Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway and six-time Winter Olympic gold medallist Marit Bjørgen will carry the Olympic Torch into the Opening Ceremony of Lillehammer 2016, it has been announced.
Bjørgen, who won three cross-country skiing golds at the Games in Vancouver in 2010 before repeating the feat in Sochi four years’ later, will be involved in a story-telling segment of the Ceremony, which will take place at the Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena on February 12.
Young actor Eilif Hellum Noraker, who is best known for being involved in the Doktor Proktor series of films, plays a boy who dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete and the section depicts how tough the road towards the goal can be.
Bjørgen will then use her own story to motivate the youngster to never give up in his bid to become an Olympian.
The Ceremony will be held exactly 22 years to the day after the Opening Ceremony of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games was staged.
Lillehammer 2016’s Winter Youth Olympic Games Flame was lit on December 1 in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, beginning a Torch Relay which is due to visit all 19 Norwegian Provinces ahead of the event.
“I am really looking forward to February 12, and I am nervous and excited,” Bjørgen said.
“I am not used to performing in Ceremonies like these, but I am proud to be able to participate in the Opening Ceremony of the Youth Olympic Games.
“In the play, I work as an inspiration to the young boy.
“Being a good role model for young athletes means a lot to me.
“I hope and believe that the most important thing in the Youth Olympic Games is that athletes from many different countries come together, get to know each other and do what they like best, namely sports.
“The results in the Games are, in my opinion, of less importance.”
The 35-year-old, who has won 14 World Championships gold medals in her career to date, is a household name in her native Norway.
She has never competed at the Winter Youth Olympic Games but participated in the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Sundsvall, Sweden in 1997.
“The teenagers participating in the Youth Olympic Games will probably remember the days in Lillehammer for the rest of their lives,” she added.
“Having one of the parts in the Opening Ceremony is a great honour for me, and I will do my very best.”
- By Liam Morgan
- this article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz