The Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games are officially open after this evening’s spectacular Opening Ceremony at the Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena.
Bobsleigh pilot George Johnston had the honour of carrying the union flag into the arena in front of 13,000 spectators including his 15 Team GB teammates.
With a nod to the past and present of our Norwegian hosts, the lighting of the Olympic Flame was bestowed upon HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway exactly 22 years ago to the day the 12-year-old Princess’s father, HRH Crown Prince Haakon, lit the same cauldron in 1994 to kick off Lillehammer’s first Olympic Games.
The ceremony officially begins 10 days of winter sport action which will see around 1,100 athletes from 71 nations compete across 15 disciplines.
Team GB’s curlers were actually in action before the official opening of the Games as they took on South Korea in their opening fixture of the mixed team event.
Led by skip Ross Whyte, Team GB were in control from first stone to last and got their Games off to the perfect start, eventually running out 9-2 winners.
The team of Whyte, Mili Smith, Callum Kinnear and Amy Bryce will play twice tomorrow, taking on Canada followed by Brazil as they look to build on today’s victory and Kinnear was delighted to kick off the competition with such a resounding victory.
“It’s great to get off to a good start. We always thought it would be a tough first game so we’re pleased to get that win on the board,” said Kinnear.
“Our communication was good throughout and we judged the stones well but we’ll have to up our game for tomorrow no doubt. The Games have been good fun so far but this has been highlight and we’re looking forward to the next one.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, the alpine skiing gets underway with Team GB’s Yasmin Cooper and Iain competing in the Super-G event while Verity Lewis has her first round of qualification in the ice hockey skills challenge.
Cooper said: “My preparation has been good following some personal bests in slalom and giant slalom so I feel like I’m skiing well.
“I’m looking to challenge myself and seeing what I can do on the slopes. I’ve dreamt of wearing the Olympic rings so being here in Lillehammer is a dream come true.”