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Winter_youth_olympicsThe inaugural Winter Youth Olympics drew to a close on Sunday in Innsbruck and Team GB ended the 10-day competition on a high.

Bobsleigh duo Mica McNeill and Jazmin Sawyers took the silver medal on the final day of the Games, after moving up from fourth place after the first run. The second British bobsleigh pair, Kirsten Emerson and Frances Slater, placed fourth.

McNeill and Sawyers joined gold medalist Jack Burrows and silver medalist Aydin Djemal, who won their medals in the 3,000m mixed team short-track speed skating.

A new event introduced by the International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge, it involved teams of two male and two female athletes from different countries competing on the same team. Rogge hopes the event will bring nations closer together and give young athletes a greater understanding of the “Olympic spirit”.

While there may have only been three medals, the 24 athletes in Team GB have returned home with their heads held high. Clive Woodward, Team GB’s chef de mission, said, “Bobsleigh did really well, but other sports had fourths and fifths, and all 24 athletes, without exception, had a fantastic time.”

Freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes flew the Union Jack for Team GB at the Opening Ceremony, and on the last day of the competition came fifth in the ski halfpipe. In the men’s ski halfpipe, Tyler Harding came 10th while Lewis Courtier-Jones was 14th in the snowboard halfpipe.

Skiing halfpipe, snowboard slopestyle and women’s ski jumping made their debut at the Innsbruck Games, ahead of the Winter Olympics at Sochi in 2014.

“It’s been a great week. They’ve been mixing with athletes from different countries, competing against the best in their age group and this will really help them in the future,” added Woodward.


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