Leysin, Switzerland, September 30, 2017 – Today, more than fifteen elite athletes, all members of the 2020 Lausanne Athletes Council, met to discuss the needs of the young athletes who will participate in the Youth Olympic Games in 2020 in order to make sure that nothing in the organisation goes in the way of letting athletes live the experience of their lives in Lausanne in 2020. A rich and stimulating discussion whose conclusions will benefit the next generation of champions and guide the organisation of the Games in Lausanne.
The members of the Lausanne 2020 Athletes Council have all already participated in either Olympic Games, Youth Olympic Games or World Championships in their disciplines. They gathered in Leysin; the official venue for the freestyle-ski and freestyle-snowboard events of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2020. On the same day of the Athletes Council meeting, Leysin was hosting the 2017 edition of Leysathlon; an event that was created in 2012 for the regional population to try and compete in different sports.
The purpose of this meeting was to benefit from the experience of elite athletes in order to guarantee perfect living conditions for the young athletes competing at the Youth Games in 2020. In particular, the Athletes Council members have been invited to comment on the needs in terms of information provided when competing at an international sport event as well as on the way this information should be delivered.
Ian Logan, CEO of Lausanne 2020: “We are fortunate to have elite athletes from our region who are very much engaged for the Youth Olympic Games and ready to invest their time and energy to make these Games an unforgettable experience for the young athletes who will participate in 2020. We are spoiled! Their contribution has been of high quality."
Mathilde Gremaud, freestyle-ski champion, said: « I took part in the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer in Norway. I feel lucky to be able to draw from my personal experience to make the next edition even better. We want the Lausanne 2020 Games to be so well organised for the athletes that it would be difficult to do better in the future!”
Amongst the various speakers of the day, Gilbert Felli, former IOC director of the Olympic Games, exchanged views on the future of the Youth Olympic Games together with the Council members. In particular, he highlighted the historical innovations in the concept development of the Games which will be implemented in Lausanne 2020 for the first time. These innovations are based on three pillars: more athletes and therefore more performance, a perfect gender balance between female and male athletes and more innovative content for the sports programme.
Olivier Mutter, researcher for the University of Lausanne and responsible for the sustainability elements of Lausanne 2020’s “Learn & Share” programme, presented the initiatives related to the educational programme in which athletes will be invited to take part into in January 2020. In the future, the Athletes Council members will also be asked to share their views on this programme.
Stefanie Marty, member of the Swiss Ice Hockey team since 2003 and bronze medallist at the Sotchi Games in 2014 said: “The Athletes Council is an excellent initiative from the Lausanne 2020 organising committee. Contributing to enriching the experience of the young athletes competing in these next Games is extremely rewarding.” Same for Lucas Tramèr, Olympic gold-medallist in Rio 2016 who added: “A lot of factors come into play to perform well at the competition. The organisation must be perfect and nothing must be left to chance. The Lausanne 2020 team understood this by including different stakeholders into the discussion; including athletes.”
The Athletes Council meeting concluded with a meal at the Leysathlon’s "Table du Monde" and with an autograph session during which the athletes were able to interact with their fans.
In the back, from left to right: Lucas Tramèr, Adam Scholefield, Toni Wilhelm, Arnaud Guex, Ellen Sprunger, Augustin Maillefer
In front, from left to right: Jean-Romain Delaloye, Alexia Bonelli, Stefanie Marty, Elisa Perini, Mathilde Gremaud, Emilie Serain, Anne-Sophie Thilo