Minister Witold Bańka visits the second Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016
The opening ceremony of the second Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016 was held on 12 February 2016 at the stadium around the ski jumping complex of Lysgardsbakken. The Polish Youth Olympic Team was accompanied by Witold Bańka, Minister of Sport and Tourism, Andrzej Kraśnicki, President of the Polish Olympic Committee and Adam Krzesiński, Secretary General of the Polish Olympic Committee.
The second Winter Youth Olympic Games will be held from 12 to 21 February 2016 in Lillehammer, a town which 22 years ago hosted the Winter Olympic Games. In this year’s competitions, over 1000 young athletes from 70 countries will compete in 15 sports disciplines: biathlon, bobsleigh, skeleton, curling, ice hockey, luge, figure skating, short-track speed skating, speed skating, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding. Poland will be represented by 21 athletes.
Youth Olympic Games are a sporting event for young people aged 14 to 18, organized by the International Olympic Committee. The event is held every four years. The first summer edition (the Summer Games) was held in 2010, and the first winter edition (the Winter Games) in 2012. Apart from taking part in the sports competitions, the young athletes have an opportunity to participate in numerous workshops and meetings such as the cultural and educational event “Learn and Share”. Such events are aimed at exchanging experience and promoting behaviours that are consistent with the Olympic ideals.
During his trip, Minister Witold Bańka also visited the Olympic village where the Polish team are staying and the sports facilities where YOG competitions will be held. The Minister also met with Christophe de Kepper, Director General of the International Olympic Committee and other IOC representatives, including Sergey Bubka.
So far, after holding 46 of the 70 events, the only Polish medallist in the Games is Karolina Gąsecka. The speed skater from the Integration Student Sports Club „Dziewiątka” in Tomaszów Mazowiecki won a silver medal in the mixed team sprint. It should be emphasized, however, that for the Polish athletes the participation in the YOG Lillehammer 2016 is, first of all, an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience for their future sporting careers.