3’000 schoolchildren gather to celebrate Lausanne 2020

Today, 3’000 students between the ages of 10 and 15 were gathered at Stade Pierre-de-Coubertin, made available by the city of Lausanne for the occasion, just a few metres away from the International Olympic Committee’s headquarters in Lausanne, the Olympic House, to celebrate and raise awareness about the upcoming Winter Youth Olympic Games. This unique event was organised by the Canton of Vaud, the Prefectoral Corps and the Department of Education in collaboration with the City of Lausanne, Lausanne Region and Lausanne 2020.

An extraordinary gathering took place today at the Stade Pierre-de-Coubertin. Over 3,000 students and 400 guests were reunited to represent and celebrate the Canton of Vaud around the theme “One Lausanne 2020 flag in each municipality of Vaud”. For this event, each municipality was invited to come to Lausanne with one representative of their Municipality and to nominate two students to bring their municipal flag to this ceremony and to return home with the Lausanne 2020 flag. A total of 612 students participated in this symbolic exchange. A celebration was then organised in each municipality to raise the Lausanne 2020 flag.

From left to right: Grégoire Junod, Mayor of the City of Lausanne, Philippe Leuba, State Councillor of the Canton of Vaud, Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, Virginie Faivre, President of Lausanne 2020 and Cesla Amarelle, Head of the Department of Education, Youth and Culture of the Canton of Vaud. ©Keystone-ATS

One of the highlights of this celebration consisted in a choreography performed by 2020 students from 17 schools across Vaud. Seen from the sky, the students arranged themselves to represent the borders of the canton of Vaud within the stadium. The show was then followed by speeches from Virginie Faivre, President of Lausanne 2020, Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, Grégoire Junod, Mayor of Lausanne, Cesla Amarelle, Head of the Department of Education, Youth and Culture of the Canton of Vaud and Philippe Leuba, State Councillor of the Canton of Vaud.

The Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Flame also made a surprise appearance, brought to the stadium by four young athletes, just a few days before the torch leaves for its journey around Switzerland.

Cesla Amarelle, Head of the Department of Education, Youth and Culture of the Canton of Vaud: “I am proud of the way schools, teachers and students have taken ownership of Lausanne 2020. Young people from Vaud will be able to experience the games not only in the competition venues but also in classrooms, workshops, exhibitions or sports initiations - and always with an educational content that produced specifically for the occasion. These will be true life experiences for the students.”

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Etienne Roy, Prefect of the Jura-Nord district of Vaud: “The prefects of Vaud support the Youth Olympic Games, which is why they are keen to see a Lausanne 2020 flag displayed in each municipality of the canton to remind the residents of Vaud of this magnificent event to come.”

Grégoire Junod, Mayor of the City of Lausanne: "Gathering all the municipalities of Vaud and their schoolchildren here in Lausanne, the host city of these games, is a highly symbolic moment. It also reflects the city's desire for this unique event to leave a legacy in terms of sports and culture.”

Thomas Bach, President of the IOC: “To you, the youth: enjoy this unique experience. Seeing the Youth Olympic Games at home is an incredible opportunity. One you will remember for a lifetime. These are your Games. So be both actors and spectators. Participate, come and encourage all these athletes!”

Virginie Faivre, President of Lausanne 2020: "It is simply magnificent to see the Youth Olympic Games come to life in this way, through the young people of our region. Our thanks go directly to the organizers of the event, the State of Vaud and the City of Lausanne for their support. Thank you all for this magical moment, which I am sure will remain in our memories for a long time.”

Photo: ©Keystone-ATS