Changing Times

By Emily Ridlington, Sports Media Canada Special Correspondent and International Olympic Committee Young Reporter

When Innsbruck first hosted a Winter Olympic Games, the snow was cleared by men who skied up and down the hill with baskets on their backs. The equipment skiers used was basic. Now it’s not uncommon for skiers to have several pairs of skis depending on the conditions and all equipment is state-of-the-art.

Three Olympic Flames at Innsbruck's Youth Olympics


During the opening ceremonies these signs of changing times were most evident. At the base of the Bergisel Stadium, modern beats and hip hop dancers give it their all on stage. This wouldn’t have been the style in 1964 or 1976. To open the show after the athletes paraded in, two teens sat down at computers to instant message each other. They took a historical and musical tour back through the ages to a time when their parents were born and maybe even their grandparents.

When the history journey reached the 21st century, hip hop was combined with traditional Austrian dancing complete with the leiderhosen and all.

Torchbearers skied down the hill with the Olympic flame. All the torchbearers were Austrian Olympians. Unlike the typical Opening Ceremony, there were three torches to light. This signified the true value residents of Innsbruck hold and how proud they are to be again hosting the Games.

I found the view from the city to be exceptional. Standing for four hours in the “cold” for some was definitely worth it. Chatting with the athletes they seemed to enjoy the show geared toward their age group. Even the older folks were dancing.

The International Olympic Committee is really trying to link with the “in” crowd. In this  age of social media, cell phones and all things tech, even the way the young athletes interact is different. They’ve been given a new tech toy called the Yogger. It’s a memory stick that goes in your computer and serves as your electronic business card. You simply have to touch the Yoggers together and magically you have all of their contact information.

Back at Bergisel Stadium, my fellow journalists watching the ceremony were tweeting, shooting video, taking pictures, facebooking and writing copy. No longer are journalists limited to one medium, you must be able to adapt and be comfortable in a multi-purpose media environment. The public wants to consume news faster and in a variety of ways. That’s the new wave of journalism.

On with the show and on with the Games!