Today: Last Update:

  • Q&A with Lausanne 2020 President, Part One


    (ATR) Organizers of the  the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne have less than four months to get ready. Opening ceremony is January 9 for this third installment of the winter YOG.
    Ian Logan, CEO, and Virginie Faivre, president, Lausanne 2020 (IOC)

    In keeping with the spirit of the Youth Olympics, the majority of the staff preparing for Lausanne 2020 are under age 40. That includes world champion freestyle skier Virginie Faivre, president of Lausanne 2020. She turns 37 next month.

    In part one of a Q&A with Faivre, she talks about the legacy for young people in Switzerland from the YOG.

    ATR: "Legacy" seems to be a word that comes up in most if not all conversations about 2020. Give us in a few words an idea of the scope of that legacy that Lausanne 2020 aims for?

    Virginie Faivre: Yes, our teams are very busy in preparing not only the event itself but also in allowing all stakeholders to use its spirit and values to engage with local communities and the local youth. This “pre-event” legacy is fundamental.

    The impact of the event is prepared now, not during or after it has happened. If we are successful now, then legacy will automatically be created after the event.

    In order for us to succeed in this, we have identified five areas within which we want to create impact, which we call our five commitments. We want to impact our youth, develop sport in Switzerland, foster innovation, build new partnerships and promote Olympism by showcasing the new approach to Games that the IOC is encouraging. I will make sure to cover each of these aspects during our conversation today!

    ATR:  We start seeing your look of the Games being unrolled in your various communications channels. How does this brand element fit into your legacy?

    VF: This is a nice story. The look was first designed by a student at ERACOM, the art and communication school that we work with on many different aspects of the Games, including, for example, our mascot Yodli and our pictograms.

    This student, Elsa, then got a job in a local design agency where she finalised the concept of our look. This is just one example of how we have tried to engage and empower youth with the Games - one of our most important commitments.

    ATR: Perhaps the most impressive element is the degree to which students and young people are involved in every aspect of planning and execution via their schools. Tell us a little bit about
    ERACOM student Elsa Bersier working on Look of the Games (Lausanne 2020)
    the range of Vaud compulsory education elements as they relate to 2020 YOG?

    VF: Absolutely, this is something we are both proud of and thankful for. The school system here has fully adopted the ideals of the Youth Olympic Games, which are to tap into the fundamentals of Olympic ideas and its values and pass them on to the younger generations.

    Today, the Olympic values are more relevant than ever, and they are a perfect fit with the ideals of education.

    The result, for Lausanne 2020, has been astounding. Today, more than 130,000 schoolchildren here are, one way or another, talking about the Olympics and their values in class. Additionally, most of them will travel, free of charge using our public transportation system, to the competition venues in January, to witness the Olympic spirit first-hand. Seven schools are also actively involved in the organization of the Games themselves, which should a leave
    IOC Pres. Bach being interviewed by Radiobus students (IOC / Greg Martin)
    a positive, long-lasting impact for all. That’s the whole point here.

    ATR: The RadioBus is a great concept. When will be it 'live'? Or rather - when will it start broadcasting on a daily basis?

    VF: RadioBus was created in 2002 by the state school system aiming at introducing schoolchildren to the world of media. It is an actual bus turned into a fully equipped radio studio, fully functional. Shows are actually broadcast on the radio’s channel.

    For Lausanne 2020, utilizing RadioBus has been a big success, with classes invited to create shows, conduct interviews, and develop their overall journalistic skills. The Youth Olympic Games has and will continue to be a great source of inspiration for them. Many projects are already happening.

    For example, the bus has followed many of our pre-YOG test events this past winter, and many of our staff - including me! – have already been invited for interviews. RadioBus will be an important channel during the Games, with children essentially running their own shows. You can already listen to this by visiting

    ATR: We saw that "media management" is one of the areas of learning for participants. Why is that necessary? And what will it involve?

    VF: RadioBus is just one example of this. The IOC itself of course has its ambitious Young Reporters program which will provide the world with news and photos during the Games, while a big media awareness program for the athletes is being put in place for Games time.

    From our end, we are working closely with local communications schools, whose students will help us to provide content for our social media networks, notably with photographs, news articles and interviews as well. Enhancing the understanding of how the media works is an important element of the impact we want to create with young people.

    In Part Two of our interview, Virginie Faivre discusses the torch relay. 

    For general comments or questions, click here.

    Your best source of news about the Olympics is, for subscribers only.