Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne 2020: new sports, new talent, new Switzerland
After St Moritz back in 1928 and 1948, Switzerland is now set to host an Olympic event for the third time. The sixth Youth Olympic Games (YOG) will get under way shortly in Lausanne. Former IOC President Jacques Rogge is the inspiration behind the youth event which was launched in 2008. The YOG, which take place this year from 9–22 January, bring together the world's best athletes in the 15–18 age group to compete in 8 sports, 16 disciplines and 81 medal events.
Lausanne 2020: a stepping stone for young athletes
The YOG aim to give talented young athletes their first taste of the Olympics, with many participants going on to compete in the main Olympic Games.
The YOG also have the potential to educate by instilling the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence. A range of educational and cultural activities allow young athletes to gain valuable experience which they can leverage in their future careers, whether in sport or in other fields.
Although most events are based on the traditional Olympic Games, the YOG also features exciting new disciplines and formats that may possibly be added to the Olympic Games programme. One of these new sports is ski mountaineering, which is now included in the competition programme for the first time.
The legacy of Lausanne 2020
One of the aims of Lausanne 2020 is to create a lasting and positive legacy for future generations by placing the emphasis on sustainability before, during and after the games. Lausanne 2020 aims to leave a number of legacies:
The educational legacy of Lausanne 2020 is reflected in various projects to get local students, apprentices and school children involved in preparing and organising the Youth Olympic Games, giving them an active role both before and during the games. For example, Lausanne 2020 worked with a number of apprentices on creating the YOG mascot, icons and visual design. Students have been tasked with developing various approaches, for example to manage the YOG catering services or arrange accommodation.
The sporting legacy is self-evident: the Youth Olympic Games provide a great opportunity to invest in both competitive sport and 'sport for all' in a sustainable and intelligent way. To this end, Lausanne 2020 works in partnership with Swiss Olympic, national and international sporting federations and local sporting communities to set up projects for developing sport in Switzerland.
Infrastructure legacy: sustainability
Major sporting events often spark discussion on the sustainability of investments and the impact on the host region. From the outset, the organisers were committed to ensuring that YOG infrastructure would improve the lives of local communities once the games were over.
In adopting this approach, Lausanne 2020 has, for example, facilitated the development of major sports projects that will benefit local people for many years to come:
- Construction of the new Vaudoise Aréna ice rink in the Malley area of Lausanne, which seats 9,700 and will be available to the local ice hockey club and local community after the YOG. The World Ice Hockey Championships will also be held at the Vaudoise Aréna – just four months after the YOG.
- Upgrading and renovating the region's ski resorts, for example at Les Diablerets, where a new cable car and ski slope have been built in line with International Ski Federation (FIS) standards. A new snow park has also been created in Leysin, putting the resort back on the Swiss and world freestyle map.
- As a result of the YOG, a cross-border agreement was also signed with the Département du Jura in France, enabling the Swiss Nordic skiing teams to use the renovated facilities in Prémanon, France over the next 20 years. The YOG have also given a boost to Nordic sports in the Swiss Jura region of Vallée de Joux.
- Other notable legacies include the Youth Olympic Village in Lausanne and the famous 'Vortex' building on the University of Lausanne campus. The 'Vortex', which was built to house athletes during the YOG, will be converted into much-needed student accommodation once the games are over.
Lausanne 2020 is working to create an event that will leave its mark on a generation, not just by enabling young people around the globe to celebrate Olympic values, but also by reflecting Switzerland's long-term vision.
Further information on Lausanne 2020 is available at: www.lausanne2020.sport
All Lausanne 2020 competitive events are free! Free access to outdoor events when signing up for indoor events. You can sign up for indoor events here.
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