News detail

14 January 2012

1st Winter Youth Olympic Games opens in Innsbruck


As the OMEGA Countdown Clock in the heart of Innsbruck ticked the final seconds down to zero, the city’s Bergisel Ski Jump Stadium welcomed the world’s best young winter athletes and thousands of enthusiastic fans to the Opening Ceremony of the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games on Friday, the 13th of January. OMEGA will be serving as Official Timekeeper.

It marked the third time the Stadium had officially greeted the Olympic Family – the Opening Ceremonies for the Olympic Winter Games were also held there in 1964 and 1976.


The ceremony was highlighted by the Athletes’ Parade and the traditional lighting of the Flame for the Games and an exuberant program of live entertainment. Fans of the Olympic Movement had been actively involved in preparations leading up to the Opening Ceremony. Young students had designed the costumes and the stage and the pre-show dance was also performed by volunteers. The Olympic spirit represented a fresh and enthusiastic Austria and an international next Olympic generation, reflecting the motto of the Games, “Be Part of It!”


IOC chief Jacques Rogge and Austrian President Heinz Fischer officially declared the games open after a fireworks and music extravaganza at the famous ski jump facility. Rogge also called on the young competitors to "strive for excellence, but compete in the spirit of friendship."

OMEGA's third visit to Innsbruck

OMEGA, who is serving as Official Timekeeper and Data Handler at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, was also on hand when the Olympic Winter Games were staged in Innsbruck in 1964 and 1976. The brand's president, Stephen Urquhart, said, "Both editions of the Winter Games staged in Innsbruck were memorable for some new timekeeping equipment and outstanding performances. We were warmly received by our Austrian hosts and are delighted to be here in Innsbruck for the very first Winter Youth Olympic Games."


OMEGA and the International Olympic Committee have extended their agreement through the 2020 Olympic Games. While no one ever knows which nations' athletes will be standing on the medal podiums, one thing is certain: their winning performances will have been timed and recorded by OMEGA, the timekeeper synonymous with Olympic Games excellence.