Lausanne 2020 gearing up for a nationwide Youth Olympic sport celebration
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission concluded two days of meetings with the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee (L2020) on preparations for the third edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which will ensure a celebration of sport in eight host locations.
Major steps have been taken to implement an exciting sports programme with break-through sports and disciplines added. Strong relationships have been forged by L2020 with the International Federations to integrate the sports and disciplines that will be included on the programme, such as ski mountaineering, big air, mixed NOC 3x3 ice hockey, women's Nordic combined and women's doubles in luge.
With the high levels of support and collaboration from the host towns and cities spread across the region, the nation and neighbouring France, the organisers will ensure not only elite competitions, but also a youth sports festival in each location, based on the Olympic values.
As part of the two-day programme, the Commission members visited two venues in the Jura region. On the French side, Les Tuffes will host ski jumping, Nordic combined and biathlon, and in Switzerland the Vallée de Joux will host cross country skiing. The Commission members also visited Les Diablerets, host resort for Alpine skiing, and one of the three sites in the Vaud Alps, together with Leysin and Villars.
The Commission listened to very positive reports about the two main construction projects started since its last visit that are on track for the new student accommodation and the Malley ice centre in Lausanne. They will be used respectively for the Youth Olympic Village and the ice hockey, figure skating and short-track speed skating competitions and constitute key legacy projects for the region.
The Commission also welcomed the involvement of young people to support the Games organisation in areas such as digital strategy (HEC Lausanne), brand design (Ecole Romande d'Arts et Communication), food and beverage concept (Lausanne Ecole Hotelière), and athletes' experience ("Innokick" – Masters students in innovation for product and business development). L2020 also enjoys close collaboration with the local university (UNIL and EPFL) to develop some of the core educational activities for participating athletes. In addition, youth, innovation and athletes' councils have been appointed as consultative groups for the organisers.
In collaboration with the IOC and the International Federations, L2020 has quickly put in place plans to pioneer two distinct competition periods at the YOG. This will ensure that more athletes can take part in the Youth Olympic Games without increasing the cost or complexity for the organisers, but ensuring a stronger impact on the young elite athletes' development pathway by allowing more athletes by NOC to take part in each event and further increasing the levels of competition.
IOC Coordination Commission Chair Danka Bartekova said: "Lausanne 2020 has worked efficiently in the last six months to implement some ground-breaking decisions around the Youth Olympic Games. In doing so, it is paving the way for the future YOG editions that will have a big impact on young elite athletes." She continued, "To see so many young people involved in the project is very encouraging. It is the vision for the YOG to be designed by young people, and Lausanne 2020 is making this a reality."
Ahead of the Commission visit, Alpine skiing Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn, who has supported the YOG since the inaugural edition, was announced as the first Lausanne 2020 YOG Ambassador in St Moritz, where she was competing in the FIS World Cup. St Moritz will re-use its Olympic legacy to host luge, bobsleigh and skeleton, while its frozen lake will be used for speed skating.
With public transport key to the movement of athletes, officials, members and spectators during the Games, L2020 took the opportunity of the IOC Coordination Commission visit to inaugurate a Lausanne 2020-branded metro carriage.
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