Gina Zehnder, a 14-year-old ice dancer, lit the cauldron at the Youth Olympic Opening Ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday.
“Welcome home,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a speech, noting that IOC headquarters are in Lausanne, before joining an athlete from each continent for a selfie. “Here you are in the heart of the Olympic Movement.”
Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA airs Opening Ceremony coverage at 8 p.m. on Thursday, followed by 13 days of competition. A full Youth Olympic TV schedule is here.
Zehnder, the youngest athlete in the Swiss delegation, isn’t the youngest person to light an Olympic cauldron. Four years ago, Norway’s 12-year-old Princess Ingrid Alexandra was the final torch bearer at the Lillehammer Youth Winter Games.
Earlier Thursday, each nation’s flag bearer marched out in the countries’ alphabetical order, with Lexie Madigan carrying the Stars and Stripes. Luger Reannyn Weiler was to carry the U.S. flag at a separate Opening Ceremony in St. Moritz, where mountain events will be held.
The Youth Winter Games feature athletes ages 14-18 in traditional Olympic sports and other events not on the traditional Winter Games program, such as monobobsled, women’s Nordic combined and ski mountaineering.
The U.S. roster of 96 athletes is here. Past U.S. Youth Winter Olympians included PyeongChang snowboard halfpipe gold medalist Chloe Kim and Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel.
The U.S. tied for the most gold medals with 10 at the last Youth Winter Games in Lillehammer. Innsbruck, Austria, hosted the first Youth Winter Olympics in 2012.
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