Two months after taking office, what can you tell us about the progress of the Lausanne 2020 project?
Virginie Faivre (VF), President of the Organising Committee Lausanne 2020 : The first thing to mention is the truly impressive size that the project has already managed to reach. This is not always visible from the outside, but the way in which Lausanne 2020 has expanded in all areas over the past three years is fantastic. From day one, our project has been focused on allowing the actors to take ownership of the event and use it for their future development. In schools in particular, the number of initiatives aimed at raising awareness among children and adolescents of the values that sport conveys is tremendous. Everywhere, whether it be at host sites, among our partners, in cultural institutions, projects are being developed or are in preparation. I am very happy to see that the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games is inspiring so many people. I would like to congratulate our CEO Ian Logan and his entire team for the tremendous work they are accomplishing.
This winter, a large number of test events are taking place at all host sites. How are they going?
VF : Very well. Strong event-hosting skills already exist everywhere, and we are now preparing ourselves at an even higher level for the requirements of an international event with incredible visibility. This is another aspect of which I am very proud: the acquisition and strengthening of skills, not only at the organisational level of the teams on site, but also and of course of our young athletes. To see, for example, how the Vaud Alps or the Vallée de Joux are being strengthened and are, once again, becoming leaders in the Swiss sports training scene, is brilliant. To see a new sport like ski mountaineering, for which we have a lot of skills here, entering the Youth Olympic Program is a huge opportunity for our athletes. I am talking about Switzerland, which I obviously know best, but this is the case everywhere else: hundreds of young people are training today all over the world with a dream in mind, Lausanne 2020. I would also like to sincerely thank the host sites and all those who are working tirelessly to host the Games in less than a year. Their dedication is precious and essential to the success of the Games.
So the legacy of Lausanne 2020 is already visible?
VF : My answer is yes without any hesitation. The impact of Lausanne 2020 is already being felt everywhere and it will only increase through time. But I really think the snowball effect is happening. When 800 students from an Epalinges school perform a show on Olympism six nights in a row, which will be the case next month, that’s a lot of parents and friends who leave with a certain idea in mind of what sport and its positive values can create. When an image of our snow-covered peaks travels around the world because a ski star says he is delighted with Lausanne 2020 on social networks – the impacts are strong. We can be pleased about that.