"One year to go"
On Wednesday evening, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon unveiled the countdown clock for the Youth Olympics, which will kick off in Lillehammer in exactly one year – 365 days.
The Winter Youth Olympic Games will be held for the second time in 2016. The 10-day competition will feature 1 100 young athletes between the ages of 15 and 18. Representing 70 countries, they will be competing in 70 medal events – some of them new – in the seven Winter Olympic sports.
Although athletic performance and the joy of sports are at the heart of the Youth Olympic Games, culture and learning are also a fundamental component. Through the Learn & Share programme the athletes and other young people will take part in activities addressing topics such as Olympism and the Olympic Values, Healthy Lifestyle and Wellbeing, and Social Responsibility.
365 days to go
There will be a wide array of festivities in Hamar, Lillehammer and Gjøvik to mark the countdown to kick-off for Lillehammer 2016. Crowds gathered on Wednesday night in Lillehammer to celebrate the unveiling of the clock that will tick down the last 365 days until the games begin.
Crown Prince Haakon arrived at the offices of the Lillehammer 2016 Organising Committee in the afternoon, where he was given a presentation on the committee’s activities. The Crown Prince is a member of the national advisory committee to Lillehammer 2016.
In addition to the sporting events, the Youth Olympic Games involve unique cooperation between sports and culture and education institutions. The Crown Prince had the opportunity to meet with the leaders for the seven Winter Olympic sports and for the venues, in addition to attending a short joint meeting on the status of Lillehammer 2016 and cooperation with the Global Dignity initiative.
People flocked to Lilletorget square in Lillehammer for the countdown ceremony. Norwegian Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey addressed the crowd first, followed by OMEGA President Stephen Urquhart, who was representing the International Olympic Committee.
The Crown Prince unveiled the clock with the help of young ice hockey player Carl Erik Kråbøl (14).
Condolences from His Majesty King Harald to His Holiness Pope Francis.
Congratulations from His Majesty King Harald to the new President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, His Excellency Mr Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.