Lausanne 2020 Youth Empowerment

Lausanne 2020 Youth Empowerment

©OIS/Jed Leicester
  • Olympic City: Lausanne
  • Country: Switzerland
  • Edition of the Games: Home of the IOC since 1915, 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games

Description of the Project

Games created for the youth, by the youth and with the youth

The Lausanne 2020 YOG has always had the ambition to promote youth and develop talent and has set its sights on actively involving them in the organisation of the Games. The youth empowerment programme was conceived as a key element of commitment, which is necessary to ensure popular success.

This first commitment was therefore the centrepiece of Lausanne 2020’s operation. This resulted in the unprecedented activation of academic partners at all levels of education, public and private, allowing for the involvement of the youth not only on the field of the Games (the athletes), but also outside, where thousands of schoolchildren and students participated in the actual making of the project.

Ultimately, the involvement of youth in and around the Games is widely cited as one of the key elements in the popular success of Lausanne 2020. It was one of the central elements of the Lausanne 2020 communication strategy, which aimed to show the importance of the YOG as a vehicle for education.

As Virginie Faivre, President of Lausanne 2020 confirms, “It is simply magnificent to see the Youth Olympic Games come to life thanks to the young people of our region. Since the beginning of the Lausanne 2020 adventure, over 130,000 students have been involved in the organization of the Games – Games created for the youth, by the youth and with the youth.”

Lausanne en Jeux! Festival: the youth at the heart of the city

Featuring 8 city sites, 300+ activities, 18 sport initiations, many food and beverage spots, and more, the Lausanne en Jeux! Festival brought the worlds of sport and culture together through an exciting programme of events along with sports initiations, workshops, exhibitions, concerts and shows, all of which were open to the general public. They took place in the heart of Lausanne, highlighted by a special set-up in the city centre, and in many cultural venues across Lausanne as well.

Among the highlights of the festival was BodyCity – an original show combining video mapping, music, dance and urban sports, which told the story of the relationship between the city and the younger generation. The show featured 50 young artists and athletes, highlighting local art schools and sport performances, performed on a unique 300m2 skatepark in the Place Centrale, converted into a stage for the occasion. The 5 performances of the show attracted more than 11’000 people.

A variety of workshops covered activities such as skiing, curling, skeleton, street art and video game design, with professional instructors delivering programmes tailor-made for young people. The wide range of exhibitions included a special display at the Lausanne Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (MUDAC), which highlighted the cultural and social history of sports shoes. The eSpace Arlaud museum was transformed into a video games and digital fair play experience.

In total, the Lausanne en Jeux! Festival encompassed more than 300 events and brought together some 200’000 visitors/participants. Access to workshops, sports initiations, concerts and the BodyCity show were completely free of charge, offering a unique opportunity for young people to learn about winter sports and the connections between culture and sport.

The project was a means for Lausanne’s inhabitants and visitors to (re)discover the City and its many positive aspects, places, and opportunities. It was also a unifying project for the people involved in the conception, implementation and achievement such as City employees, students and volunteers.

As Grégoire Junod, Mayor of Lausanne said a few months after the Games, “The Olympic Capital is a city of sport and culture. The Youth Olympic Games were an opportunity to bring this together, resulting in this wonderful festival of sport and culture. Since then, the world has changed, but these Games have shown us that we need to live and enjoy shared emotions together.”

Winter YOG Athlete Ambassadors

As an integral element of previous YOGs, athlete ambassadors were present at venues, at ceremonies and around the village to mentor and enrich the overall experience for the young athletes. There were 14 Lausanne 2020 athlete ambassadors, including French Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Cristobal Huet, Swiss ski cross star Fanny Smith and French Nordic combined Olympic champion Jason Lamy-Chappuis. “The goal of Lausanne 2020 is to reveal talent, create synergies, involve thousands of young people and put together a true celebration,” said Virginie Faivre, President of the YOG Organising Committee.
To promote the Olympic spirit throughout Switzerland and neighbouring France, Lausanne 2020 brought together a pool of high-level Olympic athletes who hold and endorse Olympic values, and who inspire the next generation of athletes. During the Games, these athletes acted as Ambassadors and shared their experience with the young athletes. Lausanne 2020 and Paris 2024 collaborated on this very topic of youth engagement, with French school children invited to Lausanne’s Olympic Museum to meet and converse with Olympians.

Rooted in Lausanne 2020’s drive to foster a renewed ownership of the Olympic values among local youth, it’s fair to say that the idea of YOG “for youth, by youth and with youth” became a reality at this third edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games.


Empowering, inspiring and engaging youth was the central mission of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games. The ambition was to value and empower youth by enabling them to become ambassadors of the positive values of sport, to acquire new talents and to achieve fulfillment by becoming tomorrow’s leaders. This could be achieved by making the YOG a laboratory of innovation, an incubator of ideas for the youth by the youth, and by drawing on Switzerland’s unique heritage and assets in terms of education, culture and innovation.

Celebrate Olympism and its Values

The third edition of the Winter YOG brought together nearly 1,880 athletes between the ages of 15 and 18, with a perfect balance of 33 events for each gender.

What better ambassadors than youth athletes to promote and celebrate Olympic values with the youth of Lausanne, the country, and the world? The Youth Olympic Games are not just about sport – they are also about bringing together young athletes from across the globe and enabling them to create friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. The Lausanne 2020 motto, “Start now”, was conceived as an encouragement for young people around the world to pursue their dreams.

Develop human capital and generate social cohesion

The Olympic Games are an opportunity to develop skills and know-how and to incorporate these benefits into society at large. The Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) were acclaimed for several innovative concepts, one of them being the significant involvement of young people in the preparation and delivery of the event. Around 130,000 students from local schools, colleges and universities contributed their talents towards making the 3rd Winter YOG a success.

Their achievements and contributions to the Games include the following:

  • the Olympic cauldron, the medal trays as well as the podiums were all designed by students from ECAL, the Art School of Lausanne, and produced by apprentices at the EDC Construction School and C-FOR (Lausanne Utilities Training Centre);
  • the mascot, pictograms and the visual identity of Lausanne 2020 were created by students from ERACOM, a regional school for art and communications;
  • students from the cantonal engineering school HEIG helped to develop the Olympic cauldron’s eco-friendly flame combustion system;
  • the official Games’ song and the music for the awards ceremonies were composed by students from Lausanne’s music academy (HEMU);
  • students from EHL, one of the most renowned hotel schools globally, studied the benefits of sports nutrition, with specific focus on a personalised approach towards nutrition that athletes can use during the Youth Olympic Games. During the Games, these students were located at the Vortex centre, where the 1,880 athletes slept and ate, in order to share their expertise on nutrition;
  • another group of EHL students worked on various programmes for the YOG volunteers in order to enhance their experience;
  • students from another local school (HESSO) and from EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) worked on temporary modular spaces that could be set up at the competition sites in order to provide certain services and to expand the educational experience at those venues;
  • EPFL students studied the transportation methods and housing to be used for the Olympic athletes in order to help optimise organisational aspects;
  • Students also assisted in delivering a comprehensive educational programme for the YOG athletes, developed jointly by the Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and EPFL.
  • Schoolchildren decorated the Olympic Village with drawings cantered on the theme of the Olympics.




Figures speak for themselves:

Youth Olympic Games: 640,000 spectators (including 350,000 for the sports competitions alone).

Lausanne en Jeux! Festival of sport and culture: 200,000+ people (including 21,000+ schoolchildren experienced an Olympic event from the inside for the first time).

Online, Lausanne 2020 was a major success as well: coverage of the event on and the Olympic platforms (Olympic Channel and attracted more than three million unique users during the 13 days of competition. The content generated 66 million views on the Olympic platforms and on social media, approximately 25 times more than the previous edition of the YOG. The various Olympic social media platforms generated more than 450,000 new followers thanks to Lausanne 2020. There was also a significant increase in TV broadcasting. The YOG were watched by an estimated audience of more than 150 million people worldwide. In particular, the opening ceremony on 9 January was broadcast live on the three Swiss national channels. On RTS in French-speaking Switzerland, it achieved a high market share of 25%.

Beyond the more than satisfactory figures, excellent results were evidenced in the value of the many talents (mascot, look of the Games, pictograms, cauldron, medals, official song, visual shows, etc…) mobilised for the Games. Additionally, these talents were on display in R&D in the field of sport, health, promotion of physical activity, and performances through a unique academic collaboration with professional schools and universities. Thousands of young people improved their skills and gained valuable experience.


Key Challenges


TIME is key in empowering the youth

In order to ensure a sustainable legacy which – in the case of the 2020 YOG – includes a large part of youth empowerment, legacy must be thought of as a starting point and not as a result of the Games themselves. Youth empowerment de facto implies time and a long-term vision. It includes the discovery of talents, the development of technical or management skills, the training of volunteers, and valuing the work achieved for and during the Games such as: design and look of the Games, artistic performances, journalism and reporting, management, volunteering, teaching Olympic values at school, etc. A few examples of youth empowerment conceived for the locals as well as for the athletes are available below.

School children: All schools (ages 4 – 16) in the Canton were visited. More than 130,000 schoolchildren became involved in a project related to the Games and Olympic values in the 4 years preceding the Games. 79% of schools developed projects. After four years of work based on incorporating the Olympic values, winter sports and Lausanne 2020 into the school programmes, some 80,000 schoolchildren were able to experience the event they had been anticipating. A unique programme was concocted for the school children, giving them the opportunity to visit the different host venues to cheer on the athletes and also to see the competitions in sports they had studied and tried out before the YOG (sometimes with Olympians who visited their classes). These school outings included an educational activity (sports introductions, visits to a museum, etc.) as part of Lausanne en Jeux! At each venue, they could participate in YOG competitions, use free public transport, and sometimes have the chance to rub shoulders with the Youth Olympic athletes. For the schoolchildren, this programme was the culmination of their work and the chance to see the application of the work they had done in the years leading up to the Games.

YOG Athletes: The Athlete 365 Education Programme included five activities and two events set up by Lausanne 2020, the IOC, the International Federations, and their partners. Together with its academic partners (EPFL, CHUV, HESAV), the IOC and INSEP, UNIL contributed to the development and implementation of the Athlete 365 Education Programme. This rich programme allowed 1,784 athletes from 79 countries to learn more about many areas: training advice based on performance tests, prevention of abuse and concussion in sport, meeting with champions, media management and many other activities.

With a limited budget, build upon what already exists 

The budget was clearly limited for youth empowerment projects, although the ambition was high! The organisers decided to strategically build upon what already existed: a very strong local educational fabric; a lively cultural environment; talented know-how in craft and skilled manual trade jobs; a wide range of highly qualified professional schools in specific areas (design, hotel and catering, arts, etc.); and world-leading universities.

As opposed to only providing the possibility of being a spectator/consumer of a once-in-a life event, the youth engagement programme allowed thousands of children and students to become key participants in the staging of the Olympics! “That’s why we’ve been working with schools since 2016, to make students and apprentices part of the Games through several sporting and educational projects and activities”, explained Stefany Chatelain-Cardenas, Lausanne 2020’s Youth Engagement Director. And once youth have some ownership of the event, it makes it even easier to convince families and friends to come and participate. This is also part of the popular success, as children and students were powerful information spreaders!


Key Learnings & Recommendations


The processes of youth engagement in the making of the event were tested and key lessons were learned. These were discussed at several debriefings between partners after the Games. The existing “International Sport” platform of the Olympic Capital will be responsible for continuing to bring these synergies to life for future events in the region and the country.

The YOG have to be conceived as an investment in the Youth

The success of the YOG should not be measured in the light of media coverage or budgetary results. Although very successful, the YOG 2020 remain a sport competition for junior athletes which cannot be compared to the Olympic Games in terms of world media coverage. Although positive, the budget result is not an issue either. As such, “the Youth Olympic Games don’t attract extraordinary amounts of money in TV rights or sponsoring. They generate social dividends,” explains Philippe Furrer from InspoweredBy.

The YOG should be conceived and assessed as an investment in the youth, not only for the young athletes, but also for the youth of a city, a region and a country. Thanks to the Games, the city, and the Canton of Vaud, as well as the other Olympic sites in St. Moritz and in France, schoolchildren and students of all ages mobilised around various projects to empower the youth at all stages of their lives, from school to apprenticeship or during academic studies.

The strength of sport, the youth, and the Olympic brand

For 10 years and since the beginning of the YOG adventure, every edition has shown increased mobilisation, fervour, enthusiasm and popularity. The Lausanne edition managed to mobilise a large portion of the population. All competitions were held in front of a crowded audience, not only in Lausanne’s venues but also in all Olympic sites in the mountains. It is true that the YOG benefited from sunny and cold winter weather, but this is not enough to explain such popular success for the Games themselves but for the Festival as well. Bringing together sport, youth and Olympism is a winning combination that reaches a large audience – the Youth and far beyond.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at 

Additional resources can be found through the following links:

Presentation by Stefany Châtelain-Cardenas, Smart Cities & Sport Summit 2020,

Bilan de Lausanne 2020 – Alors, décus en bien ?, Philippe Furrer, (in French)

Legacy Governance – Sarajevo


  • Olympic City: Sarajevo
  • Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Edition of the Games: 1984 Winter Olympic Games
Since 1984
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How Legacy Governance Started In Sarajevo

The 1984 Winter Olympic Games played a central role in the identity of the region. Seen as a symbol of strength and a way to celebrate peace-building and inter-regional cooperation, the Games continue to foster a spirit of solidarity among people and nations.

A successful event

For the city of Sarajevo, hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 1984 was among the most significant events in the history of Yugoslavia. The Sarajevo Olympics were not boycotted by any nation (compared to 1980 Games and 1984 Summer Games) and were instead a shining moment of global unity centered around sports. As such, Yugoslavia, and Sarajevo specifically, felt a tremendous personal responsibility to go above and beyond in its role as host nation and host city. The Olympic Games allowed the City to showcase its treasures to the world. The Olympic Games boosted the image of the City and developed locally a genuine and long-lasting Olympic Spirit.

Immediately following the closure of the Olympic Games, the public organisation “Winter Olympics 1984” (Zimskih Olimpijskih Igara 1984, ZOI 84) was created to manage the overall legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games, the promotion of resorts abroad, and the city’s candidacy for subsequent Winter Games. It is also responsible for the Olympic complex Bjelašnica-Igman. ZOI 84 is in charge ski pass sales, the snow cannons, the operation of the ski lifts, and the organization of the resort’s emergency services.

A tragic war

In 1992, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina started (BiH). Sarajevo endured the longest siege in the modern history of war. In an IOC article, Nedzad Fazlija, a five-time Olympian and Sarajevo City Council Administration Representative recounts his experience: “The first objects destroyed in Sarajevo were the Olympic facilities. It was very difficult to live in the city, to cope without water, food, warmth. For sport, of course, it was not a good time. But the Olympic spirit of the city gave people the strength to endure another day, another week, another month. The people helped each other as they could.”

For a city, losing sport facilities is not only a material loss. Sport facilities allow people to practice sport, to gather, to share collective emotions, and to express local or national pride. This is the reason why sports facilities are seen as war targets.  This is also the reason why rebuilding these facilities is a priority.

Time to rebuild

Both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1984 Olympic Games were held at Kosevo, the Olympic Stadium. Built in 1947, it was thoroughly renovated and expanded for the Olympic Games. After the war it was rebuilt into a multi-purpose facility and is currently home to football club FK Sarajevo and to the Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team. The stadium is named after Asim Ferhatović-Hase, a legendary player on FK Sarajevo – the city’s Premier League team which plays its home games in this stadium. The stadium currently has a seating capacity of 36,500.

With help from the International Olympic Committee, Zetra Olympic Hall was able to undergo reconstruction at the end of the 1990s. Since that time, it has been known as Juan Antonio Samaranch, in memory of the long-term President of the IOC and a great friend to Sarajevo.  It has served as the venue for several international speed skating events and several world records were broken here. Recently, it served as the main venue for the 2019 European Youth Winter Olympic Festival. Hosted in Zetra Hall, the New Olympic Museum reopened in 2004, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Olympic Games.

The iconic cable car connecting Sarajevo with Mount Trebevic reopened in 2018. It offers the greatest panoramic view of the city. The mountain is known for bob and sledging competitions. Over the years, the bobsleigh track has become one of the most recognisable landmarks in Sarajevo. It was abandoned and vandalized but is now undergoing a new renovation thanks to the Bobsleigh and Luge federations. The Olympic ski area of Bjelašnica is close to Sarajevo and three ski resorts (Bjelašnica-Igman, Mount Bjelašnica with Babin Do, and Mount Igman with Veliko et Malo polje) which are managed by ZOI 84.  The other Olympic site for alpine skiing is the Jahorina ski resort, today the largest ski resort in BiH.


Legacy is…

Olympic legacy in Sarajevo includes all of the 1984 Olympic sites. Most of the facilities have been renovated and a few are still damaged. However, even those facilities not yet restored are encompassed into a vision that transforms damage into an asset. In addition to Olympic facilities, Sarajevo benefits from an exceptional and deeply rooted Olympic spirit and pride, ensuring that the Olympic flame will live on.

Thanks to the combination of facilities and Olympic spirit, Sarajevo and Istočno Sarajevo hosted the 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival, a sort of mini-Olympic Games for European Youth.  The EYOF brought together 1,000 young athletes aged 14-18 from 46 countries in Europe. Biathlon, curling, ice hockey, figure skating, short track speed skating, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding were the eight sports on the program.

What’s next?

“Join us and be convinced why Sarajevo has been declared the best Winter Olympic Games host of all time.” This is the City’s motto for boosting “Olympic Tourism”. The city strategy is to promote its Olympic history as a means of increasing tourism. Guided tours of the Olympic legacy in the city are already operating and the objective is to increase the capacity and visibility of Sarajevo as an Olympic City.


Promote the city by leveraging its affiliation with the Olympic Movement

Sarajevo is a member of the family of Olympic cities and, even though some time has passed since the XIV Winter Olympics in 1984, memories of this glorious time for Sarajevo are still very much alive, and a lot of work has been done to renew iconic facilities and places.

When searching for “Sarajevo’s Olympic spirit”, it’s best to start at the Olympic Museum of BiH. The old museum was engulfed in flames in 1992, so the collection is now located in the same building as the BiH Olympic Committee, next to the Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic Stadium (Zetra). As for Edin Numankadic, the director of the Olympic Museum, “If you look at the history of Sarajevo in the 20th century, people know about the beginning of the First World War, they know about the siege [1992 to 1995], and they know about the 1984 Winter Olympic Games. The Olympic Games is the only positive, and that’s why we care about this cultural heritage.” Most of the collection was salvaged and transferred to the  Zetra Olympic Complex and the new BiH Olympic Museum was opened in 2004 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Games. Many items related to the Games have been donated, which has helped replenish the museum’s collection, and renovation of the Olympic Museum is in progress.

Many other places are worth a visit, such as the Olympic Mountains –Trebević, Bjelašnica, Jahorina and Igman –; the Sarajevo neighbourhoods and former Olympic Villages, Mojmilo and Dobrinja, which were built as part of the preparation for the XIV Winter Olympic Games.

Promote Olympism and its values 

The Olympic Games continue to play a key role in the definition of the identity of the region. Games are perceived and used as a way to celebrate peace-building and inter-regional cooperation.

“This atmosphere, which ruled for the Games, created something that we call the Olympic spirit, which has remained to this day. We built facilities, but the most important benefit has been the Olympic spirit. It drives and motivates people to get involved in sport, to train, or to just be fans” says Nedzad Fazlija. “Very soon after the end of the war, the youth began sports activities again, but without any facilities. Day after day, the focus was on repairs. But that desire for success, proving that you are fighting for your country in sports competitions, gave new hope to people to begin a new fight: to restore the ruined city, and to continue to fight for the country on the sports field.”

Olympic values give hope to the youth. The Olympic spirit continues to be a central part of the region’s identity and the recent European Youth Olympic Winter Festival marked a new chapter in its Olympic history. In 2019, Sarajevo organised the European Youth Olympic Festival.

The most lasting benefit of the 1984 Olympic Games is the spirit that is transmitted from generation to generation. The City of Sarajevo can build upon the human legacy of Sarajevo ’84 to prepare its future and connect its youth with past and future. This Olympic spirit creates new athletes of all levels.


A core obligation and a priority of the NOC (National Olympic Committee is to participate in multi-sport Olympic competitions and to develop the sports system in BiH. The OC BiH is dedicated to the preservation of the Olympic heritage and the promotion of Olympic values. Currently, the NOC has not designated a concrete strategy for preserving the Olympic heritage and promoting Olympic values. It is likely that in the future, the City of Sarajevo will need to develop a strategy with the help of the OC BiH.

The Olympic Museum is key to this nascent strategy. It was renovated in 2004, after the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since then, it has received approximately 10,000 visitors every year.

Key Challenges

A place dedicated to the history and legacy of the Olympic Games

The most important project for the preservation and promotion of the Olympic heritage for the OC BiH has been the maintenance and preservation of the Olympic Museum, which was managed by the OC BiH, until 2020. The main challenge, during this period, was to ensure financing for the preservation of the Museum. OC BiH managed to reopen the Museum, with great effort and dedication. However, due to insufficient funding, the Museum suffered from a lack of employees. Only one person worked in the Museum, with reduced working hours and an inability to work weekends. It is also important to point out that there were no funds for the promotion and modernisation of the Museum.

Mostly due to the contributions of the City of Sarajevo, Olympic Solidarity, Sarajevo Canton, UNESCO and the Council of Ministers of BiH, OC BiH renovated the museum building (reopened in 2020). Since then, OC BiH has handed over the maintenance of the newly renovated Olympic Museum to the City of Sarajevo via a 10-year contract (with the possibility of extending cooperation), which provided a budget for the maintenance of the Museum and the employment of experts for its management. The Museum currently employs 5 people, and the number of tourists visiting the Museum is anticipated to increase due to the strategic location of the Museum in the city centre.

Priorities in promoting the Olympic legacy

1984 Olympic Games contribute to the positive image of the City and it remains a very positive element to be built upon. The city attracts tourists and increases the Olympic sightseeing offer by renewing its venues. To achieve this strategy, it is essential that places and venues are clearly and visibly identified as Olympic sites. To complement this greater visibility, souvenirs and mascots are present in shops.

Facing political and institutional challenges

The war damaged not only the Olympic venues and facilities, but also destroyed archives and land registers, so it is sometimes very difficult to identify the “owners” of some venues.

In addition, Olympic venues and facilities are present on territories that have different rulings. Bosnia and Herzegovina is comprises two politico-administrative entities: BiH Federation and Republica Srpska. The City of Sarajevo itself also underwent post-war politico-administrative changes. Istočno Sarajevo (East Sarajevo) is a city located in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It consists of a few suburban areas of pre-war Sarajevo which are now in the Republika Srpska and in newly built areas. Both entities worked together to organise the successful European Youth Olympic Festival in 2019.

Key learnings and recommendations

Set up strategic partnerships to maximise development opportunities

In addition to the Olympic Museum, OC BiH has implemented other projects aimed at promoting Olympic values and legacy, in accordance with its capabilities and with the available Olympic Solidarity programs.

In line with these efforts, OC BiH recently organised an art workshop with Sarajevo primary and secondary school students on Olympic legacy of BiH. The project aimed to generate interest in BiH’s rich Olympic legacy among students. The second in a series of art workshops, the event was organised in the newly opened Olympic Museum. The first one took place in 2019, just before the beginning of Sarajevo/East Sarajevo European Youth Olympic Festival (YEOF). An Olympic education project will feature lectures given to primary school children on the topic of Olympic values – excellence, respect and friendship. It is also important to emphasise that every year, OC BiH organises the Olympic Day celebration in June. This event promotes Olympic values and provides an opportunity for as many students as possible to discover and be initiated into a wide variety of sports. The Olympic Day is organised in Sarajevo, Travnik, and Mostar.

The year 2014 saw the inception of the “Olympic Arenas and Environmentally Sustainable Development,” a partnership project implemented by OC BiH in collaboration with the “Let’s Do It” project in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main activities are focused on education in primary and secondary schools as well as on cleaning and afforestation of Olympic sites. The activities are directly focused and carried out directly or in the vicinity of the Olympic arenas. Education as a key segment of sustainable development has proven the need to act in this direction as we pass on the knowledge of Olympism and Olympic values while conveying the essential importance of the relationship with nature and the environment to the younger generations. Projects in this field are recommended by IOC and are in line with the IOC Agenda 2020. Projects of this kind are necessary for BiH society, since the Olympic arenas, especially in the summer, are not in an enviable state of cleanliness, and thus are functionally unusable for citizens.

OC BiH has also been a partner in the project “Youth Sports Games” for many years, which brings together boys and girls from all over BiH, demonstrating the principles of the Olympic Games through project activities and removing barriers on all possible grounds of discrimination and negative sociological phenomena in every society. In addition to participating in sports activities, each generation of children visits the Olympic Museum, during which they have the opportunity to listen to an educational lecture on Olympism, Olympic values and the rich Olympic legacy of BiH.

Mobilisation of volunteers

The energy of volunteers was vital in rebuilding the Olympic legacy, just as it was vital during the organisation of the Games nearly 40 years ago. The youth in Sarajevo are particularly involved, as they need facilities to practice.  The human legacy of 1984 represents the future. The city dealt with the legacy and damage of the conflict in an admirable manner. International and inter-organisational cooperation, plus volunteer energies were key in this renovation process.

The population has been mobilised in order to collect, create and recreate collective memories within the city. Post-Games, the Olympic bobsleigh and luge track had been frequently used, but became an artillery position for Bosnian-Serb forces. Heavily damaged, in 2014, restoration efforts began with the help of volunteers, the national bobsleigh federation, and a grant from the International Luge Federation, which also provided on-site support.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at 

Additional resources can be found through the following links:

Legacy Governance – Lillehammer-LOLSC

Lillehammer Olympic Legacy Sports Centre

Preliminary remarks

As you may have seen, two governance cases are dedicated to Lillehammer. Reasons that support this choice are twofold. First, Lillehammer hosted two editions of the Games. If the latter built upon the former to deliver great Games, it also produced its own legacy and consequently, structures to deal with it. Second, as legacy is about both venues and facilities at one side and education, knowledge transfer and experience sharing at the other side, two different cases were necessary to encompass various ways Lillehammer manages its Olympic legacy(ies). Inherited from the 1994 Games, the Lillehammer Olympiapark is a structure run by the municipality of Lillehammer that takes care of the majority of Olympic venues and events. The Lillehammer Olympic Legacy Sports Centre is an emanation of the Norwegian Sports Federation and Olympic and Paralympic Committee and is a direct legacy of the YOG.

Obviously, many bridges and crossovers exist between these structures and collaboration and common understanding are key. The big picture also encloses the Norwegian Top Sports Centre of the Innland region dedicated to elite athletes (Olympiatoppen Innlandet), the University, the Olympic Legacy Studies Centre as well as the remaining Olympic venues run by other municipalities or private companies. With all these partners involved in managing Lillehammer’s Olympic legacy, clusters (venues, events, training, research, etc.) facilitate organisation and legacy management

  • Olympic City: Lillehammer
  • Country: Norway
  • Edition of the Games: 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games
Lillehammer & the region
©Free Vector Maps

How legacy Governance Continued In Lillehammer

Based on a successful 1994 Winter Games’ edition as well as on already existing and still in-use facilities, and with the strong feeling that Olympics were a success for the city, the region and the country, Lillehammer hosted the 2016 Youth Olympic Games. 1994 Lillehammer Games remain in collective memories as successful human-sized Games with high environmental and sustainability standards. And the YOG’s bid relied on the same narrative and beliefs. Børre Roglien, the head of the Norwegian Confederation of Sports at the time, made a promise on that December day in 2011: “We will build upon the 1994 legacy while creating a new legacy built by and for youth – for Norway and the rest of the winter sports world.”

The YOG legacy included infrastructure and equipment, changes in lives of participants, development of Norwegian sport, renewed regional expertise and enthusiasm, and last but not least, a legacy Centre. “’Go Beyond. Create Tomorrow” is the vision that really says it all. We did not just plan and stage just the ten days. We staged Lillehammer 2016 to create tomorrow – a lasting legacy for the region and for Norwegian sport,” says Toms Holmestad, the CEO of Lillehammer 2016.

In the post-YOG perspective, the Lillehammer Olympic Legacy Sports Centre was foreseen as a tribute to the youth and as an example for experience promotion and expertise sharing for the generations to come. This legacy centre conceived as a unique opportunity to share the passion and expertise in winter sports found in the region of Lillehammer with young elite athletes, coaches and managers from other nations – a great way for double-Olympic city Lillehammer and the whole region to give back to sport and to the Olympic Movement. It was inaugurated in December 2017 and now welcomes Norwegian and international young athletes, coaches, leaders and event organisers of Olympic winter sports.


Legacy is…

The LOLSC is a direct legacy of the 2016 Youth Olympic Games. At the time, the Ministry of Culture vision was as such: “The region shall create a centre of expertise for winter athletes targeted to young athletes, coaches and leaders from around the world in the years after 2016. The idea of the centre is to share Norwegian winter sports expertise to countries without the same resources and knowhow as Norway”, Minister of Culture, Linda Helleland.

As for the Norwegian Sports Federation and the Olympic and Paralympic Committee, “the centre is an important contribution, both in view of the organisation’s work with increased involvement of young people in sport, as well as NOC’s international work”, President Tom Tvedt

What’s next?

By now LOLSC is only financed as a project which ends 31.12.2021. We are working on establishing the permanent centre also after this date but that has not been confirmed yet. At the moment we only have funding for the project period throughout 2021.

The main focus for 2020 and 2021 for LOLSC are the following projects:

  • International Training Camps for young athletes, coaches and leaders in the Olympic Winter Sports.
  • Legacy Research Projects focused on the long-term Legacy after 1994 and 2016.
  • Cooperation with China towards Beijing 2022
  • Dual Career Programme. Establishing programmes for international students/athletes to be able to combine their sporting career with education at the university level.


Celebrate Olympism and its values

Olympism is a philosophy that places sport at the heart of humanity and human development. It encourages the symbiotic interaction between culture, education and sport across all of society. Over the years, the spirit of Olympism has become a part of Lillehammer’s soul. The Lillehammer Olympic Legacy Sports Centre embodies this spirit. Through educational and cultural programmes, it helps to drive human development amongst the city of Lillehammer, the country and abroad with international cooperation. Based on its expertise on winter sports, the LOLSC is open to Norwegian and international young athletes, coaches, leaders and event organisers of Olympic winter sports, with a strong focus put on nations that do not have resources and expertise as Norway in winter sports to allow talented athletes to thrive at the centre.

Develop human capital and generate social cohesion

The LOLSC aims to give young athletes, coaches & leaders the possibility to develop their skills inside winter sports. This knowledge-transfer and experience-sharing component complement the promotion of sport as such.

Olympic Games, and later one, the activation of legacy, are an opportunity to develop skills and know-how and incorporate these benefits into society at large. Through the engagement of the youth into sports, the LOLSC promotes the legacy of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games and the 2016 Youth Olympic Games. The LOLSC was founded on the boost of sport participation for generations to come that came thanks to the 2016 YOG.

LOLSC activities are organised around three pillars including training camps; seminars based on some elements of the YOG Learn and Share programme; and China-Norway collaboration for development of winter sports in China ahead of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games.

LOLSC organises training camps for young athletes, such as sliding, curling or cross-country skiing camps. It also promotes gender-oriented camps, for instance with an international ski jumping-camp for women. The LOLSC also promotes involvement and engagement of the youth through the Young Leaders programme. As legacy and future are intrinsically linked, young athletes are hosted in the former Olympic village which was transformed into student accommodation.


The activites and projects in LOLSC are being evaluated by the Resource group behind LOLSC two times a year.

Key Challenges

The key challenge for LOLSC will be the long-term financing of the centre and its projects. The general level of costs in Norway is also a challenge to make camps etc attractive for young people from parts of the world with smaller resources

Key learnings and recommendations

For LOLSC, it has been essential to be able to cooperate with and use the competence in Olympiatoppen Innlandet.

The key learnings behind the project so far will be that the long-term financing of the centre is going to be demanding to secure. We have to rely on public funding to secure this. Sustainable self-financing of the centre and its projects seems to be unrealistic to achieve.

It is also essential to have a close cooperation with the national sport federations in Norway to be able to organize our projects with high quality.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at 

Additional resources can be found through the following links:

Legacy Governance – Beijing

Beijing Olympic City Development Association

  • Olympic City: Beijing
  • Country: China
  • Edition of the Games: 2008 Olympic Summer Games
Since 2009
Beijing and Olympic Sites

How Legacy Governance Started in Beijing

The Beijing Olympic City Development Association naturally emanated from the willingness of the City of Beijing to best inherit, manage and utilise the tangible and intangible heritage left by the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. To achieve its objectives, under the promotion and support of the Beijing Municipal Government and the Chinese Olympic Committee, the City of Beijing set up a non-profit corporate organisation less than a year after the Games. As activating, utilising and preserving the Games’ legacy is a daily work, Beijing has a sound institutional structure and mechanism and continues, creates and implements many projects in the fields of Olympic culture and legacy. BODA’s slogan perfectly embodies its missions: “Carry on Olympic Spirit, Build a better City”.

Under BODA’s umbrella and efforts, many programmes and projects of different scales are created and conducted in various areas.

Various key sports and cultural events are initiated and hosted by BODA: Beijing Olympic City Sports Culture Festival, Beijing International Sports Film Week, Olympic Music Festival, World Winter Sports (Beijing) Expo and World Mind Games.

BODA also supports education, health and access to culture programmes that aim to promote the Olympic Spirit and values among the population. These programmes facilitate the healthy growth of the young people’s body and mind, promote the popularisation of Olympic culture and develop social cohesion.

Last but not least, BODA is proud of keeping the Olympic flame alive. Programmes carried by the Association highlight the social value of Olympic legacy through distinctively-themed cultural activities and explore new ways of promoting City development through utilisation of Olympic legacy.


Legacy is…

“Carrying forward Olympic spirit, inheriting Olympic legacy, building a better city and benefiting the residents.”

What’s next?

« The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games is the first edition of Olympic Games that conduct all-round planning and management of Olympic legacy after the publication of the Olympic Agenda 2020. Therefore, the IOC and Beijing have both attached great importance to this effort. (…) Beijing will draw on the experiences of previous Olympic Games and give high priority to the scientific planning of the Olympic legacy, with a view to creating a rich winter Olympic legacy, realizing the vision of the Games and achieving the greater and more sustainable development of Beijing ». Liu Jingmin, Interview, World Union of Olympic Cities, Newsletter, April 2018


Celebrate Olympism and its values

The Beijing Olympic City Development Association’s mission is to carry forward the Olympic spirit, expand the Olympic achievements, promote the sustainable development of Olympic and Paralympic causes in the city, build ”Humanistic Beijing, Hi-Tech Beijing and Green Beijing”, and help develop Beijing into a world-class harmonious and liveable metropolis. The scope of operation of BODA is to carry the Olympic Spirit through the mobilisation of social forces, the development of public welfare work and policies, the partnership with international organisations and Olympic Cities, the implementation of educational and cultural projects, the promotion of research and the public support of Olympic and Paralympic causes.

Promote the city by leveraging its affiliation with the Olympic Movement

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games have had a tremendous impact on the City and has been positive in terms of image and reputation for Beijing. Since the conclusion of the Games, the City and BODA have been continuously working to leverage the positive impacts of the Games. The Games are a part of the City’s history and, through programmes, continues to shape its future. With the 2008 Summer Games’ legacy to build upon, and the 2022 Winter Games to look forward to, Beijing is strengthening its Olympic image and Olympic history.


Ten years after the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, BODA’s action is powerful and relevant. BODA is recognised as the organ in charge with the organisation of the 10th anniversary celebrations.

BODA was in charge of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games bid, which is a success as the Olympic Winter Games have been attributed to Beijing.

Some BODA staff have been allocated to the preparation of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, as the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is aware of BODA people’s experience in terms of legacy preparation and management.

Key Challenges

Activating legacy is a daily work

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games deserved a management equal to their success. The Games genuinely contributed to showcasing and promoting Beijing to the entire world. The Games acted as a development accelerator and the City of Beijing decided to valorise on a longer-term what the Games allowed in the first place. It is a powerful and correct choice to dedicate such a big structure to the management of Olympic legacy.

Celebrating the past to animate the present and prepare the future

The City of Beijing has decided to establish such an institute to fully manage and utilise its Olympic legacy not only as an enrichment of its past history but as a powerful tool to promote the city’s health and culture development. It is also a useful launch pad to show social cohesion, sustainability and high tech development.

Beijing is the first city that has hosted the Games of the Olympiad and will host the Olympic Winter Games in the history of the modern Olympic Movement. The Beijing Olympic City Development Association (BODA) has taken an active part in the planning and management of Olympic legacy, seeking for the approaches of both Games’ legacy integration and inheritance, with a view to promoting the development of Olympic Movement and the sustainable development of the City and Region. BODA is committed to making more contributions to Olympic legacy inheritance through sports and culture exchanges, Olympic education, and research, review and exchange programmes on both Games’ legacy achievements and experience.

Key learnings and recommendations

Establishing a long-acting mechanism for legacy utilization

Following the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, to make better use of Olympic legacy and promote city development, Beijing established Beijing Olympic City Development Association, a special body for the utilization of the Olympic legacy. BODA is a non-profit social organization exercising a membership system, with the general assembly as its highest authority, the council as the executive body of the general assembly and the executive vice chairman as its legal representative.

BODA is a well-structured organization with rich resources and professional employees. As legacy utilization is beneficial to the future, sufficient financial and human resources are needed for the work. After years of practices, BODA has established and improved the rules and regulations of Olympic legacy utilization, formed an effective and smooth decision making mechanism and an operational system, and strengthened the working foundation for inheriting Olympic legacy and serving urban development, which have helped establish a long-acting mechanism for the healthy and sustainable development of Beijing’s Olympic legacy work.

Centring on the city’s development strategy

Centring on Beijing’s development strategy and functional orientation, BODA has integrated the work of Olympic legacy inheritance with the city’s key tasks to serve overall city development.

Relying on the platform of international sports organizations, BODA has carried out exchange programmes among Olympic cities. It has successfully hosted a number of international conferences and sports culture exchange events such as the IOC World Conference on Sport for All, IPC General Assembly and Conference, Summit of the World Union of Olympic Cities, “Sport Movies & TV-Milano International FICTS Fest” Final, WADA Gene and Cell Doping Symposium and IOC Athletes Career Programme Forum. It has made great efforts in carrying out international exchange programmes by taking advantage of the city’s function of “international exchange centre”.

Relying on the platform of Olympic sports culture events, BODA has, by using Beijing’s Olympic legacy, hosted a series of sports culture events, including holding ten editions of Beijing Olympic City Sports Culture Festival in succession which was initiated in 2010. The Festival has boosted the development of Beijing’s fitness-for-all campaign.

Relying on the platform of sports competitions, BODA has participated in the staging of sports competitions including SportAccord Combat Games Beijing 2010, Tour of Beijing Professional Road Cycling Race, SportAccord World Mind Games, Olympic City Cup Beijing World Minor Hockey International Tournament, Beijing Primary and Secondary School Mind Sports Games and Capital University Mind Games. These sports events have promoted the development of sports competitions and sports-for-all campaign.

Relying on the platform of Olympic education, BODA has hosted Olympic educational events including primary and secondary school football competitions. These events have enriched the sports and cultural life of students and fostered the primary and secondary school students with an all-around moral, intellectual, physical and aesthetic grounding. BODA has played an active role in promoting youth winter sports and popularising winter sports knowledge in order to contribute to the development of winter sports in China.

Relying on the platform of Beijing Olympic legacy research, BODA has worked with Beijing University, Beijing Sports University and other institutions of higher education to research on the utilization of Olympic legacy for the purpose of promoting the development and prosperity of capital culture, building Beijing into an international sports centre, serving the all-round development of city and turning Olympic legacy into resources for urban development.

Relying on the platform of World Winter Sports (Beijing) Expo, BODA has worked actively to promote the development of the winter sports, expand the exchanges and cooperation between domestic and foreign winter sports enterprises, and boost the development of the winter sports industry by holding exhibitions and winter sports forums as well as the Olympic City Development Forum.

Extensively pooling social resources

To make better use of Olympic legacy to serve urban development and enhance citizens’ wellbeing, BODA has built broad platforms to pool resources from all parties to ensure the high efficiency of public welfare activities. For example, for the Sports Culture Festival every year, BODA supported the building of a platform for the engagement and joint efforts of government agencies, member entities and other social forces in organizing public welfare activities, in order to create a dynamic situation for social engagement and support for the work of Olympic legacy inheritance. BODA has also adopted the marketing approach to achieve the win-win result. These efforts have not only reduced the costs of public welfare activities and improved activity efficiency, but also disseminated Olympic spirit more effectively and expanded the influence of Olympic legacy.

Staff and knowledge continue to serve the legacy planning of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games

BODA has brought together a number of professionals who are internationalised and experienced in Olympic preparation. They played an irreplaceable role in winning the bid to host the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. BODA provided important ideas for the bid strategy and offered constructive advice on the key issues arising in the bid. It sent key staff members with rich Olympic experience to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee to work in various functional areas, especially international relations and press and communication where they played an irreplaceable role and made significant contributions to the success of the bid. It strengthened the communication with the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission. In line with the responsibilities prescribed in the legacy strategy plan, it provided guidance for relevant departments of Beijing Municipality and Yanqing District in formulating and implementing their legacy work plans, completed the annual and overall legacy work reports, and fulfilled the task of legacy planning and management assigned by the IOC.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at 

Additional resources can be found through the following links:

Beijing Olympic City Development Association

Legacy Governance – St-Louis

St. Louis Olympic Legacy Committee

  • Olympic City: St. Louis
  • Country: United States of America
  • Edition of the Games: 1904 Olympic Summer Games
Since 2018
St. Louis & St. Louis area
©Free Vector Maps

How Legacy Governance Started In St. Louis

As the city that hosted America’s First Olympic Games, the birthplace of the Olympic Gold Medal, and the city that debuted Olympic diving, freestyle wrestling, boxing, and the decathlon, among many other firsts, St. Louis has as a goal to ignite or re-ignite the passion and Olympic spirit throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. As the Games were held in 1904, St. Louis needs to physically reconnect with its Olympic history through visible signs and symbols. This process is a natural and sustainable continuation of the 2004 Olympic Centennial Celebration, as described in the Olympic Legacy Toolkit.

As a Member of the World Union of Olympic Cities and St. Louis’ representative to the United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee, the St. Louis Sports Commission’s goal is to inspire awareness and pride in St. Louis’ Olympic affiliation, and to positively impact St. Louis through its opportunities as an Olympic City.
In February 2018, the St. Louis Sports Commission unveiled its plans to raise the profile and impact of its region’s involvement in the Olympic Movement. The plans include initiatives to visibly identify the venues that hosted Olympic events in 1904. Two Olympic “spectaculars” – sculptures of the Olympic rings – will be displayed at sites that are historically linked to the 1904 Games. The first one was unveiled in Washington University, home to the 1904 Olympic Stadium and birthplace of the Olympic gold medal. The spectacular is located on the northeast corner of Francis Field, the oldest modern-day Olympic Stadium in active use. A site for the second spectacular will be chosen in a near future. To emphasize the historical significance of former Olympic places as well as to invite people to interact with and feel part of the Olympic Movement, interpretive signage will be installed featuring each venue’s role in the 1904 Games along with notable facts and stories. Each sign will include an IOC-approved stamp that incorporates the Olympic rings and has been specifically designed for St. Louis’ Olympic legacy programme. Complementing the spectaculars and signage initiatives will be grassroots programmes and educational platforms intended to engage the entire community, especially young people, in Olympism. A dedicated website has also been developed, that highlights the history, innovations and relevance of the 1904 Olympics, and provides information about the Olympic legacy project. Last but not least, by setting up a structured Olympic Legacy Committee, the St. Louis Sports Commission provides the necessary means and human resources as well as the sustainability and the time required for the project to achieve its objectives: to properly embrace and celebrate St. Louis’ Olympic Legacy, carry this torch for future generations and boost opportunities for the City and the region. Olympians and Paralympic athletes have been closely associated with the institution and the project and play a tremendous role in promoting the vision and the mission of the St. Louis Olympic Legacy Committee.


The project is clearly inscribed within the IOC Agenda 2020 vision and the affiliation of St. Louis with the World Union of Olympic Cities.

Legacy is…
“As host of the 1904 Games and as America’s first Olympic city, St. Louis is in exclusive company, forever having a place at an international table that includes the world’s greatest cities. Our region’s role in the Olympic Movement is something to celebrate, and we want to make a transformative difference in St. Louis through the opportunities we have as an Olympic city.” Frank Viverito, St. Louis Sports Commission President.

What’s next?
The objectives of the St. Louis Olympic Legacy Committee will be carried out through a multi-phase project that aims to ignite the community’s imagination around the Olympic spirit. The first phase of the project – installation of the Olympic spectacular and interpretive signage – is currently being implemented. Other elements – hosting events, producing grassroots programming, developing educational platforms – will be ongoing.


Celebrate Olympism and its values

Through visible signs displayed in the City as well as programmes dedicated to promoting the Olympic Spirit among the population, particularly its youth, St. Louis reconnects with its Olympic history and generates social cohesion and pride. Educational programmes are designed to engage the community in Olympism. Beyond embodying the Olympic Spirit, the Olympic rings are a timeless global symbol of unity and achievement. They will inspire the region to think more globally and thoughtfully about each other, and come together as a community to achieve great things. “Meet me at the rings” will surely become part of the region’s vocabulary! The participation of Olympians within the project is a lively testimony of the Olympic spirit being spread around. The St. Louis Olympic Legacy Committee hopes to use the spirit of innovation exhibited at the 1904 Games as a model to move its community ahead.

Promote the city by leveraging its affiliation with the Olympic Movement

The St. Louis Olympic Legacy Committee contributes to the promotion of the City and the region, not only by looking at the glorious Olympic past but also by using the status of Olympic City as a door-opener for the future! As being an Olympic City is an asset, the organisation aims to generate greater understanding of the value and relevance associated with the region’s place in Olympic history. The St. Louis Sports Commission and its Olympic Legacy Committee also are focused on pursuing future Olympic events that can have significant impact on the community.  These include Olympic Trials, national governing body championships, torch relays and other special events, and connecting with the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. In April 2019, St. Louis was awarded the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics.


The management structure has been set up in 2018. It is already a success in itself to be able to mobilise so many people and partners around this project, including Olympians. The approval of the project by the IOC in terms of use of the Olympic properties or brand for non-commercial purposes is also an evidence of success.

Going forward, a key measurement of the initiative’s success will be the level of community engagement and awareness. The Sports Commission aims to achieve greater regional, national and international understanding of St. Louis’ role in the Olympic Movement – as well as the ways the St. Louis Games changed the Olympics for the better. Active participation numbers will also be indicators of success, particularly for grassroots events and activities. For instance, it is the Sports Commission’s goal to eventually have 1,904 young people from the region run the 1904 Olympic stadium track with Jackie Joyner-Kersee and other area Olympians every Olympic Day. An ultimate measure of success will be to what extent the Olympic legacy initiative can unite and inspire St. Louisans, and encourage them to strive for the Olympic ideals.

Key Challenges

The most distant legacy
Of all Olympic cities, St. Louis actually has the most distant Olympic legacy. That’s because even though St. Louis was the III Olympiad, the previous host cities – Athens and Paris – hosted another Summer Games since 1904. The St. Louis Games predated the introduction of the famous five Olympic Rings. The emblem that represents the 1904 Games is the logo of the World’s Fair, which coincided with the Olympics in St. Louis. So because its Games were so long ago, St. Louis lacks the marks, commemoration spaces and organizational infrastructure retained by most other Olympic cities. From a historical standpoint, there are many misconceptions about the St. Louis Games. Among the St. Louis Olympic Legacy Committee’s goals is to separate fact from fiction and highlight the ways the St. Louis Games changed the Olympics for the better.

Negotiating the use of the Olympic Brand with the IOC
Because the 1904 Olympics predated the existence of the rings, St. Louis previously did not have the ability to use the symbol.
Collaborating with the IOC, with support from the WUOC and guided by Agenda 2020, the Sports Commission obtained permission to include a stamp incorporating the rings and “Site of the Olympic Games” on approved historical signage and markers. This permission was the culmination of several years working collaboratively with the IOC and WUOC to share St. Louis’ vision and proposed initiatives, and to determine acceptable steps that could be taken. On September 28, 2018, St. Louis’ first Olympic Spectacular was unveiled at Washington University, site of the Olympic Games, as part of a special ceremony featuring area Olympians and 1968 Decathlon gold medallist Bill Toomey.

Focusing on the future; not living in the past
In St. Louis, people sometimes lament that the community is too tied to its history and not forward-thinking enough. So the Olympic Legacy Project needs to overcome a potential perception that it plays into the region “living in the past.” Much effort has been undertaken to present the initiative as forward-focused. It is still critical that St. Louis embraces and celebrates its history – especially as it relates to the Olympics, something so unique and significant. And the venues, history and stories surrounding the 1904 Games need to be promoted and celebrated in a much more visible way. But to make the initiative even more impactful, the Sports Commission emphasizes that St. Louis should be recognized as an Olympic city (once an Olympic city, always an Olympic city!). It also highlights the idea that St. Louis’ Olympic legacy can be a catalyst to pursue and attract future opportunities connected to the Olympic Movement. Taken together, this all can have an enduring impact, enhancing the region’s quality of life and generating economic and social benefit.

Key learnings and recommendations

Create a long-lasting structure dedicated to managing legacy
The presence of high-level volunteers who have a passion for the Olympics and their community plus strong civic relationships can make a tremendous difference in the ability to be successful.

Mobilise Olympians and Paralympic athletes

Athletes are the lively evidence of what can be achieved through sport. The St. Louis Sports Commission managed to involve local athletes who have a national and international dimension. Athletes are best positioned to talk to the youth, teach the sense of effort, transmit Olympic values and play as role models. The celebration of the 2018 Olympic Day is a great example of the mobilisation of Olympians and Paralympic athletes at the service of the community.

Link the past and the future
Activating legacy goes far beyond looking backwards and talk about old times. Stories are used to build new memories, create local cohesion and mobilise people.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at 

Additional resources can be found through the following links:

Lausanne Olympic Centenary

Lausanne, Switzerland

Beijing International Sports Film Week

Beijing, China

Innsbruck 50th Olympic Anniversary

Innsbruck, Austria