Lausanne had a taste of the Games-time party atmosphere last night in the Flon area, in the square that will be the Medals Plaza for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) which kick off in exactly one year’s time.
With fresh snow falling on the Olympic Capital, fans were entertained by Olympic snowboarder and musician Pat Burgener and students from the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne, while newly unveiled mascot Yodli danced with the crowds.
Free ice skating, St Bernard dogs and traditional Swiss food were enjoyed by guests and public alike, along with the chance for autographs with local ice hockey stars, before the big moment when the OMEGA countdown clock displayed exactly 365 days to go at 20.20.
Lausanne 2020 used the occasion to promote the first of its many collaborations with the city's schools and academic institutions, ensuring the Games are truly “by young people, for young people”. Yodli, the official mascot of the Games, made its first public appearance, having been unveiled the previous evening at the Malley ice rink before the Swiss Ice Hockey Championship match between Lausanne Hockey Club and Hockey Club Davos from the Grisons region.
Virginie Faivre, Swiss freestyle ski world champion and the new President of the YOG Organising Committee, said: “The empowerment of young people through the organisation and delivery of the event is a central element of Lausanne 2020.”
The Lausanne 2020 Youth Games will take place from 9 to 22 January 2020 and will be the first Winter Olympic event to be gender equal, with 1,800 athletes (15-18 years old) from more than 80 countries. The competitions will take place in the Cantons of Vaud (Lausanne, Leysin, Les Diablerets, Villars, Vallée de Joux), Valais (Champéry) and Grisons (St Moritz), and neighbouring France (Prémanon-Les Tuffes).