The Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Flame lit in Athens

Today, a traditional lighting ceremony was held in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece to light the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Flame. With a team of representatives from the Olympic movement and the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee, including Virginie Faivre – President Lausanne 2020, Jürg Stahl – President Swiss Olympic, Ian Logan – CEO Lausanne 2020, Pascal Bitschnau – Swiss Athlete in Snowboard Cross, Sydney Berta – Swiss Athlete in Ice Hockey and Danka Bartekova – IOC Coordination Commission Chair, this strong delegation were present for this momentous event which marks one of the most symbolic milestones in the lead up to the next Winter Youth Olympic Games.

The torch lighting ceremony preceding any Olympic torch relay is one of the most symbolic Olympic events. Today, it was Lausanne 2020’s turn to step into the spotlight as its Olympic flame was lit, marking the beginning of its journey from Athens, Greece to Lausanne, Switzerland. During today’s ceremony, a crowd of 1’400 kids from local schools as well as representatives from the Hellenic Olympic Committee watched on as the flame was lit using the rays of the sun, as was done for the ancient Olympic Games. The ignited flame will now make its way back to Switzerland where it will start its Torch Tour journey and continuously keep burning until the Opening Ceremony of the Lausanne 2020 Games on January 9thwhen it will light the cauldron of the Games.

As the Youth Olympic Flame makes its way back to Switzerland it will arrive in Geneva via the Geneva International Airport where it will then head to the City of Lausanne. During the first ever bi-national Youth Olympic Games, the torch will depart from the Olympic Capital on September 21stfor a 110-day journey where it will visit each of the 26 Swiss cantons and Les Tuffes in France, bringing the Olympic spirit to local populations. The Torch Tour, which will include interactive activities for kids as well as an exciting programme about the Lausanne 2020 Games themselves topped by a ceremonial torch lighting by special guests including Swiss Olympians.

Danka Bartekova, IOC Coordination Commission Chair, said: “This Youth Olympic flame will inspire the amazing athletes training hard for Lausanne 2020 as well as young fans all over the world. It’s journey around Switzerland will also help to highlight and celebrate all that Switzerland has to offer and the talented young people involved in the preparations. It is an honour to be part of this journey and bring the flame back to the Olympic capital.”

Virginie Faivre, President of Lausanne 2020, said: “This is an important moment for Lausanne 2020, for the City of Lausanne, the Canton of Vaud and our entire country. This has been a journey four years in the making. Since 2015 when Lausanne 2020 was selected as host of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, we have been working very hard to create a unique games. A games for the youth, by the youth and with the youth. Today, we are not only lighting the Olympic Flame, but we are lighting the Olympic spirit of a whole new generation of young people in Switzerland and around the world.”

Jurg Stahl, President of Swiss Olympic, said: “We are incredibly proud to be taking the Youth Olympic Flame to Switzerland, today represents a great moment in our Olympic history. We are honoured to be housing this great Olympic symbol for the next four months and being able to share the spirit of Olympism with the youth of our country.”

Pascal Bitschnau, commented: “It is so incredible to be involved in building a Games that is focused on the needs of young athletes – I think we are working on creating something really unique and special.” Sydney Berta added: “To see the flame being lit for our Games gives a sense of realness, I can’t wait for all of Switzerland to come out and celebrate the Youth Olympic Games this Winter!”

Footage and photos

Photos of the ceremony are available via Keystone.

Raw video edits and a social media package are available upon request.

About the Lausanne 2020 Torch Tour

For the full calendar of Torch Tour please go to www.lausanne2020.sport/en/torch-tour

#Lausanne2020 #TorchTour are the official hashtags of the Torch Tour around Switzerland. Please use these hashtags in all posts from and about the event and please tag @Lausanne2020 whenever you share a Story on Instagram.

Animated gifs for the Lausanne 2020 Torch Tour and for each discipline on the Lausanne 2020 programme can be found on Giphyand natively on Instagram if you search for «Lausanne 2020». Feel free to use these animated pictograms widely in your social media posts.

And finally, please follow @Lausanne2020 on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube as well as on TikTok and Snapchat @YOGLausanne2020.

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