On the spot

Grégoire Junod, Mayor of Lausanne

City of Lausanne

President of the World Union of Olympic Cities

As we have now fully entered into 2021, what are your feelings about the 2020 achievements by the Union? 

First of all, I would like to warmly wish you all a creative, forward-looking and resilient year.

When looking back to 2020, I see how lucky we were to host, here in Lausanne, a successful Winter Youth Olympic Games in January of last year. The Union was very pleased to set up a great Observer Programme and a very stimulating and promising Olympic City Mayors’ Roundtable on healthy and active cities during the YOGs. These Games now appear as belonging to “the world from before”, when events were organised and crowds were allowed…

Sport in all forms (individual and collective, amateur or elite sport) has been seriously affected, as has the event industry. But the whole sector has shown a great ability for resilience, adaptability and creativity. The Union managed to deliver a high-quality online event which generated fruitful debates and interesting interactions. However, we all agree that this cannot replace our on-site annual gathering.

How does the Union approach the turn to 2021? 

As you all know, solidarity among Olympic Cities is at the heart of the Union’s mission and vision. Cities have been hard hit by the pandemic crisis. We were very touched to see that members have nevertheless fulfilled their engagement towards the Union and have payed their annual contributions. As the Union was not in a position to deliver all of the benefits usually provided, the Executive Committee decided that vouchers amounting to half of the annual fees will be offered to the members, to be used in 2021 for the Union’s services.

Could you say a few words about the projects to come that will give breath to the Union and a rhythm to the year 2021?  

Business – although likely not “as usual” – is of course on the agenda. We will continue to collect legacy activation experiences and best practices to enrich our inspiration box.

As we want to maintain a strong connection between cities and because there is still a long way until the autumn, we would like to invite you to a webinar/online session at the end of Spring. That will be a great occasion to e-meet and to catch up before the summer break and of course, before our annual event. We are confident that we will be in a position to welcome you to Lausanne or abroad for a warm and inspiring homecoming.