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  • Torch Relay Heads for Lillehammer and Opening Ceremony


    (ATR) On its homestretch, the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games torch relay stops in Gjøvik, soon to be a hotbed of activity as host of short track speedskating. The Opening Ceremony is Friday.

    Home of the world’s largest cavern hall for public use, Gjøvik was also a venue for the 1994 Winter Olympic Games.

    All clubs were encouraged to participate and stand as honorary guards along the route of the torch relay.
    Festivities included dancers and drummers, a movie premiere and the opening of the ice and snow sculpture park. Hot drinks were served. Lectures and seminars were also part of the program and included views on how to retain young leaders and volunteers in sport.

    The torch relay runs through Oslo (IOC)
    The flame arrived from Oslo, the host city for the 1952 Games, where it appeared at the iconic Holmenkollen to cheer for the Norwegian cross country athletes during the World Cup. A ceremony was held at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. The Oslo Vinterpark will host the snowboard halfpipe and ski halfpipe competitions on Feb. 14.

    Changemaker of the Year Sajandan Rutthira, 19, lit the flame in Oslo. The 21 “flame events” taking place across all counties of Norway honor young ”changemakers” who have made a difference through sport in their communities.

    From Gjøvik, the flame travels to Otta, which is in the same county (Oppland) as Lillehammer. The event starts at 9 a.m. at the Nord Gudbrandsdal High School Otta department, with the torch relay and culture and music performances.

    A workout for students will be led by former biathlon and cross country legend Lars Berger.

    The relay then goes to Trysil, where the evening event at the Trysil Centrum will feature a dance show and Olympic legends will attend.

    For the final stop before Lillehammer, the flame will shine bright in Hamar, which will host figure skating and long track speedskating.

    As the relay comes to a close on Friday, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, who turned 12 last month, will light the cauldron in the Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena, just as her father, Crown Prince Haakon, did exactly 22 years earlier.

    The ceremony will be the young princess’ first international assignment. The Crown Prince serves on the Committee for the Games and has been a long-time supporter of the event.

    Reported by Karen Rosen in Lillehammer.

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