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  • U.S. Olympic Committee recognizes 100 days to Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games


    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In 100 days, the U.S. Olympic Committee will send a team of more than 60 athletes to the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, which begins with the Opening Ceremony on Jan. 13.

    The Winter Youth Olympic Games is an international multi-sport event held under the authority of the International Olympic Committee that will take place every four years, consistent with the current format of the Olympic Winter Games. The Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games will run from Jan. 13-22, with an expected 1,057 athletes from more than 80 countries participating.

    The sport program will encompass 15 disciplines - biathlon, bobsled, curling, figure skating, ice hockey, luge, skeleton, skiing (alpine, cross-country, freestyle, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboard), short track speedskating and speedskating (long track) - and a total of 63 events. To view the sport events and age requirements, click here.

    While no U.S. athletes have been publically nominated at this time, several U.S. team coaches have been selected, including Ben Smith who has been nominated to serve as head coach of the U.S. entry in the boys' ice hockey competition. The official U.S. roster will be released in early January 2012.

    "It's an honor to represent your country on the international stage, and I very much look forward to guiding our young athletes in the first Winter Youth Olympic Games," said Smith, three-time head coach of the U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team. "The athletes selected to play on the team will be afforded a wonderful opportunity, including the chance to experience and learn first-hand the Olympic Values of respect, excellence and friendship."

    On Oct. 9, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association will become the first U.S. National Governing Body to announce its nominees for Innsbruck 2012. The announcement will follow the Flaming Leaves Festival in the home of the historic Olympic Jumping Complex and site of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games - Lake Placid, N.Y. Yoggl, the Winter Youth Olympic Games mascot, will be on hand to greet fans with Innsbruck 2012 pins and stickers. For more information on the USSA's announcement, contact Doug Haney at

    To assist and mentor the WYOG participants, the following U.S. Olympians and Paralympians have accepted various roles within the Innsbruck 2012 program:

    * Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.), two-time Olympic medalist in alpine skiing, will serve as a Winter Youth Olympic Games Ambassador. The role of the ambassadors is to inspire and mentor the athletes competing at the Games while encouraging young people to become more active in sport. Watch Vonn take on the 100-days-to-go challenge at

    * Two-time Olympic medalist in freestyle skiing Shannon Bahrke Hape (Salt Lake City, Utah), seven-time Paralympian in skiing and track & field Robert Balk (Milwaukee, Wis.), and four-time Olympic medalist in ice hockey Angela Ruggiero (Harper Woods, Mich.) will serve as Athlete Role Models. For more information regarding the role of the ARMs, click here.

    The Youth Olympic Games aim to inspire youth around the world to embrace, embody and express the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect. It will create a lasting sport, culture and education legacy for youth from around the world, as well as enhance and elevate the sporting culture locally and regionally.

    For more information, contact:

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