A teenager from St Albans will represent GB at a major European Olympic festival.

The Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival will be held in northern Italy, as well as parts of neighbouring Austria and Slovenia, and will run for a week from Saturday.

Team GB is sending 18 athletes and among that number is 16-year-old Olivia Howeson, one of six Brits competing in the Alpine skiing disciplines, who attends Samuel Ryder Academy in St Albans.

She said: "I've been training hard in the run up to EYOF and have been really enjoying it.

"It makes me very excited for the Games and I’m looking forward to seeing how I can perform.

"It feels amazing to be able to represent my country, it’s always been a dream of mine and I’m very proud to be able to race for Team GB."

And as well as having team-mates and coaches on whom to seek support and advice, Howeson can also turn to one of Britain's top winter Olympian.

Eve Muirhead, who guided GB's curlers to Olympic gold in Beijing last year, has been named as athlete ambassador for the EYOF, offering her experience from several Games to the youngsters of Team GB.

She said: "I am very proud to be named athlete ambassador for the Friuli Venezia Giulia Winter European Youth Olympic Festival.

"I have always been very passionate about sport and to have the chance to hopefully inspire and pass on knowledge to the next generation is something that I am really looking forward to."

Other events which GB are fielding competitors at the festival include biathlon, figure skating, freestyle skiing and snowboard, short track speed skating and ski and snowboard cross.

The hope of the festival is to play an important role in the development of the young athletes, providing crucial multi-sport event experience and guiding them towards realising their Olympic ambitions.

More than 2,000 athletes from 40 nations are expected to participate.  

Pete Ambrose, Team GB’s chef de mission for Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023, said: "It will be the first time many of our young athletes experience the Olympic movement and is an invaluable opportunity for them to develop in an international competition of this level.

"But while it may the first exposure to a multi-sport event environment for many, Team GB has a great history of youth athletes taking part in an EYOF and going on to become senior Olympians and medallists.

"It will be great to help them use it as a foundation for future Games.

"It is a really exciting time to be a part of British winter sport."