Team GB’s 24 athletes, led by flagbearer - 16-year-old freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes - marched proudly into the Opening Ceremony of the first Winter Youth Olympic Games alongside 1,100 fellow competitors from 70 nations in Innsbruck, Austria on Friday evening.
The spectacular ceremony, which begins nine days of competition, took place in Bergisel Stadium, scene of the 1964 and 1976 Olympic Winter Games. To add to the sense of Olympic history, Austrian Alpine skiing legend Franz Klammer took part in the lighting of three Olympic Cauldrons, one to mark each occasion that Innsbruck has hosted the Olympic Movement.
Before officially opening the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge addressed the athletes: “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. This evening marks your entry into the Olympic world. With that honour comes 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 Olympians.”