|Posted by lugenz on January 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM|
While New Zealand basks in summer the alpine city of Innsbruck/Austria gears up for the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games (13 to 22 January). With Innsbruck already acting as host city for the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 1964 and 1976, it is now set to welcome the Olympic Family for the third time.
The event will bring together 1,059 top athletes aged 14 to 18 from over 60 nations to compete in the seven sports which will also be represented at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi/Russia. As well as the sporting competitions themselves, these young athletes will also have the chance to participate in a Culture & Education Programme (CEP) designed to raise participants’ awareness of the Olympic Values and address topics including Olympism, skills development, well-being & healthy living, social responsibility and expression through digital media. With youngsters from the local region also invited to be a part of this cultural initiative, the CEP is set to be the platform for an intercultural exchange of opinions and experiences, transforming the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games into a unique festival of sport and culture.
New Zealand’s only luge representative at the 1st ever edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games is Matheson Hill, currently of Dunedin but soon of Christchurch. Hill becomes the first “graduate” of Naseby’s Ice Luge Track to compete at an Olympic level and does so after earning the right to compete in Austria at four Junior World Cup races in the USA, Canada and Austria during November 2011. Hill joins Australia’s Alex Ferlazzo, also a Naseby Luge “graduate”, as luge representatives from the Oceania content. Hill will be part of a fifteen strong New Zealand team competing in biathlon, curling, ice hockey, luge, skiing and snowboarding.