With the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020 now in full swing, olympic.org highlights how employees of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are lending a helping hand to the Organising Committee.
Hosting the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 would be impossible without the tireless efforts of the 3,800 volunteers who help make them a success.
And among those looking to offer their time during the Games there are employees of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who wanted to be involved in the event taking place in the Olympic Capital itself.
The IOC is granting staff four days of leave to volunteer for Lausanne 2020, as part of a training and development programme that was first launched for the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016.
“The IOC wants to offer its employees the opportunity to be part of the unique experience of the Youth Olympic Games,” explains Xavier Tissières, Director of Human Resources at the IOC. “We are convinced that it is a win-win situation: on the one hand, this is a great source of pride for all of our employees to be part of an edition of the YOG that will take place in their hometown; and, on the other hand, the organisation will benefit from that on-the-field-of-play experience, because its employees were part of the delivery of the event and will know how to better perform in their function.”
Jocelin Sebastiani, who works at the Olympic Studies Centre, is among those taking advantage of the initiative to offer his time to Lausanne 2020. He is in charge of welcoming spectators, school children and athlete ambassadors at the Yodli Park in front of the Vaudoise Arena.
“I wanted to volunteer to live the event from the inside, to meet new people and to share my Olympic experience. My objective was also to better understand the work and challenges of an Organising Committee,” he explains. “It’s also great to give back to the Games what they gave me when I was a child. Indeed, I was lucky to participate in the flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia and in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Albertville 1992.”
Another example is Marianne Niquille, HR Business Partner, who welcomed the teams at Geneva Airport.
“I seized this opportunity to discover what is behind the delivery of the Youth Olympic Games to better understand the daily work of my colleagues coordinating the Games. It highlights the incredible work they are doing, often in the shadows.”
In parallel to these volunteering opportunities, the IOC, in collaboration with the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee, also launched a secondment programme. Ten IOC employees were seconded to Lausanne 2020 in the last few months before the start of the event, to give their support in areas such as operations, branding, organisation of ceremonies and volunteer recruitment. This continuous learning opportunity reinforces the skills of IOC employees and supports them in acquiring knowledge in new areas to grow in their function. In return, the Organising Committee benefits from the experience, network and knowledge of the IOC employees.
One of them is Nicolas Rogemond who is supporting the Organising Committee as Youth Olympic Village Operations Manager. Using his experience as Olympic House Programme Manager from the beginning of the project to the inauguration, he is overseeing security, logistics and facility management.
“Moving temporarily from the IOC to the Organising Committee enabled me to see operations and challenges from another perspective. It is a unique experience to be at the heart of the Youth Olympic Village and to be in constant contact with the athletes.”
With Lausanne being the home of the Olympic Movement, there are many other organisations in the city that have been offering their employees similar opportunities, including more than 10 International Federations such as the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), which grants staff five additional days of leave to volunteer at events such as the Lausanne 2020 YOG.
Nicole Sigrist, who works in the FEI’s Communications Department, shares her experience. “I am having different missions throughout my volunteering time at Lausanne 2020 to have a good overview of the operations. Helping serve dinner to volunteers, I could witness their enthusiasm and passion. I also helped run a demo stand at the ski mountaineering venue with the Swiss Alpine Club. What a day: I walked 10,000 steps and could share the passion of sport with three classes of teenagers that came to the venue to discover this new sport on the programme. I am grateful to have had this opportunity!”
Ségolène Rouillon, Office Manager at the World Air Sports Federation (FAI), is also amongst those who decided to be part of the Games. “It is an opportunity to be at the heart of the organisation of an Olympic event whose magnitude exceeds that of the events we organise at the FAI,” she explains. “I feel fortunate to be working at the Youth Olympic Village and to be in contact with all the delegations, all these different sports; and it is impressive to have a dialogue with athletes so young, but of an already exceptional sporting level!” she added.