Written by Tom Kelly
With the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games 100 days away, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) will nominate 15 young athletes to represent America in alpine skiing, halfpipe and slopestyle skiing and snowboarding, skicross, cross country, ski jumping and nordic combined on Oct. 9 during the Flaming Leaves Festival in Lake Placid.
The Flaming Leaves Festival weekend will serve as the final chance for ski jumping and nordic combined athletes to qualify for Innsbruck 2012 before the nominees are announced late Sunday morning at the Olympic Jumping Complex during a special presentation featuring Yoggl, the Winter Youth Olympic Games mascot.
Though not vying for spots in Innsbruck, top athletes expected to compete in Lake Placid include 2010 Olympians Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, NY), Taylor Fletcher (Park City, UT), Anders Johnson (Park City, UT) and Nick Alexander (Lebanon, NH).
The Winter Youth Olympic Games is an international multi-sport event held under the authority of the International Olympic Committee that will take place every four years, consistent with the current format of the Olympic Winter Games. The Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games will run from Jan. 13-22, with an expected 1,057 athletes between the ages of 14-18 from more than 80 countries participating.
The Youth Olympic Games aim to inspire youth around the world to embrace, embody and express the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect. It will create a lasting sport, culture and education legacy for youth from around the world, as well as enhance and elevate the sporting culture locally and regionally.
To assist and mentor the WYOG participants, the following USSA Olympians have accepted various roles within the Innsbruck 2012 program:
Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), two-time Olympic medalist and 12-time Audi FIS Alpine World Cup title winner, will serve as a Winter Youth Olympic Games Ambassador. The role of the ambassadors is to inspire and mentor the athletes competing at the Games while encouraging young people to become more active in sport. Watch Vonn take on the 100-days-to-go challenge at olympic.org.