The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Coordination Commission concluded its first visit on Thursday to Lausanne, Switzerland – host city of the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2020.
The visit ended on a high note, with preparations deemed well under way after just over a year since the city was elected at the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur in July 2015.
The Coordination Commission convened after two days of debriefing and workshops at the University of Lausanne held between the Lillehammer 2016 organisers and Lausanne 2020, including various levels of government, the Swiss NOC and public authorities from the Swiss and French hosts.
“Lausanne 2020 has learnt from the success of Lillehammer 2016 and is putting the Swiss expertise in sport, education and innovation at the heart of the project to ensure the young participants will be motivated and inspired,” Commission Chair Danka Bartekova said.
“As a competing athlete and a former YOG Young Ambassador, I understand the special nature and potential of the YOG; and I am very excited about Lausanne’s vision and how it will leverage on its Olympic heritage to make this an unforgettable event.”
With broad experience in hosting winter sports events, the Lausanne 2020 organisers presented their Games Foundation Plan, which will use existing venues and draw upon expertise in both Switzerland and neighbouring France.
Previously planned city constructions will be used for the YOG, including the Youth Olympic Village; the new student accommodation for Lausanne University campus that will ensure all athletes and officials can be housed in one location; and a new ice hockey stadium in the heart of the city, which is scheduled to be delivered in time for use at the YOG.
Lausanne 2020 CEO Ian Logan has made great strides since his appointment in March to recruit a core team (average age <30), and has garnered the support of the Swiss NOC and National Federations, education authorities and cultural institutions nationwide.
The organisation has also appointed a youth and athlete council to provide guidance on sport, education and innovation.
The Culture and Education Programme presented initial plans to draw upon Lausanne’s prestigious education institutions including the UNIL and EPFL, in the development of the activities, and will engage the 35,000 students in fields of research and volunteering.
Some of the recommendations from the IOC YOG Tripartite Working Group approved by the IOC Session ahead of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 have been taken on board by Lausanne 2020, which is investigating the potential for further innovation and flexibility in the project.
Lausanne 2020 President, Patrick Baumann commented, “These are fascinating times for the Youth Olympic Games. Switzerland, as a strong winter sports nation, has everything it needs to organise fantastic Games.
"So our work now focuses on putting all these skills together to deliver not only a great event in 2020, but also one that can also push some of the innovations presented by the IOC at its last Session for the future of the Games. The excitement and anticipation that I see here around the project show that the future of the Youth Olympic Games is bright.”
CEO Ian Logan said “We have worked really hard over the last 12 months to lay the foundations of fantastic Games. The exchanges with the Coordination Commission and the Lillehammer 2016 team earlier this week have been extremely useful for us.
"We look forward to continuing to bring together the fantastic skills that we have in this country to build a great platform for the future of the Youth Olympic Games and for the benefit of young people.”
The 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games will take place between 10 and 19 January 2020.