Prior to 1992, both the summer and winter Olympic games were always held in the same year. Now, for the first time since 1992, we will be treated to two Olympic Games this year, winter and summer.
I know what you are wondering: how did I miss that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia had been moved up two years? Well, relax, you didn't. The Winter Games I'm talking about are the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG), set to begin a ten day run just over a week from now on Friday, January 13th in Innsbruck, Austria, a city which has already hosted two memorable Winter Olympic Games (1964 and 1976). The summer Olympics are still set for London, which will become the first city to host three Olympics (1908, 1948, 2012). Fortunately, I am not a tridecaphobic, so the fact that the Winter YOGs start on a Friday the 13th is no cause for concern.
The Youth Olympic Games were created in response to growing global concerns about childhood obesity and the declining participation of children in sports, especially among children from developing nations. The age range for youth participating in the YOGs is 14 to 18 and there is a strong cultural Culture and Exchange Program, which was developed as a component for each celebration.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Jacques Rogge, says "there will be several goals for the YOG, with the top including; bringing together the world's best young athletes, offering an introduction into Olympics, innovating in educating and debating Olympic values."
As anyone who has been reading my articles and blogs for MomsTeam over the past eleven years knows,* I am a huge fan of the Olympics, especially the Winter Games. Perhaps it is because I was born during a blizzard during the 1952 Winter Olympics in beautifiul Oslo, Norway, on the day figure skater Dick Button won a gold medal after becoming the first to successfully land a triple jump (a triple loop) in competition, or all the skiing I did growing up, or my dream of one day skiing in the Olympics. Emotionally, I know it is because, as a young athletic girl growing up in a pre-Title IX world, the only time women were valued for their athleticism in any concentrated way was during the Olympics.
Even though there hasn't been much hoopla or publicity about the YOGs, at least not yet, I think this may be an ideal time for parents to ask their children's teachers to talk about the Games in their classrooms. I will be blogging about some of the members of the U.S. team over the next ten days leading up to the Opening ceremonies. Chances are some will be on the U.S. team in Sochi two years from now or in 2018, when the Winter Games will be held in Pyeonchang, South Korea. In the meantime, you may want to bookmark the Games' official website: http://www.innsbruck2012.com/en.
* Here are some of my other articles and blogs about Olympics past:
A Lifelong Dream: Attending the Olympic Games