The Opening Ceremony of Lillehammer 2016 got the second edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games off to a spectacular start tonight at the Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena, the same venue that hosted the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer in 1994.
In a nod to Lillehammer’s Olympic past, as well as to the youth and future, the YOG cauldron was lit by HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway. Exactly 22 years ago to the day, the 12-year-old Princess’s father, HRH Crown Prince Haakon, lit the same cauldron in 1994 to kick off Lillehammer’s first Olympic Games.
The vision of the Youth Olympic Games is to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and live by the Olympic values. As such, President Bach called on five of the athletes – Rachel Elizabeth Olivier (RSA), Kai Xiang Chew (MAS), Julia Moore (AUS), Britta Sillaots (EST) and Justine Brasseur (CAN) – to describe what the Youth Olympic Games mean to them, inviting them to share their feelings with the world using the hashtag #iLoveYOG.
The #iLoveYOG campaign has already been a resounding success, with thousands of athlete and fan photo contributions since the campaign launched. These images are being collated to make the largest photo mosaic in Youth Olympic history to be revealed at the closing of the Games. Fans can follow the campaign at www.olympic.org/iloveyog.
Japan’s Sōta Yamamoto, who debuted on the ISU Junior Grand Prix (JGP) two years ago, has his sights set on the World Junior Figure Skating Championships title. Ever since Daisuke Takahashi took the gold in 2002 in Hamar, Norway, Japan has produced more winners than any other country to date. Yamamoto’s goal is to join those ranks.
“Plushenko has been the skater I admire since then,” said the 15-year-old. “However, he seldom competed in the past few years, and I cannot see him skating (competitive programs) anymore. So in recent years, Yuzuru Hanyu is the skater I look up to in my heart.”
In fact, because of his long limbs, slim body line and huge jumps that remind people of his idol, the Japanese media have taken to calling Yamamoto “Hanyu II.” This unfortunately also reflects the expectations placed on the young skater; especially after he delivered good results at the JGP series last season where he placed second in France and Estonia, as well as the Final in Spain.
After a close fight and a festival of missed opportunities, the Japanese Sota Yamamoto won the Youth Olympic title going to the Chinese Han Yan, who won the first competition held in 2012.
The victory proved to be quite painful and is resulted due to the advantage gained in the short program, where the student Hiroshi Nagakubo was able to line up the listed competition.
The key to success is to be found on the technical side, who excelled on sixteen stationed in Nagoya in both race segments hosted by Olympic de Hamar Amphitheatre. Accordingly, the free program was characterized by empty steps on the items of greatest value and, compared to previous releases, it has been simplified with the elimination of the second quad toe loop and the second triple axel.
Yamamoto, author of the third stop of the day, fell on the only attempt to triple axel performed and completed with great difficulty the quadruple toe loop, then judged under-rotated by the technical panel. Impeccable on elements of spinning top, the national junior champion landed two double axel and seven triple jumps, including a lutz with input from a non outer wire.