It looks like everyone’s favourite Alpine chamois has a new best friend.
Innsbruck 2012 mascot Yoggl and YOG Ambassador and American Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn were spotted together again this week in Sölden, Austria, ahead of the season opener of the FIS Ski World Cup. The Tyrolean treasure greeted Vonn with a hug before escorting her to a packed press conference where the two cracked jokes, hammed it up for the cameras and spoke about how much they were looking forward to the first edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games from 13 to 22 January.
“It is part of my responsibility as an athlete to give back to the kids,” Vonn said, barely audible over the sound of clicking cameras. “When you are growing up, your brain is like a sponge, you absorb so much information. And when you have someone to look up to it can really have an impact. I feel it in my heart that I want to contribute and help young athletes.”
Yoggl and Vonn first met this summer in Park City, Utah, and the two immediately hit it off. They spent the day cycling and playing tennis and the pair became practically inseparable after that. From all appearances, it looks as though they picked up in Sölden exactly where they left off in America.
Asked if he was happy to have such enthusiastic and passionate YOG Ambassadors as Vonn, Benjamin Raich and Yuna Kim to work with, Yoggl raised a hoof and nodded his head enthusiastically. He then proceeded to goof around with the journalists as Vonn and Innsbruck 2012 CEO Peter Bayer continued to talk about the YOG, all the while struggling to keep straight faces.
“The Youth Olympic Games are a great opportunity for the athletes to learn about the Olympic values and other sporting principles like fair play, friendship and good sportsmanship,” Vonn said. “This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to be part of it.
“There will be incredible cultural experiences (for the athletes) as well during these Games. The fact that the athletes will be able to compete internationally at such a young age is a fantastic opportunity. I remember coming to Europe for the first time when I was 9 years old and it had a huge impact on me. Hopefully spending two weeks with other young athletes from all over the world will have the same impact on them. They will learn so much about all the different cultures of the athletes attending the Games. At the same time they will take part in some really fun activities that will teach them new skills and help them with their future careers.”
In appreciation for Vonn’s work for Innsbruck 2012, Yoggl said he would remain in Sölden to cheer her on this weekend as she attempts to win her fourth overall World Cup championship in five seasons. The two were last seen chatting amicably around a fireplace on the eve of Vonn’s first race.