Smart and sustainable solutions

Lausanne, January 22, 2019 - Two weeks after celebrating the ‘1 year to go’ milestone to Lausanne 2020, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Coordination Commission reconvened in the Olympic capital this week to provide assistance to the local organisers on the crucial 12-months ahead.

As a result of the close relationship between the Organising Committee, the IOC, the City of Lausanne, regional governments and IFs, Lausanne 2020 has capitalised on using existing world class venues and sustainable solutions in each sport throughout Switzerland and neighbouring France. From the frozen lake in St. Moritz for speed skating and the Nordic sports facilities in Les Tuffes, France. 

The Coordination Commission made several venue visits including two of the pre-existing city projects that will be used for the YOG; the Vortex, an architecturally impressive new student accommodation that will be used as the athletes’ village and the Malley ice rink, the new home for the Lausanne ice hockey club and will host the Opening Ceremony and ice hockey competitions. Both venues are well underway and on-track for delivery by November 2019.

Leysin, the Vaud Alps resort and host for the freestyle events as also visited, namely LeysinPark, the newly upgraded snowpark which now includes a 22ft halfpipe and will host the best freestylers in the world just a year from now. The venue will be tested out this coming weekend (25-27 January) for the FIS Freeski and Snowboard Junior World Championships 2019 and is part of the regional plan to become a leading centre of freestyle development in Switzerland.

The visit comes just ahead of the inauguration of the upgraded piste in neighbouring Les Diablerets, which, thanks to the catalyst of the YOG, has been FIS homologated to allow them to host international events for the first time in 30 years starting this month with the FIS Women’s Alpine Skiing European Cup.

Danka Bartekova, IOC Coordination Commission Chair said, “We are seeing Swiss efficiency at its best through Lausanne 2020. Smart and sustainable solutions combined with innovation has been a fundamental theme in this project from the outset. With just over one year to go we are confident that they will deliver a YOG that will have a big impact on the lives of young athletes.”

Virgine Faivre, the President of the Organising Committee said “Switzerland is a natural habitat for winter sports and we have kept this at the heart of our project, whether using natural resources or drawing upon the Swiss expertise. We want to put the best our country has to offer in terms of innovation, education and sports to inspire our youth here, and around the world. We want to be the start of something great for them in their career both on and off the field of play, and we were glad to be able to show this to the members of the commission over the last three days.”

Following the ground-breaking success of Buenos Aires 2018 which set new standards, Lausanne 2020 will also lead the way by bringing new events to the programme such as ski mountaineering, hockey 3x3 and women’s double luge, to name a few. New concepts will also be tested like two waves of athletes approach that will ensure more elite young athletes are impacted and are able to compete at the Games, and of course, ensuring gender equality for the first time in Winter Olympic history with equal numbers of male and female athletes.

Lausanne 2020 was also able to present the multitude of activities it is undertaking with local schools, universities and colleges to ensure the Games is by young people.  For example, Yodli, the recently launched Mascot and ‘the look of the Games’ have been developed by students and chosen by athletes.  The Lausanne Music School is tasked with creating the official music of the Games, and the world-renowned Lausanne Hotel School (Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne) is very active in the development of the volunteer programme and nutrition concept for the athletes.

The Commission were also impressed with the integration of Swiss Olympic in the project who are leveraging on the Youth Olympic Games opportunity in many of their youth sport development and schools programmes. The City of Lausanne also presented its plan to produce a festival in the heart of the city in partnership with Lausanne 2020.

Since the inaugural YOG in 2010 the event model has been one of co-construction between the IOC and the organising committee to ensure it always remains relevant to young athletes and audiences. Virgine Faivre commented on the close proximity to the IOC in the Olympic Capital in supporting this method, “The youth Olympic Games project is one that is, by definition, in constant evolution to stay relevant. It is an event for the youth, by the youth. This requires a careful co-construction by the organisers with the IOC and our stakeholders. We are testing new ideas and concepts at every level of the organisation, and this very positive for the future.” 

The Lausanne 2020 Youth Games will take place from 9 to 22 January 2020 with 1,800 athletes (15-18 years old) from more than 80 countries. The competitions will take place in the Cantons of Vaud (Lausanne, La Vallée de Joux, Leysin, Les Diablerets, Villars), Valais (Champéry), Grisons (St. Moritz), and neighbouring France (Prémanon-Les Tuffes).