On Monday, the Canadian Olympic Committee named the 54 athletes that will represent Team Canada at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lillehammer, Norway.
These promising athletes, aged 15 to 18, will compete in 70 medal events between February 12-21.
Biathlete Ben Churchill has been selected as to carry the maple leaf as Canada’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony. The ceremony will be held in Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena – exactly 22 years and two hours after the magical opening of the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympic Games.
“Representing Canada at the Youth Olympic Games has been a dream come true, and to go as flag bearer will make this experience even more special,” says the 17-year old Calgarian. “Canada’s winter sport legacy has been crafted by generations of determined, persistent, and courageous athletes, and it is my sincere hope to honour that history during these Games. Hoisting the maple leaf, a unifying symbol for Canada, is something I will do with pride.”
Churchill is one of Canada’s most promising biathletes. He won the men’s 15km individual event and led Team Alberta to silver in the men’s 3 x 7.5km relay at the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George, B.C. Competing since 2010, Churchill has won six career medals at the Canadian Championships.
In addition to competition, the athletes will take part in a wide range of cultural and educational activities to help them develop the skills needed to be successful in their careers as adults. The team will be led by Chef de Mission Isabelle Charest, a three-time Olympian and Olympic medallist in short track speed skating. Charest made her Olympic debut at Lillehammer 1994 where she won silver in the 3000m relay.
Fellow Olympian, Eric Mitchell, a ski jumper who competed at Vancouver 2010, joins the team as their Young Ambassador.