2020 vision: Looking ahead to Lausanne 2020 – the venues
With the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020 now less than a year away, we turn the spotlight on the diverse range of venues in and around the historic Swiss city, which will host the estimated 1,900 young athletes.
Nestled on the picturesque shores of Lake Geneva in the west of Switzerland, Lausanne has been home to the headquarters of the IOC for more than a century, and there will be a distinct sense of the Games returning to their spiritual home when the Winter YOG begin in early January 2020.
Lausanne will host the short track speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey competitions at the purpose-built 10,000-capacity Malley Sports Centre. The brand-new ice rink will also be the stage for the Opening Ceremony on 9 January 2020. Four months after the Games, the new venue will stage the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships, while the plaza in the city’s lively Quartier du Flon will provide the setting for the medal ceremonies.
The Games, however, will venture beyond the confines of Lausanne. The cross-country skiing will be held in Vallée de Joux, while the ski freestyle and snowboard events will take place in the municipality of Leysin and its spectacular views over the Rhône Valley, an hour’s drive south-east of the city. Alpine skiing will take place just a few kilometres from there, in the picturesque resort of Les Diablerets.
Ski cross, snowboard cross and ski mountaineering will be staged in the village of Villars and its 270km-long network of pistes, while the small, predominantly French-speaking town of Champéry, with a population of just over 1,300, will see the curling medals decided.
Beloved by royalty and celebrities, the resort of St Moritz will surely be one of the iconic venues of Lausanne 2020, with its world-famous Olympia Bob Run St Moritz-Celerina track set to stage the bobsleigh, skeleton and luge events. The town will also host the speed skating, and the competition promises to be spectacular, as it will take place on a natural frozen lake – an amazing flashback to the Olympic Winter Games St Moritz 1948, in which the competition was held on the exact same spot.
Lausanne 2020, however, will not be an exclusively Swiss affair, with the French venue Stade Jason Lamy-Chappius, named after France’s gold medallist in the 10km individual hill event at the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010, chosen to stage ski jumping, biathlon and Nordic combined. Located in the Jura mountains of the Saint-Claude region of France, between the communes of Prémanon and Les Rousses, the stadium is where Lamy-Chappius learned his trade as a youngster. The venue has undergone extensive modernisation in recent years in preparation for the Winter YOG, including the rebuilding and lengthening of its hill.