Where are you in your YOG calendar?
The eight sites are well defined. These are the first binational Games, we have a very good collaboration with France and especially with the Jura. We work closely with the cantons of Valais, Grisons and Vaud. All work is on time. The host sites are ready and we will already be able to hold competitions this winter, with an aim of also testing the venues for the YOG. Another positive point: the commitment of the youth and all the schools participating in the project is already remarkable. That’s great!
What innovations are planned in Lausanne in relation to the Lillehammer YOG in 2016?
First of all, it must be emphasized that the Youth Olympic Games are a new concept. They were created by the IOC in 2007 and the first Summer Games were held in 2010. In Lillehammer, for the winter YOG in 2016, about 1000 athletes stayed on-site for the two weeks. Our approach has evolved to welcome the 1880 athletes in Lausanne in two waves. This is a big change, but we will also be offering a nice educational package to these 15 to 18 year-old athletes. Our ambition is to create a strong educational legacy that will extend to the younger generations, the leaders of tomorrow. Olympic Capital and now Olympic City, Lausanne will be in the spotlight to receive this sports festival combining sports performance and culture. On the sporting side, there will be outdoor speed skating on Lake St. Moritz, ski mountaineering and three-on-three ice hockey, a bit like what happens in basketball. Also, a first at the YOG: the Nordic Women’s Combined. And it must be emphasized, there will be perfect gender equality with as many male and female athletes.
You are traveling all over the world to promote Lausanne 2020. What are the remarks you hear most often abroad about this event?
During my trip to Beijing in September, the Chinese representatives were very interested in the inclusion of ski mountaineering in the program. I especially noticed that they love Switzerland and that they really listen to what we do. They have a great willingness to learn with us about everything related to ice and snow sports.
The YOG is part of the Olympic family, with the positive values that it encompasses. Are young people really receptive?
Yes, these values which are “excellence, respect and friendship” are very important for them and in Lausanne 2020, we want to put forward this trust in the youth. It means listening, accepting that they do things differently than us. That does not mean we accept everything, but it’s important to trust young people.
What is your view of these young people who give themselves body and soul to their sport?
They are all exceptional! In sport, you have to constantly question yourself. Passion, motivation, management of failure are for me beautiful values of life.
In the M2 metro in Lausanne, stickers in the shape of skis and in the colors of the YOG invite travelers to imagine themselves on the slopes. Is the message going well?
Yes, it’s a way to communicate in a fun way, so that travelers get the positive energy of the YOG. We will host smart and healthy games. Everything has been done with a vision of the future and I feel all this positive energy when I’m in town.
What will remain of the YOG in the morning of January 23, 2020?
Physically, the cauldron of the Olympic flame, the Vortex building of course (the Olympic Village, designed to become student housing), the Vaudoise Arena (the Malley Sports Center), a ski slope at Les Diablerets, the freestyle center in Leysin. But above all, I hope, many stars in the eyes of all those who have been there, near or far. Our dream is to provoke a general “Wow!” and a positive outlook on the future. For us to meet at the end, not relieved, but happy.
Initial version in French available here