A colourful Closing Ceremony in Lausanne’s Flon area featured stunning performances by local youth, along with the extinguishing of the Olympic flame and the ceremonial flag handover to the next Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) host.
On 22 January, the curtain came down on an unforgettable two weeks of youth sports and culture, with a vibrant Closing Ceremony that celebrated the athletes, volunteers and young people from the Canton of Vaud who have made Lausanne 2020 such a spectacular event.
Fittingly, the Closing Ceremony took place in the Medal Plaza in the Flon district of Lausanne, which has attracted an average of 2,000 spectators each evening to celebrate the achievements of the young athletes at the medal ceremonies. And just like every other aspect of these YOG, local youth were at the heart of it.
The Ceremony began with the traditional Athletes’ Parade, which involved more than 900 athletes and flagbearers from 76 National Olympic Committees (NOCs). It gave the “Game Changers” a final chance to celebrate their achievements here in the Olympic Capital, before a score of talented young local performers took to the stage.
Among those starring in the ensuing choreography were 35 children with a disability between the ages of 5 and 22, all from the Vaud region and performing under the guidance of Sport-Up, a Swiss foundation based in Lausanne that promotes inclusion within sport. Their impressive show highlighted the Olympic values and reflected the fact that social inclusion has been a guiding principle of the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee, which has used the “En Jeux!” festivities as a social development tool for young people throughout the YOG.
Lausanne 2020 would not have been possible without the 3,800 volunteers, who were then recognised on stage through a presentation by five athletes from each of the five continents, before IOC President Thomas Bach and Lausanne 2020 President Virginie Faivre gave their respective closing speeches.
After President Bach declared the 3rd Winter YOG closed and called on the youth of the world to assemble again in four years’ time in the Republic of Korea, the flag was passed on to two young representatives of Lausanne: Marie Krista and Valerio Jud, who starred in Villars by each winning two gold medals, in ski cross and snowboard cross respectively. They then handed the flag over to two young representatives of the 2024 Winter YOG host, Gangwon: Whi Min Seo and Jang Sung-woo, who have won multiple medals in short-track speed skating at Lausanne 2020.
After a final appearance from Lausanne 2020 mascot Yodli, who has been such a vibrant and popular presence at these YOG, a slackline artist made an entrance from up high and used snowflakes to extinguish the Olympic flame, bringing a symbolic end to the Games. But the Youth Olympic Cauldron, which has been burning brightly in the Flon area for the past two weeks, will be left as a legacy to the City of Lausanne and serve as a reminder of how the city came together for two weeks in January 2020 for an unforgettable celebration of winter sports and youth culture.
The Closing Ceremony climaxed with a mesmerising performance from young parkour athletes, while spectators had the bonus of a free concert immediately afterwards by former ice hockey player and renowned Lausanne-born singer Bastian Baker. Meanwhile, in recognition of their outstanding role in the preparation and delivery of the YOG, President Bach awarded the Olympic Cup to the population of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud – a fitting tribute to a YOG that was truly made for local youth, by them and with them.