YOG Gives Japanese children wings

Last March Japan was devastated by one of the worst natural disasters in the country’s history. The earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15 thousand people and left the nation in a state of despair.

But for the next week, a group of 13 children caught up in the tragedy will be able to forget about the hardships back home while they’re special guests at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

As part of a joint IOC/JOC program known as the ‘Tsubasa Project’, the kids will travel around Innsbruck to see all of the sights and sounds of the YOG.

“Most of them, it’s their first time abroad. It’s a great experience to see a different world,” says Tsubasa team leader Toru Kobayashi.

“It’s good to know that many people are supporting them and to show them that they are not alone.” In English, ‘tsubasa’ means ‘wings’. Kobayashi is hoping this experience will provide the children with the inspiration to move beyond the horrors of 2011.

“I hope this gives them encouragement to work harder, especially in their sport. Many of them participate in the same sports they’ll be seeing here.”