The Norwegian Royal Family opened the Second Youth Winter Olympic Games on 12 February in Lillehammer. While His Majesty The King officially opened the Youth Olympic Games, the honour of lighting the Olympic flame went to Princess Ingrid Alexandra, the eldest child of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Also present were Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Sverre Magnus. The opening took place on the Lysgårdsbakkene ski jumping hill with 13.000 spectators. The Olympic torch has travelled all throughout Norway for the opening ceremony. The same torch was used 22 years when Crown Prince Haakon lit the flame for the 1994 Winter Olympic Games, also in Lillehammer.
The King opened the Second Winter Olympic Youth Games with the words, “I hereby declare open the Second Winter Olympic Youth Games of Lillehammer”, followed by fireworks and the Olympic flag being brought into the stadium. The flag was carried by medallists from the 1994 Winter Olympic Games and was handed to six young athletes from various sport disciplines. The flag was hoisted to the top of the flagpole after several oaths were sworn on behalf of the coaches, judges, employees and the athletes.
Princess Ingrid Alexandra was handed the torch from World Ski Champion and gold medallist Marit Bjørgen, who carried the torch for the final leg of the journey.
Earlier in the day Crown Prince Haakon had delivered the first stone for the Curling event and he and his family watched the opening. Later that afternoon The King received a medal of distinction from the President of the International Committee Thomas Bach. That medal is presented to heads of state with strong ties to the international sport. It was discontinued following the death of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee, but was relaunched in 2014.
Photocredit:Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway lights the Olympic Flame at the Second Youth Winter Olympic Games by Lillehammer 2016 Youth via Flickr.com