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  • IOC Chief Optimistic About Future of Youth Olympics -- On the Scene


    02/12/16

    Bach answers questions from media (ATR)
    (ATR) Thomas Bach is convinced the Youth Olympics are worth the investment as the second winter edition begins.

    Curling competition was already underway in Lillehammer as Bach addressed the media hours before the Games opened. He gave an emphatic “yes” to a question about whether the benefits justify the costs.

    The IOC contribution is believed to be $25-50 million and covers funding the athletes' village, travel and accommodation of athletes and officials and the co-funding of the Learn and Share program. The IOC has also supported the modernization of the Norwegian Olympic Museum, which reopened in its new location Thursday.

    What happens at Lillehammer 2016 will affect the future of the Youth Olympic Games. Bach said that a working group composed of international federations, NOCs and athletes and IOC members will evaluate the first four editions – Singapore 2010, Innsbruck 2012, Nanjing 2014 and Lillehammer.

    “We will discuss what we can make better,” he said. “Nothing in the world is so good that it cannot be improved, that it cannot be made better. We will look for these ways. This experience in Lillehammer will play a major role in all these considerations.”

    The next
    Kjetil Jansrud & Lillehammer 2016 Co-comm chair Angela Ruggiero (ATR)
    summer YOG will be in Buenos Aires in 2018 and the third winter YOG takes place in Lausanne in 2020. No other host cities have been scheduled as the IOC determines the future direction.

    Lillehammer 2026 Hopes?

    While Bach said the IOC enjoyed a spirit of cooperation with the Norwegians in preparing the Youth Olympics, he wouldn’t go so far as to endorse a Lillehammer bid for the 2026 Winter Games. 

    “This is up to the Norwegians,” he said.

    He also said reusing and upgrading venues to keep the costs low if the city does bid “is a Norwegian issue. We always welcome good candidatures from as many countries as possible,” he said, “and it’s first of all a position that Norwegians have to take.”

    Bach on Snow and Ice

    Visitors to the Youth Olympics will have a chance to try each of the seven winter sports.

    Would Bach try his hand at them all? “What really scares me is when I see the images of skeletons,” he said. “When you see these guys going face down the track  – sorry for alpine skiing, sorry for the ski jumpers – when I see these athletes with a chin a couple of centimeters above the ice, this really scares me, I would exclude skeleton from the ones I may try.”

    He added that he “would not feel comfortable in any of the seven [sports]. I may try one or the other... confidence, I would feel in none.”

    Reported in Lillehammer by Karen Rosen

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