By David Gold

innsbruck volunteers_12-10-11October 12 - Tribute was paid to the 1,400 volunteers participating at the inaugural 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games  at the "Volunteer Kick Off" in Olympiaworld, Innsbruck, where the Games will be held in three months time.

Hannes Gschwentner, the vice-provincial Governor of Tyrol, the state of which Innsbruck is the capital, said: "Having the most beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities doesn't mean anything without volunteers to make the Winter Youth Olympic Games an unforgettable experience."

Innsbruck Mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer added: "It is really impressive to see how many people of all ages want to help make Innsbruck 2012 an unforgettable experience."

Among those participating was 63-year-old Dr Brigitte Zerlauth, a volunteer at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Tokyo, as well as the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics.

Also completing a hat-trick of Games will be Helmut Figallo, Hermann Kuntner, Herbert Herwig and Adalbert Mayregger, volunteering at the ripe old age of 83.

Günther Platter, Governor of Tyrol, said: "On behalf of everyone I would like to thank these five role models and all the other volunteers who will help us show the world that Tyrol is an Olympic champion when it comes to organising events.

"We will give the athletes and all our guests a very warm welcome and make them feel at home.

"I am convinced that these will be fantastic Games."

The Innsbruck 2012 Games get underway on January 13, and will see over 1,000 athletes competing for medals at the first ever Youth Winter Olympics, following the success of the first Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore last year.

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