Gangwon, South Korea – Saw the spectacular opening ceremony 19 January of the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2024. Taking place at Gangneung Oval and PyeongChang Dome simultaneously, the opening ceremony saw cultural performers including K-pop stars performing in front of 10,000 spectators, athletes, and other Youth Olympic Games stakeholders. The ceremony celebrated the spirit of sportsmanship and showcased the power of inclusion.
Sisters Park Ha-eun and Park Ga-eun, short track speed skaters with intellectual developmental disabilities took center stage in the final relay carrying the stunning Olympic torch with pride. The inspiring athletes are regular participants in the National Winter Para Games demonstrating the Olympic commitment to inclusivity. As athletes marched into the stadium, the Gangwon 2024 Torch Tour concluded setting the stage for the lighting of the Youth Olympic cauldron.
With a full and dynamic calendar for 2024, UTS could not miss being at one of the biggest sporting event of this Olympic year. UTS President Stephan Fox made his way to Korea in time for the opening ceremony. He expressed his excitement to witness the dedication of the 1802 young athletes who have trained relentlessly for this moment. All are ready to shine over the next two weeks of thrilling winter sport action until the closing on February 1st.
UTS President Fox said:
“The Winter Youth Olympic Games in stunning Gangwon kicks off 2024 in the strongest way possible. It is a celebration of the talent, dedication, and diversity present in our youth. These Games embody the true spirit of the Olympics – Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together. UTS is honored to be present at this event to show our support. We look forward to witnessing not just the athletic prowess, but also the positive impact these Games will leave on the youth of the Republic of Korea.”
UTS is sending extra support to Lara Colturi, the daughter of Italian Olympic gold medalist Daniela Ceccarelli, representing Albania in alpine skiing. Having participated in the 2020 UTS festival, Lara’s journey from the festival to the Winter Youth Olympic Games is nothing short of amazing and we are very proud to see her competing at the highest level at the YOG!
Gangwon 2024 also makes history as the first Winter Youth Olympic Games hosted in Asia. This landmark event embodies the Olympic motto: Faster with a commitment to gender equality. The Games feature 15 disciplines across seven sports, including biathlon, bobsleigh (including skeleton), curling, ice hockey, luge, skating (figure skating, short track, and speed skating), and skiing (alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and snowboard).
The Olympic legacy is not only about the Games themselves but also about the lasting impact on the youth of the Republic and beyond. With youthful creativity taking center stage, everything from the medals to the mascot, songs, and choreography has been developed through extensive collaboration with the youth. The youth are a part of all aspects of the Games.
As the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 unfold, the world eagerly anticipates the exceptional talent, sportsmanship, and inclusivity that will characterize these two weeks of winter sports showcase. The Games not only symbolizes the culmination of years of hard work for the participating athletes and organizing committee, but also embodies the shared vision of a brighter, more inclusive world through the power of sports.
We wish all athletes the very best and may they enjoy every moment. To the Republic of Korea and the National Olympic Committee, the local organizing committee and volunteers. Thank you for welcoming us so warmly and delivering an unforgettable experience.