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NZ flag bearer for Winter Youth Olympic Games named

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Winter Youth Olympic Games Opening Ceremony will kick off in Innsbruck (13 January, 5.30pm local time) at Bergisel Stadium and leading the team of 15 Kiwi athletes will be free ski star Beau James Wells.

Beau James has proved at his young age that he will be an outstanding sportsman. Wells is an outstanding competitor who year after year in New Zealand has won national titles but he has competed internationally with credible results including 7th at the Junior World Champs in 2010, 1st Freestyle Junior Olympics USA 2010, Aspen Men's Open Semi Finals 2009 and 2010. With Beau's current world standings and progression he is in the running for a medal at the Youth Olympic Games.

"On top of Beau's results competiting he is a true leader and mentor amongst his peers and a well respected individual. Beau is a very friendly and approachable personality with plenty of time for all other competitors. As the flag bearer Beau will be someone that all the New Zealand youth athletes can look to for leadership and inspiration no matter their sport." Says Chef de Mission Peter Wardell.

There is general excitement for the Opening Ceremony for the kiwi athletes who for the first time will be competing in Winter Youth Olympic Games.

"We've had a really positive response from athletes," said Peter Wardell, Chef de Mission. "Opening Ceremonies are always a highlight and our athletes are looking forward to entering the stadium tonight."

The Opening Ceremony of the event is due to take place on January 13, and more than 1,000 athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 from 70 countries will compete from January 13 to 22. With a total capacity of 28,000, Bergisel Stadium is the perfect place to host the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games. This is the first Winter Youth Olympic Games to be held, but follows on from the successful Singapore Summer Youth Olympic Games held in 2010. New Zealand's 15 athletes will compete in seven sports.

Wanaka-based Beau James is part of the well-known winter sports Wells family. Wells is joined by his father Bruce in Innsbruck. As well as coaching Beau, Bruce also coaches his three other sons (Jossi, Byron and Jackson) who are also world class ski athletes. Wells is one of New Zealand's medal chances and is set to compete on the 14 January in the Men's Free Ski ski halfpipe qualification round. The final will be on the 15 January.

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