Lausanne 2020 inspired by Lillehammer 2016 to create “wow-factor” YOG

The Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee have been keen observers during the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, as they prepare for their own YOG hosting duties in four years’ time.

Ian Logan, the recently-appointed CEO of Lausanne 2020, has led a delegation of 20 colleagues in Norway, who have participated in the IOC Observer Programme, gaining a “behind the scenes” look at the day-to-day operational demands of hosting the Games.

For Logan and his team, observing Lillehammer 2016 in action has provided a unique opportunity to learn how things are done in a real Games-time setting.

“Our delegation came here to experience exactly what the Youth Olympic Games are,” he explains. “It’s very important to see how the event differs, and to look at things like the cultural and educational programmes and understand how they fit into the Games.”

The Lillehammer 2016 Observer Programme has allowed Logan and his team to study specific areas of Games operations, and he has been impressed by what he has seen as he prepares to lead the preparations for the 3rd Winter YOG in Lausanne in 2020.

“These Games have been very well organised,” he says. “The atmosphere has been really good and all the athletes seem very happy. All the sporting performances have been very impressive, and it is great to see how the Lillehammer 2016 Organising Committee (LYOCOG) has brought everything together. The organisation and the logistics have all been very smooth, but what has really impressed me is the friendly atmosphere. That is definitely something we’d like to replicate in Lausanne as well.”

In addition to the atmosphere, Logan also cites LYOCOG’s efforts to involve the whole of Norway in the YOG as something he would like to achieve for Switzerland in 2020, with the Lillehammer 2016 Change-maker and Young Leader programmes proving particularly successful in engaging the country’s young population.

“Youth involvement will be a big mission for us in the build-up to the 2020 Games,” says Logan. “We would really like to involve the whole of the country, just as they have done here in Lillehammer. Switzerland is a country with 26 cantons and four languages, so it will be a challenge. But we are also smaller than Norway, so I think we can expect big involvement from the entire country. That’s the big challenge for us now.”

Logan will accept the Olympic flag at the Lillehammer 2016 Closing Ceremony on Sunday night, when attention will well and truly turn to Lausanne as the next Winter YOG host city, and he admits that it will be a significant moment in the Organising Committee’s journey as they begin their preparations for 2020.

“There will be huge emotions when I accept the Olympic flag,” he says. “Then, we need to start working. We have a briefing with the IOC in April, and we will work closely with them throughout the next four years. There is a lot to do, but we are confident that we will be able to deliver something special.”

And as he looks ahead to the 2020 Winter YOG, Logan is in little doubt about what he would like Lausanne achieve in four years’ time.

“I would like to create a ‘Wow’ factor,” he explains. “I want everyone to say, ‘Wow’, when they come to our Games. We want the athletes, the spectators, the local people and everyone else to be amazed. Then I will know that we have done something good.”