"Enjoy the Games as much as possible"

CoCom's last visit to Lausanne was in December 2017. How have you seen Lausanne 2020 evolve since then? What was the main progress made in the last year?

Danka Bartekova (DB), Coordination Commission Chair : We're now in the phase when the Games take the real shape. Everything gets tangible, we all now have a clear picture of how the Games will look like, we could see the constructions moving to the delivery phase and refurbishments of some venues being finalised. I am happy to see how passionate the growing Lausanne 2020 team are too and that passion and enthusiasm is spreading. And I am particularly impressed about the presence of Lausanne 2020’s activations at many competitions, local events and in schools in order to raise awareness and spread excitement. This is exactly what the Games should be about, engaging young people.

We are one year away from the Games. What are the main elements that the YOGOC still have to work on for the Games?

DB : There's of course a lot to do in the coming year but it's very motivating to see the progress. The next few months will be crucial in planning the delivery the Games that will be extraordinary on and off the field of play. The Lausanne 2020 project has leveraged on having world-class existing venues with very experienced management teams available. Now the focus should be on how to unify them under the umbrella of one multisport event under the five rings. Another focus should be on a good communication both with all the stakeholders and public - to inform, promote and raise awareness across whole country to engage with the sport fans. And of course, there is a great importance on having a detailed vision and plan on how the operation of the Games will be done.

What are you looking forward to seeing in 2020? What are you most excited about?

DB : The Youth Olympic Games in 2020 will be fantastic! I can't wait to enjoy the atmosphere in the Youth Olympic Village where all the athletes will live together technically all under one roof in a newly built Vortex (which will serve as a student housing after the Games will be over). Venues will be amazing and I believe the atmosphere there will remind us the passion Swiss people have for winter sport. And I am looking forward to see all the tangible outcomes of the student involvement - students from universities in Lausanne have been working on the project alongside with the Organising committee from the outset and will serve as a great legacy in the region. Lastly, I believe the athletes competing in St. Moritz will have a unique and unforgettable Olympic experience there and I can't wait to visit them. 

Do you have any special wishes for the young athletes who will be participating in the Games?

DB : Winter Youth Olympic Games are truly special. Of course it's going to be a great competition with elite young athletes participating. However the YOG have a special atmosphere. They will offer all the participants to take part in the educational  activities, get to know other young athletes from other sports, share the excitement with local public and learn about Olympism and Olympic values. My only recommendation for all the athletes is to give their best on the field of play to inspire whole generation of young fans, but at the same time enjoy the Games as much as possible, have fun, learn as much as they'll be able to and share their excitement with friends, families, communities. That's when we'll know that the Youth Olympic Games completed their mission.

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Photo: ©Keystone/Jean-Christophe Bott