March 19 - Dmitry Chernyshenko, the President and chief executive of Sochi 2014, has revealed that his Organising Committee will be looking for the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck next year to act as a key test event for the full Winter Olympic Games in the Russian city two years later.
The Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympics will take place in the Tyrol from January 13–22, with 1,058 athletes aged between 14 and 18 competing in 15 different winter sport disciplines.
"The Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympic Games will be a great test for us," Chernyshenko told insidethegames as Innsbruck celebrated 300 days until the start of the Games.
"We are very happy that they are taking place so close to us because Innsbruck will provide a great opportunity to look at a major winter sport event that is organised at an affordable level and that has huge involvement from the younger generations.
"We at the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee are planning to send a lot of people to Innsbruck 2012 to learn from the Games.
"Of course the key focus in Innsbruck will be on the younger generations and that is very important for us because we want to use Sochi 2014 to promote winter sport to young people in our country and around the world.
"Of course we have three Olympic mascots [the snow leopard, the polar bear and the hare] who will be very important in promoting our winter sports to the younger generations.
"At the moment, we are still deciding exactly which mascot will do which winter sport.
"It is clear that the snow leopard will do snowboarding because he is a very good snowboarder.
"The hare I think can do many sports and the polar bear, I don't know, maybe he will be a speed skater!"
The Sochi 2014 President added that he feels the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympics will provide the Russian city with a fantastic sporting legacy and one which could see them bid for the Summer Olympic Games in the future.
"The Games will provide a fantastic legacy for Sochi in terms of infrastructure and it will also become a major city for both winter and summer sports because of the investment for the 2014 Olympics and Paralympics," he said.
"It has a great climate to host both winter and summer sport and great facilities in place so maybe in the future, Sochi will even think about bidding for the Summer Olympics because Sochi is growing so fast in sport.
"Sochi will be hosting a Formula One race in 2014 and it will be one of the cities hosting football games during the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
"So the 2014 Winter Games has really highlighted Sochi as an emerging location for major sporting events."
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