Team GB Athletes Selected for First Winter Youth Olympics
December 13, 2011 12:22 pm
The British Olympic Association announced today 24 young athletes from 10 winter Olympic disciplines selected to compete for Team GB at the first winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which takes place in Innsbruck, Austria, from 13-22 January 2012.
The Team GB delegation will be led by Chef de Mission Sir Clive Woodward and the event will see Team GB’s athletes, aged 14-18, compete alongside over 1,000 of the best young winter sport athletes from around the world in all seven sports on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games programme.
The Team GB squad includes 16-year-old freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes who will contest the ski half-pipe event, which is a new addition to the Olympic Programme and will make its full Olympic debut in Sochi in 2014. Summerhayes competed at the 2011 FIS World Championships in the USA, where she finished 11th in slopestyle and 14th in halfpipe. Summerhayes has also competed at the X Games.
There is a familiar name included in the curling squad - Thomas Muirhead, younger brother of Eve, the four-time junior World and current senior European Champion and Team GB Olympian. Eve will be present in Innsbruck herself after being appointed as an Athlete Role Model for the sport of curling by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The mixed gender curling team will be skipped by Duncan Menzies.
All six of the bobsleigh athletes selected have already gained senior experience competing for Great Britain at Euopa Cup level, while Jazmin Sawyers has previously represented Great Britain at athletics, including winning a medal at the Youth Commonwealth Games earlier this year.
Cross-country skier Scott Dixon is the son of six-time Olympian Mike Dixon, who will perform the role of Team Leader for biathlon, where Team GB will be represented by Calum Irvine. Both Dixon and Irvine gained their first taste of Youth Olympic competition as members of Team GB at the European Youth Olympic Festival in the Czech Republic earlier this year.
In creating the Youth Olympic Games, the IOC aims to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and to embrace, embody and express the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect.
The YOG will provide a balance between sport, education and culture. In addition to participating in their sport competitions, athletes will also take part in a Culture and Education Programme (CEP) – which includes a variety of activities focused on five themes: Olympism, Skills Development, Well-being and Healthy Lifestyle, Social Responsibility and Expression.
The competition format at the Youth Olympic Games sees a number of mixed gender and mixed nation competitions taking place in some sports, while Team GB’s two ice hockey competitors will take part in a unique individual skills challenge.
With exactly one month to go until the Opening Ceremony of the inaugural winter Youth Olympic Games, Team GB Chef de Mission Sir Clive Woodward said:
“I am hugely excited to be leading a team of 24 very talented and ambitious young winter athletes to the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck. I have no doubt that Team GB’s athletes will compete with great skill and pride to produce some thrilling performances.
“By winning Olympic gold in Whistler last year, Amy Williams demonstrated what can be achieved with dedication, determination and a great support system. Our priority at the British Olympic Association has been to ensure we have left no stone unturned in our preparations to allow every Team GB athlete to fulfil their potential and produce their personal best in Innsbruck.
“Critically, the experience the young athletes will gain in Innsbruck goes well beyond the sporting competition. They will have a very special opportunity to experience the Olympic atmosphere of living in an athletes’ village, competing in a multi-sport environment and participating in the culture and education programmes organised by the International Olympic Committee.
“Innsbruck has a rich Olympic history, having twice hosted the winter Olympics before - in 1964 and 1976 – and I have seen first-hand the fantastic job the organising committee have done in preparing the venues. We are looking forward to a fantastic ten days of competition.”
Commenting on their selection to Team GB:
Katie Summerhayes, freestyle skiing, said:
“I am so happy that I have the chance to compete at the Youth Olympic Games in January. It means so much to me to be able to compete for Team GB and to experience everything else around it. I have been training really hard over the summer to gain the best result that I can and it is going to be a dream come true.”
Duncan Menzies, curling, said:
"I am really excited about representing Team GB in this once in a lifetime opportunity. Representing your country is a great honour and pulling on the Team GB kit will be a special moment in my career. I'm going to give it 100% and I am sure I will gain a great deal from the experience, on and off the field of play."
Thomas Muirhead, curling, said:
"I am thrilled to be selected for Team GB for the winter Youth Olympic Games. Competing against the best athletes of my age from all over the world in an Olympic setting is really exciting. I will do my very best to win a medal for Team GB in Austria."
Frances Slater, bobsleigh, said:
“I am very proud and excited to represent Team GB at the first winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck. It will be a very special feeling to compete for my country in such a big competition, it has been my dream from a young age to represent my country at an Olympic Games.”
Mica McNeil, bobsleigh, said:
“The Youth Olympic Games are an important step for me in my ambition to represent Team GB at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. I will give it my best shot to win a medal for Team GB.”
Olly Biddulph, bobsleigh, said:
"We have worked hard throughout the qualification period and are well set for a personal best performance at the winter Youth Olympic Games."
Jazmin Sawyers, bobsleigh, said:
"I have represented my country at Commonwealth level but this is now the highlight of my sporting career to date - I can’t wait to put on my Team GB kit and compete for the medals in Innsbruck. "
Tyler Harding, freestyle skiing, said:
"It's a great achievement to not just be competing for myself but for Team GB, I am extremely honoured to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity."
Calum Irvine, biathlon, said:
"Making Team GB for the Youth Olympic Games means a great deal to me. Recently I've been racing internationally at the IBU cup and I feel I'm improving every day. Over the next month I will be fully focused on preparing well and aiming to achieve my full potential for Team GB in Innsbruck."
Katherine Gale, ice hockey, said:
"I can’t believe I am actually going. It will be an incredible experience. It will be truly amazing to be part of Team GB and representing women’s ice hockey in such a prestigious event. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I cannot wait."
Lewis Hook, ice hockey, said:
“Representing your country is a great honour and pulling on the Team GB kit will be a special moment in my career. I’m going to try my best and I am sure I will gain a great deal from the experience, on and off the field of play. Also I am representing everyone that has shown belief in me.”
The athletes selected to Team GB for the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games are:
Blackhill, County Durham
Cross Country Skiing
Cross Country Skiing
Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire
Short Track Speed Skating
Short Track Speed Skating
Snowboarding - Lewis Courtier-Jones - Coventry