lausanne 2020 winter youth olympic games gets underway in olympic capital
Excitement reached fever pitch in the Olympic capital as more than 1,300 young elite athletes arrived in Switzerland for the start of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Youth athletes aged 15-18 are taking to the snow, slopes and rink for 13 days of adrenaline-fuelled action, each hoping to honour their country with a place on the podium. There is a notable buzz in the air as the excitement of competition has taken over Lausanne. Throughout the city, there are adverts and flags signifying the start of the Games, which promises to be an incredible celebration of youth sport, spreading the values of Olympism to 73 competing nations across 81 competitions.
GAISF President Raffaele Chiulli attended the Opening Ceremony on Thursday, and a number of GAISF staff are part of the 3,500-strong volunteers that are helping to stage the Games. Such was the popularity of the event that organisers had more than 7,000 applications from sports fans hoping to volunteer.
Lausanne 2020 is the first Olympic event that the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) is taking part in, with Ski Mountaineering making its debut on the sports programme. The other addition is women’s Nordic Combined, ensuring an equal number of events for men and women, with 34 events per gender. Lausanne 2020 is also a landmark moment for 12 National Olympic Committees, sending athletes to a Winter Youth Olympics for the very first time.
Organisers have reached out to local schools and youth clubs around the region and across Switzerland to encourage youth participation. Tickets to the events are free and it is estimated that over 70,000 children and 3,000 classes from the Canton de Vaud will attend as part of organised visits. An educational brochure has also been created, which encourages lessons on physics, maths, economics and art, using sport as examples.
As one of the first major events organisers to adopt the .sport domain name, Lausanne 2020 has continued to push the boundaries of innovation when it comes to hosting sports events. From athletes using the public transport systems, to collaborating with neighbouring country France so that existing infrastructure can be utilised, sustainability is at the heart of the Games. Organisers have also engineered a “two-wave” accommodation format to maximise the Athletes’ Village, which will be used as student accommodation following the event.
“This is an exciting moment for these young athletes, and an incredible opportunity to experience what life is like as an elite sportsperson,” President Chiulli said. “I would like to congratulate the organisers for the amazing job they have done here.
“For GAISF, it is exciting to see our Members come together to stage world class multi-sport events, and this is another fantastic showcase where the eyes of the world will be watching.
“I wish each and every athlete the best of luck for this unforgettable moment of their lives.”
On Tuesday, the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee honoured the late Lausanne 2020 LOC President Patrick Baumann at the Vortex Athletes’ Village.
The Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games takes place from 9-22 January. To find out more, please click here.