The countdown is on to the Winter World Masters Games 2020. In just 240 days’ time the World’s Greatest Winter Sports Festival for 30+ Year Olds will open in the Olympic City of Innsbruck, Austria. With the clock ticking down to the start of the event, Mayor of Innsbruck Georg Willi joined WWMG 2020 ambassadors Niki Hosp, Manni Pranger and Andi Widhölzl together with Georg Spazier, CEO of the local organising committee, to unveil the Winter World Masters Games countdown clock in the heart of Innsbruck.
From now on visitors to Maria-Theresien-Straße, the main shopping street in downtown Innsbruck, will be able to count the days to opening ceremony of the WWMG 2020 on 10 January 2020. “It’s going to be an outstanding festival of winter sports combining top athletic performances with friendship and hospitality. I am really looking forward to it,” said Georg Willi, Mayor of Innsbruck, at the presentation ceremony.
The clock, which has been designed to match the city of Innsbruck’s corporate identity, takes the form of a three-metre-high apostrophe. A podium in front of the countdown clock invites visitors to strike a victory pose in the run-up to the WWMG and take a photo and share with the world via social media. Texts on the front and back of the clock give information about the event and encourage enthusiastic amateurs and hobby athletes to sign up and compete in one of the 12 sports offered.
Audio file, Mayor Georg Willi (from 1:24 appeal to residents of Innsbruck/Tyrol), DE: https://soundcloud.com/user-135416371/bgm-innsbruck-georg-willi/s-lHdDx
Famous faces as WWMG 2020 ambassadors
The unveiling of the countdown clock in the centre of Innsbruck was also the opportunity to present the first four WWMG 2020 ambassadors: Nicole Hosp (Alpine Skiing, overall World Cup winner, World Champion and Olympic Medalist), Andreas Widhölzl (Ski Jumping, winner of the Four Hills Tournament, World and Olympic Champion), Manfred Pranger (Alpine Skiing, world champion) and Petra van der Voorn (Masters Speed Skating, club official and super-volunteer;-).
Nicole Hosp: I have been fortunate enough to be part of many major sporting events. The best ones were always those where I could feel the atmosphere and the flair. I think it is great that the World Masters Games give amateur athletes the chance to compete against each other and to experience that special flair.
Audio file, DE: https://soundcloud.com/user-135416371/niki-hosp/s-mcbKi
Andreas Widhölzl: The Winter World Masters Games are a great opportunity for everyone over 30 to stay fit, compete against others and share their love of sport with like-minded people. In my role as a coach I will be training extra hard with my team to prepare for the WWMG2020. My focus will be on stretching and gymnastics in order to get my aging body flexible and supple again!
Audio file, DE: https://soundcloud.com/user-135416371/andreas-widholzl/s-VgWFL
Manfred Pranger: Patscherkofel mountain is the ideal setting for the alpine competitions. The pistes are in great condition and provide a real challenge. We can look forward to exciting races and a great event.
Audio file, DE: https://soundcloud.com/user-135416371/manni-pranger/s-43wMt
Registration phase already in full swing
Registration for the WWMG 2020 opened almost three months ago. So far, 1102 athletes from 42 countries have already signed up to take part. The most popular disciplines to date have been Figure Skating and Biathlon, which both sold out in less than 24 hours. Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing and Ice Hockey have also proved very much in demand. “We are delighted with this sensational start to the registration phase,” comments Georg Spazier, head of the organising committee behind the WWMG in Innsbruck. “Compared with previous masters events, Innsbruck 2020 has gained a lot of traction early on. We are currently working hard on creating additional capacity in the most popular disciplines and are expecting the greatest run to open spots in early autumn.”
The overall aim is to attract 3000 athletes to Innsbruck in January 2020. That would make the Winter World Masters Games even bigger than the Winter Olympic Games - when it comes to the number of active competitors taking part - and therefore the largest winter multisports event in the world!
The final piece of the Olympic puzzle
The venues which will welcome the Winter World Masters Games 2020 have a long and rich history. They have already hosted the Winter Olympics on two occasions, in 1964 and 1976, as well as the Winter Universiade in 1968 and 2005, the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012, the 2016 Children’s Games and numerous World Cup events and world championships. Innsbruck’s reputation as a destination for major winter sports events was underlined once again in early 2019 with the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in nearby Seefeld.
These international competitions form the basis of a decades-long success story which has enabled Innsbruck and the Tyrol region to make a name for itself when it comes to hosting top-class sporting events. The Olympic Spirit lives on here and will open a new chapter with the Winter World Masters Games in January 2020. “The WWMG are more or less the final piece of the Olympic puzzle missing here in Innsbruck,” adds Georg Spazier.
Participants can look forward to top-level competitions in state-of-the-art venues. All of the alpine disciplines will be held on Patscherkofel mountain, venue of the 1964 and 1976 Olympic Games with Franz Klammers legendary downhill victory. The Olympiaworld in Innsbruck will welcome all the ice-based disciplines and also serve as the Games Center. The Nordic disciplines will take place in Seefeld and Kitzbühel. Additional events will also be held in St. Sigmund/Sellrain, Telfs and Götzens.
Audio file, Georg Spazier, EN: https://soundcloud.com/user-135416371/georg-spazier
A sports festival open to everyone
Over the space of ten days, medals will be awarded and new personal bests set in twelve sporting disciplines at the WWMG 2020 in Innsbruck. True to the principle Sport for all, the competitions will be held in a friendly and respectful atmosphere. As well as top-class sporting action, the WWMG will also feature a spectacular opening and closing ceremony as well as lots of side events taking place in the Masters Village on the Marktplatz square in the centre of Innsbruck. Innsbruck’s many sights and attractions will mean that there is plenty to see and do for participants and their families during their time in Tyrol. “The special thing about Innsbruck is its mixture of urban and alpine. Both in winter and summer visitors can enjoy the atmosphere in the city and in the mountains. There is no other place which offers this unique combination,” explains Karin Seiler-Lall, head of Innsbruck Tourism.
3000+ athletes: more than 3000 athletes will travel to Innsbruck/Tyrol together with their families.
12 disciplines: Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Biathlon, Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined, Speed Skating, Figure Skating, Short Track, Curling, Ice Hockey, Ski Mountaineering, Ski Orienteering.
10 days: 10.01 – 19.01.2020
7 venues: Olympiaworld, Patscherkofel, Seefeld, Kitzbühel, Telfs, Götzens, Masters Village on Marktplatz square in Innsbruck
Photo caption: The first shots of newly revealed WWMG podium.
Photo 01: Andreas Widhölzl, Georg Spazier, Nicole Hosp; Georg Willi, Manfred Pranger, Petra van der Voorn
Photo 02: Alois Seyrling, Franz Xaver Gruber, Georg Spazier, Karin Seiler-Lall, Georg Willi, Elisabeth Mayr, Karl Gostner
Photo 03: Georg Willi
Photo 04: Andreas Widhölzl, Nicole Hosp, Manfred Pranger
Photo credit: ITS/ Michael Furtmayr (available to use free of charge)
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