC coming to Innsbruck and explaining all in such detail,” Innsbruck 2012 spokesman Hannes Maschkan tells Around the Rings.


    IOC officials spent Wednesday briefing YOG chiefs on topics such as corporate and resource management, commercial and promotion strategies and advising on the next steps in preparations.


    Discussions with Innsbruck's YOG leaders about event formats and the culture and education program began before this week’s meetings. The timetable for construction of the Olympic village, one of the biggest projects ahead, is not understood to be causing any concerns.


    One of the immediate challenges is recruitment of staff to the organizing committee.

    Schnitzer is currently looking for directors to take responsibility for different functional areas of the Games and is talking to potential candidates.


    IOC President Jacques Rogge visited Innsbruck in January to sign the host city contract and insisted organizers were more than capable of meeting the challenges ahead in the testing three-year build-up to the Games.


    He said the city was a strong partner given its existing venues, experience in organizing international sports events, its enthusiastic winter sports fans and the support of the local, regional and national authorities. Mayor of Innsbruck Hilde Zach and Austrian National Olympic Commi President Leo Wallner will play a key role in preparations.


    “What matters now is that Innsbruck's excellent ideas for the Youth Games come to fruition,” he said.

    Around 1,000 athletes aged 14-18 years will participate in the YOG, which includes all seven Winter Olympic sports: bobsleigh (bobsleigh, skeleton), biathlon, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating (short-track, speed skating, figure skating) and skiing.

    The YOG features a limited number of disciplines and events, still to be decided. The IOC has already confirmed that skiing will include Alpine, cross-country, freestyle, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding.

    With reporting from Mark Bisson.

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