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  • Youth Must be Served at Lausanne 2020


    (ATR) Organizers of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) should include youth perspective into all aspects of the Games if they want to be successful.

    Youth Olympians celebrate at the Winter YOG closing ceremony. (Lillehammer 2016)
    That’s the message that Lillehammer 2016 – the previous hosts of the Winter YOG – delivered to Lausanne 2020 stakeholders during a two-day debriefing that concluded Oct. 25 in Lausanne.

    Ten representatives from the Lillehammer 2016 organizing committee, the Norwegian Olympic Committee, the city of Lillehammer and the county of Oppland shared their knowledge of hosting the Winter Youth Olympics with more than 40 delegates from the Lausanne 2020 organizing committee, the Swiss Olympic Committee and city leaders.

    Lillehammer 2016 chief executive officer Tomas Holmestad tells Around the Rings the key message the Norwegian team delivered was that empowering the youth in the Olympic Capital is pivotal to the success of the Games.

    “The biggest piece of advice we gave Lausanne 2020 is to empower the youth and give them much more responsibility than you feel comfortable with,” he tells ATR. “If it’s one thing we learned it’s that you can never underestimate what the youth can actually deliver and create.”

    The first day of the two day meeting focused on the overview of the Lillehammer 2016 Games and the legacy aspects of the event which were at the forefront of the organizing committee.

    Lillehammer 2016 CEO Tomas Holmestad and staff pose with YOG Flame. (Lillehammer 2016)
    “We focused on legacy since day one and not so much on the success of the event and the 10 days of competition,” he says. “We were more focused about the legacy it would bring.”

    On day two of the debriefing the previous hosts offered advice on how to empower the youth of Lausanne to create a lasting legacy on the city.

    “We got a bit more intricate and provided concrete recommendations from Lillehammer 2016 about creating an event by, with and for young people and also talked about the key national stakeholders, international stakeholders and how to work together with those stakeholders to create engagement for the event,” says Holmestad.

    Although Holmestad recognizes the success of the Lillehammer YOG, he admits that there is still room for improvement for the next host city.

    “We talked a lot about how the media landscape will change in the next four years with the inclusion of the Olympic Channel and all the opportunities that gives to make the reach of the YOG to go even further,” Holmestad added. “The most important thing is that Lausanne needs to create their own identity and their own YOG.”

    Holmestad says he is sure that Lausanne can make the necessary improvements and continue to grow the legacy of the Winter Youth Olympics.

    “I am absolutely confident of the success of the Lausanne 2020 Games,” he says. “It’s a great team and a fantastic city.”

    Written by Kevin Nutley

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