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  • Goodbye Lillehammer, Hello Lausanne!


    (ATR) The Olympic flame for the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Winter Games is out after the closing ceremony Sunday night.

    The flame is extinguished in Sjogg Park. (Lillehammer 2016)
    The 45-minute show for athletes and volunteers was held in Sjogg Park in downtown Lillehammer, venue for cultural events through the nine days of the Games.

    The closing ceremony was held in a big tent with about 3,000 people attending and enjoying the evening. It began with a pre-show and highlights from the Youth Olympic Games. When the clock turned 8 p.m. the ceremony started with Norway’s Marine Orchestra followed by speeches and videos.

    The Olympic flag was handed over from the Mayor of Lillehammer to the Mayor of Lausanne.

    As a volunteer leader, I had the chance to speak along with Siri Hatlen, the head of the YOG along with IOC president Thomas Bach.

    Runa Møller Tangstad speaks at the closing ceremony. (Lillehammer 2016)
    “We have become a great team and these Games have been so rewarding, something that we can look back on with great affection,” I said.

    “Speaking for myself, I’ve never been more motivated to keep on participating in sports as a volunteer leader. As one of the change-makers said, ‘Youth are inspired by other youth, which means that we leave these Games as role models for our peers.’ Not everyone can be a champion in competitions, but everyone can participate to the joy of sport for everyone - as a volunteer, leader, coach or supporter. There’s room for everyone in the world of sports,” I said in my speech.

    In his remarks, Thomas Bach drew rounds of applause as he offered thanks to the people of Lillehammer. You could really experience and understand the pride of the host city in the waves of applause.

    “Dear athletes, I think we all agree that we had an awesome 10 days here in Lillehammer and I guess that now you are ready to party,” said Bach.

    Thomas Bach hands over the Olympic Flag to the Mayor of Lausanne. (Lillehammer 2016)
    “Now as you go home, please take this Olympic spirit that you have shown here – take it with you. Share this Olympic spirit with all your friends and communities. And if you all share this Olympic spirit of friendship, understanding and tolerance with each other, then together we can make the world a better place.”

    Bach ended his speech asking everyone on the floor to pose together for one enormous family photograph. The IOC president then officially closed the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

    Norway Change Maker of the year Sajandan Rutthira described the scene in the park that followed the ceremony.

    “It was music and dancing, all in Sami people-style. The kids were sliding down a slide made of ice, dancing in an Igloo-disco, and people were gathered around bonfires,” he said.

    Youth Olympians celebrate at the closing ceremony. (Lillehammer 2016)
    “Everybody was smiling and just having a good time.”

    The closing ceremony at the tent was live-streamed on a big screen, which was used for outdoor cinema during the Games.

    This Sunday was filled with joy, engagement, laughter, smiles and tears that summed up the great fellowship that all 71 nations made together. We all became a great team, and we are all going to look back at the Games with great affection.

    “This is probably the second best Winter Games in Lillehammer,” observed YOG staff member Magne Vikøren, a veteran of the 1994 Winter Olympics.

    Speaking for myself, this is not the second best winter games. It is the best. Go Beyond, Create Tomorrow. Always.

    Runa Møller Tangstad, a 17-year old volunteer leader who resides in Brønnøysund, in the north of Norway wrote this report with editing from Around the Rings.

    Written by Runa Møller Tangstad.

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