As a new wave of young athletes are welcomed to the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020, we look back on a hugely successful first week at the YOG.
The Winter YOG have reached the half-way mark. As the first set of young athletes begin to head home, what better time to evaluate the success of the Games so far, as a new wave of passionate and motivated young women and men enter the Youth Olympic Village ready for an unforgettable week in the home town of the Olympic Movement.
From day one, strong collaboration between the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Organising Committee and stakeholders has helped create Games that are run by young people, for young people. The YOG have given these athletes the platform not only to shine on the sporting stage, but also to have a voice through the various educational events held in the Village.
One such event is the popular Chat with Champions series, which this year has seen the likes of IOC President Thomas Bach, Canadian figure skating Olympic champion Patrick Chan and athletics world champion Dina Asher-Smith share their wisdom with the young athletes on a variety of important topics from global issues to sporting advice.
The Athlete Role Models (ARMs) have also been on hand to guide and inspire the young athletes – many of whom are competing at their first major international event – in whatever way they can, ensuring that the Olympic values are passed on to the next generation.
From media and medals to athletes and attendance, here are the key takeaways from the first week of the YOG.
- 32 medal events have been held to date, representing the YOG’s gender balance: 12 women’s, 12 men’s and 8 mixed gender.
- Host nation Switzerland secured the first gold medal of the YOG, courtesy of Amelie Klopfenstein in the women’s super-G.
Spectators and transport
- 170,000 spectators attended events by the end of 14 January, of whom 65,000 were visiting schoolchildren.
- More than 100,000 people attended events as part of the En Jeux! city festival.
- A total of 80,000 schoolchildren will experience the YOG and enjoy the En Jeux! festival, travelling via public transport as arranged by the Organising Committee.
- Most athletes, staff and spectators have used public transport to travel to the venues.
- The first wave of 1,039 athletes and officials left the Youth Olympic Village between 15 and 16 January.
- During the same period, the second wave of 1,137 athletes and officials arrived at the Village.
Records and firsts
- For the first time at the YOG, the speed skating event has been held on natural ice on the frozen Lake St Moritz – highlighting the IOC’s commitment to sustainability by adapting to local environments instead of building new venues.
- Lausanne 2020 is the first YOG in history to be held in two countries (Switzerland and France).
- 12 NOCs are making their Winter YOG debut at Lausanne 2020: Albania, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Haiti, Hong Kong, Kosovo, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, Turkmenistan and Trinidad & Tobago.
- Lausanne 2020 is the first gender-equal Winter YOG, with the same number of female and male young athletes competing.
- Lausanne 2020 will have the largest number of athletes compete at a Winter YOG – 1,872 – 40% more than at Lillehammer 2016.
- Lausanne 2020 has welcomed 79 NOCs to the Games – the largest number of NOCs in YOG history and eight more than at Lillehammer 2016.
- Five new events have been introduced at Lausanne 2020: women’s Nordic combined (individual normal hill/4km), women’s doubles luge, ice hockey mixed NOC 3x3, freeski big air and snowboard big air.
- Ski mountaineering has also been added as a new sport, with five events: women’s and men’s individual, women’s and men’s sprint and mixed NOC relay.
- The official Lausanne 2020 app has been downloaded almost 30,000 times and is the number-one sports app in Switzerland.
- More than 135,000 new followers across social media accounts.