(ATR) IOC President Thomas Bach describes the third edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games as “fantastic” during the closing press conference for Lausanne 2020.
Closing press conference in Lausanne (IOC Media)
He applauded the organizing committee, led by its president Virginie Faivre and CEO Ian Logan, for a "mission accomplished".
“There was not only their success on the sporting side, the organizational side… it was also the Olympic spirit at work here on all levels,” Bach said.
He related one experience that he said reflected the feeling around the Games.
“I had a meeting with three athletes – one from Iran, another one from Israel and another one from the United States. And looking at the world at this moment, I think this is what the Olympic spirit means and what the Olympic spirit can do beyond politics and what the Olympic spirit can do for our mission to get the world together and to respect each other regardless of your background.”
Bach and Faivre, reiterating comments made
to Around the Rings
on Monday in St. Moritz, told reporters they believe that the success of Lausanne 2020 could help convince the Swiss people of the merits of hosting an Olympics.
The IOC also praised the quality of the transportation system.
For the first time, as many as 80 percent of the delegations present at the Games used the public transport system set up for the Games.
Thomas Bach answers media questions (IOC Media)
Bach said there was a concern coming into Lausanne 2020 that the rich National Olympic Committees would avoid the planned public transportation and choose their own.
“This didn’t happen because they all understood and accepted this overall message that if you want to organize a Games in the most sustainable way you have to make an effort.”
It didn’t hurt that the Swiss public transportation system performed almost flawlessly.
"What the organizing committee has promised for a very long time – which was the quality of public transportation and importantly, reliability of transportation – was undeniable,” said Christophe Dubi, the IOC Olympic Director.
“It was not five minutes late, it was always five minutes early.”
Thomas Bach with Romanian athletes at St. Moritz sliding track on Monday. (ATR)
Bach admitted he was worried about having to make two train changes to get from Lausanne to St. Moritz on Monday. But he said his fears were unfounded as the two short connection times of less than 10 minutes each were no problem for the efficient Swiss.
Lausanne 2020 by the Numbers
Bach said there were eight more countries represented in Lausanne than at the last Winter YOG in Lillehammer in 2016.
A total of 1,872 athletes between the ages of 15 and 18 from 79 countries took part in 81 events in eight sports and 16 disciplines at eight competition venues in Switzerland and France. For the first time in a Winter Olympics competition, there were an equal number of men and women competitors.
So far, more than 640,000 spectators have attended the Games, either at the competitions or at the "En Jeux!" festivals, including 80,000 schoolchildren. The sports competitions have attracted more than 350,000 people.
The Games also enjoyed a strong presence on social media, attracting around 456,000 new followers across all platforms. The official app was downloaded more than 40,000 times. During the Games, it was one of the three most downloaded sports apps in Switzerland.
Written by Gerard Farek
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