The following is a transcript of remarks made by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge in Innsbruck, Austria Friday as he opened the inaugeral Winter Youth Olympic Games.
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.
It is altogether fitting that this new Olympic tradition will begin in Innsbruck.
These Games will enhance a great legacy that includes Innsbruck’s role as host of the 1964 and 1976 Olympic Winter Games.
Tonight, I can say with great pleasure….Innsbruck, you have done it again!
I firstly want to thank the public authorities, the dedicated organising committee and all of the outstanding volunteers who have worked so hard to ensure the success of these Games. To the athletes, I say…These Games exist for you. You have come here from 70 countries not just to compete against each other, but also to learn from each other. Some of the friendships formed over the next nine days will last a lifetime, and so will the memories.
This evening marks your entry into the Olympic world. That honour comes with 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.
Strive for excellence, but compete with friendship and respect for your opponents. Reject doping and other shortcuts that cheat yourself as well as others.
I now have the honour to ask His Excellency The Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Dr Heinz Fisher, to open the first Winter Youth Olympic Games.