Innsbruck triumphs

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Innsbruck in Austria will host the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012. The IOC has also announced the sports that will compete in the first summer version of the event.

Innsbruck in Austria has been chosen to host the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012. Innsbruck beat Finnish rival Kuopio in the final by 84 votes to 15. Following the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, Innsbruck will be responsible for staging the winter version of the event, which will feature approximately 1, 000 athletes, aged 14 to 18. The competition schedule will be based on the seven sports included in the Vancouver 2010 programme (biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing) with a limited number of disciplines and events. As a next step, a Coordination Commission will be designated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge to accompany Innsbruck throughout the three years of preparation. "We are fully aware that this is a very short period, but we are extremely confident that Innsbruck can match the expectations of both the IOC and the athletes, including an attractive Culture and Education Programme, which is an integral part of the Youth Olympic Games experience, " said Rogge. The Youth Olympic Games are the flagship of the IOC's determination to reach out to young people. These Games will not only be about competition, they will also be the platform through which youngsters will learn about the Olympic values and the benefits of sport, and share their experiences with other communities around the globe. "We are looking forward to joining in the celebration in Innsbruck in 2012, " Rogge added. Meanwhile, the Executive Board of the IOC has approved the sports competitions programme for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Some 3, 594 athletes will compete in Singapore in 26 sports comprising 201 events. The number of sports in the programme is identical to the London 2012 programme. Each event has its own age group competing, either 15–16 (27 events), 16–17 (111 events) or 17–18 (63 events). The events differ significantly in order to match the age groups and interests of the young athletes. Basketball will for example be played according to the FIBA 33 formula, with teams of three playing against each other on one half–court. The most important particularity of the Games is however the numerous mixed–gender or National Olympic Committees (NOCs)–team events in archery, athletics (medley relay), cycling (combined BMX–mountain bike–road event), equestrian, fencing, judo, modern pentathlon (relay), swimming (relay), table tennis, tennis and triathlon (relay). The participation of all 205 NOCs is the key factor in ensuring the universality of the event. In each individual sport, a specific number of places for NOCs (referred to as "Universality Places") will be reserved to ensure that at least four athletes per NOC have the possibility of participating in the Youth Olympic Games.

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