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FIS Supports Youth Olympics

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In its meeting in Beijing last week, the IOC Executive Board unanimously welcomed the idea of establishing Youth Olympic Games. The idea has been conceived by IOC President Rogge to address the decline in the relevance of sport amongst the younger generation. The concept will be presented for final approval by the IOC Session in Guatemala City in July in order for a debut of the summer edition to take place in 2010 with the first winter edition being planned for 2012. Like the Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games would alternate every four years and feature a similar Olympic environment with an Olympic Village, protocols and spirit. However, they are intended to complement the Olympic Games rather than mimicking them.

“FIS supports the principal idea of Winter Youth Games,” noted FIS President Gian Franco Kasper. “For us it will be important to set the schedule so that we do not conflict with the FIS World Championships. We would also welcome flexible, discipline-specific age limits set to reflect the varying needs of our sports, such as 14-16 for all FIS disciplines that are not endurance sports. Similarly, the competition program would need to be carefully determined per discipline and be limited to a few events only. To make the organization financially feasible, the team size should also be smaller than in the Olympic Winter Games,” he added.
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From the 135th edition of the FIS Newsflash, 7-11-07:

A go for Youth Olympic Games

Besides electing the Host City for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City, Guatemala, made several other decisions.
One of the most influential decisions was the approval of the Youth Olympic Games, with the first editions for the Youth Olympic Summer Games in 2010 and the Youth Olympic Winter Games in 2012.
As the flagship of the IOC’s strategy outlined for young people, the Youth Games are planned to take place every second year. They aim to bring together talented athletes to participate in high-level competitions and promote Olympic values as well as to run education programs on Olympic values, on benefits of sport for a healthy lifestyle, on the social values sport can deliver and on dangers of doping and of inactivity.
The Youth Olympic Games will target 1,000 athletes which for the FIS disciplines will be maximum 16 years old, supported by 580 officials for the Winter version. The sports program will encompass all sports on the program of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the 2012 Summer Games, however with a limited number of events. Proposals to integrate youth-driven disciplines that are not part of the Olympic Games may also be accepted.
Following the decision by the IOC to introduce the Youth Olympic Games, FIS President Gian Franco Kasper stated: “We welcome this initiative as a step to try and generate active interest for participating in Olympic sport amongst the youngsters. Nevertheless we need to proceed carefully and not put too much pressure and focus on developing athletes in their formative years with such a potentially high profile event”.
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