15 January 2012

2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games
Opening ceremony
Speech of the IOC President, Jacques Rogge


Dear Friends,

For the first time, young people from around the
world have come together for the Winter Youth
Olympic Games, a global celebration of sport and
Olympic values.

It is altogether symbolic that this new Olympic
tradition will begin in Innsbruck.

These Games will enhance a great legacy that
includes Innsbruck’s role as host of the 1964 and
1976 Olympic Winter Games.

Tonight, I can say with great pleasure….Innsbruck,
you have done it again!

I firstly want to thank the public authorities, the
dedicated organising committee and all of the
outstanding volunteers whose uniform I wear with
pride. They have worked so hard to ensure the
success of these Games.

To the athletes, I say…These Games exist for you.
You have come here from 70 countries not just to
compete against each other, but also to learn from
each other.

Some of the friendships formed over the next nine
days will last a lifetime, and so will the memories.

This evening marks your entry into the Olympic

That honour comes with a great responsibility.

As the next generation of sports men and women,
you are now the role models that represent our
hopes for the future.

You have a chance to be true champions, not only
by winning medals, but by conducting yourself like

Strive for excellence, but compete with friendship
and respect for your opponents.

Reject doping and other shortcuts that cheat
yourself as well as others.

I now have the honour to ask His Excellency The
Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Dr
Heinz Fischer, to open the first Winter Youth
Olympic Games.


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