By Tom Degun in Innsbruck

medals plaza_19-01-12January 19 - The Winter Youth Olympics were briefly plunged into chaos here with the daily Victory Ceremony postponed and the scheduled concert cancelled after a bomb was discovered in Innsbruck city centre.

The discovery was of an aerial bomb from World War Two and it was made during construction works at Bozner Platz here.

The 250kg (550lb) bomb was found just a few yards away from the Medals Plaza in Maria-Theresien-Straße, where every night the medal winners aged between 15 and 18-years-old have been presented with their medals.

However, the panic was quickly over as shortly after releasing a statement saying that the Victory Ceremony was postponed and that the scheduled concert cancelled, Innsbruck revealed that the bomb had been "defused".

The Victory Ceremony is still postponed until tomorrow but the concert set for tonight, featuring Tanz Baby! and Kommando Elefant, is back on.

Shortly after the announcement, bomb disposal squads went on site to address the issue but the closing off of the area and the postponement of events at the Medal Plaza was a precaution rather than because there was a major threat to the security and safety situation in Innsbruck.

The disposal squads managed to diffuse the bomb in four hours while there were a total of 65 police staff in attendance.

Innsbruck 2012_bomb_January_19_2012
There was widespread bombing of Innsbruck during World War Two by the United States Army Air Forces.

It began in December 1943 and lasted until April 1945 because Innsbruck was a main transport hub where four rail lines converged.

A key function as a railroad supply centre for Italy made Innsbruck an important strategic target for the Allies, who carried out a total of 22 raids in 16 months.

There were more than 450 casualties and over 3,000 buildings were damaged.

Mark Adams, head of communications at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), admitted that the incident was a surprise to everyone.

"It's a shame, obviously," he said.

"It's the first Winter Youth Olympic Games and it's really important to celebrate the medals but we thought it best to cancel.

"Safety, particularly of the athletes is at the core of everything we do.

"I must admit we weren't expecting to have a Second World War bomb."

Despite today's short drama, the incident certainly will not overshadow what has so far been a very successful inaugural edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

The nine-day event has now passed the halfway mark and just yesterday, IOC President Jacques Rogge was full of praise for the organisation of the event.

"After the success of Singapore, it is heart-warming to witness a city come alive once again with the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games," Rogge said.

"The local communities have come out in force to enjoy the high-level sports competition on offer, while international spectators have travelled from far and wide to show their support."

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