What's new at Lausanne 2020?
The Winter Youth Olympic Games are just a few months away and there is already PLENTY to get excited for.
There's almost a sense of the Games coming home, with host city Lausanne - the Olympic capital - also being the home of the International Olympic Committee. Crowds around the Swiss Alps will be kept enthralled by new disciplines, mixed team events and many other exciting new programme adaptions. Here are the new features to watch out for at Lausanne 2020.
New sports and innovation
Several new sports and disciplines have been approved for the Lausanne 2020 programme, the most radical of which is ski mountaineering. The vertigo-inducing event involves scaling mountains on skis (or carrying them depending on the difficulty of the climb), before skiing back down. Elsewhere, new disciplines have been introduced to reflect innovation and achieve full gender equality among the 1880 competing athletes. These include a women's doubles luge competition and Nordic combined ski event. Be sure also to keep an eye on the new mixed-nationality 3x3 ice hockey too. "The confirmed event programme means full gender balance the first time at a Winter Olympic event, with the highest number of women's events and women ever competing at the Winter YOG," said an IOC statement.
Crossing the border
Lausanne 2020's venues will be spread out over the whole of Switzerland, and to France. Lausanne will host the Youth Olympic village, medal ceremonies, and ice hockey, short track speed skating and figure skating. Alpine skiing, ski mountaineering, freestyle skiing and snowboarding will take place in the Vaud Alps, while curling will be held in Champery. Cross-country skiing will be in the Vallee de Joux, with Les Tuffes in neighbouring France playing host to ski jumping, biathlon and Nordic combined. And St Moritz, home to the infamous Cresta Run where skeleton was held in both the 1928 and 1948 Olympic Winter Games, will stage bobsleigh, skeleton, luge and speed skating.
The shiny, new VORTEX building at the University of Lausanne will host the Olympic Village, and will be re-purposed to provide accommodation for 1,100 students afterwards. The Espace Malley venue is being redeveloped with a new Olympic swimming pool, 9,700-capacity ice rink, table tennis and fencing facilities - all of which will be accessible to local athletes free of charge for 20 years. After YOG 2020 it will be the new home to Lausanne Hockey Club, as well as host matches during the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships. The picturesque frozen lake of St. Moritz is set to host the speed skating competitions. Many future Winter Youth Winter Olympians may start their journey right here!
Faivre to implement Baumann's vision
Patrick Baumann's sudden death in Buenos Aires last October left an irreplaceable hole in the Olympic movement. As well as being secretary-general of basketball's global governing body FIBA, Baumann was President of the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee and responsible for many of the Games' innovations. After his passing, a poignant 'Message to Patrick' was posted on the Lausanne 2020 website. "In January 2020, it will be our great pride to deliver the most beautiful sports festival, the one we imagined together. You can count on us." Three-time world ski halfpipe champion Virginie Faivre has been announced as Baumann's successor having worked with her fellow Swiss since before Lausanne was awarded the Games in Kuala Lumpur in July 2015.
"It is a great honour, of course, but above all a great joy for me to participate in the organisation of this great event, which is very dear to me. Together with Patrick, I helped lay the foundations of the project during the Candidature Phase. Beyond competition, the aim of the Youth Olympic Games is also to pass on skills to the new generation. These Games must create vocations and a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst young people.", says Virginie Faivre.