Lausanne 2020: a popular and financial success

02 Jul 2020
IOC News Lausanne 2020 YOG

The Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) came to a close almost five months ago to the day. This presented an opportunity for the Organising Committee to look back on the great sporting and popular success of the YOG as well as the positive financial results. Now, it's time to look at the legacy, which will be managed by a new structure set up for this purpose. 

Lausanne 2020

The Lausanne 2020 Organising committee yesterday gave the media one last rendezvous, five months after the closure of the YOG and the day after its official dissolution. This was an opportunity to bid farewell to the public and to present the various results of the event. 

Operational budget of the Organising Committee: significant surplus

The Organising Committee announces that its operating budget projections shows a surplus of CHF 400,000. This budget, which will be closed at the end of this fiscal year, includes income of CHF 48.4 million, made up of CHF 37.7 million in cash and CHF 10.8 million in value in kind.

The cash income was made up of public funds from the City of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud (9 million each), the Confederation (8 million) These revenues were supplemented by Swiss Olympic (1.4 million), ticketing and merchandising (2.2 million) and cash sponsorship partnerships (1.9 million).

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its part contributed 6.2 million to the operating budget of the Organising Committee, thus contributing to the success of Lausanne 2020 for a total of 29 million.

As operational expenses totalled CHF 48 million (including the valuation of in-kind services for the same amount of CHF 10.8 million), the Organising Committee thus projects an operating surplus of CHF 400,000.

A popular success, on site, online and on television

Lausanne 2020 attracted a very large public for Swiss standards, both at the competition venues and at the "en Jeux" festivals, created in parallel with the host cities and resorts. A total of 640,000 spectators attended the events, of which 350,000 were for the sports competitions alone. In Lausanne alone, the "Lausanne en Jeux! " parallel festival of sport and culture alone brought together more than 200,000 people. Among these spectators, more than 80,000 schoolchildren were able to experience an Olympic event from the inside for the first time. Some host venues saw up to 10,000 spectators flock to the competition areas during the weekends.

Online, Lausanne 2020 was a major success as well, becoming the most successful edition in the history of the Winter Youth Olympic Games.


Coverage of the event on and the Olympic platforms (Olympic Channel and attracted more than three million unique users during the 13 days of competition, a 200% increase over Lillehammer 2016. The content generated 66 million views on the Olympic platforms and social media, approximately 25 times more than the previous edition of the YOG. The various Olympic social media platforms generated more than 450,000 new followers thanks to Lausanne 2020.

There was also a significant increase in TV broadcasting. After an absence of live coverage for the first Winter YOG in Innsbruck 2012, the Lausanne 2020 edition was broadcast in 191 territories by 73 rights holders who transmitted almost 2,700 hours of linear coverage. The YOG were watched by an estimated audience of more than 150 million people worldwide. In particular, the opening ceremony on 9 January was broadcast live on the three Swiss national channels. On RTS in French-speaking Switzerland, it achieved a market share of 25%, a high score.

A minimized carbon footprint and key references for the future 

The Lausanne branch of the company Quantis, which specialises in assisting organisations in implementing environmental solutions, has been supporting and measuring the steps taken by the Organising Committee since 2017, in close collaboration with the University of Lausanne. At the end of the YOG, it submitted its report, which places Lausanne 2020 in the low range of the impact of an event of this scale (with 19 kg CO2-eq/spectator), and also provides essential lessons for the future.

The evaluation includes the Games' activities that the IOC now asks to be measured (preparation and operations necessary for the Games, construction of permanent infrastructures and associated activities). Lausanne 2020, thanks in particular to its marked willingness to use only existing infrastructures, to promote the use of public transport and to offer vegetarian menu options at all venues (more than 20% of the athletes took advantage of them in the Youth Olympic Village), sees its results fall well below the typical events in its category. The full study is available on the Quantis website, here.

Lausanne 2020 IOC/OIS
A Games in public transport: a new feature welcomed by athletes and the public alike

One of the highlights of Lausanne 2020 was the intensive promotion of the use of public transport. This means of transport was the only solution proposed by the Organising Committee to the participating teams for the athletes' travel. The initiative, managed in collaboration with TL (Lausanne), CFF (national network), TPC (Chablais), Travys (Vallée de Joux- Yverdon-Sainte-Croix) and NStCM (Nyon-St-Cergue-Morez) was a great success. In particular, the following results were reported:

  • More than 80% of the teams used exclusively the public transport made available to them.
  • In Lausanne, 10'000 athletes transported in the TL shuttle buses between the Youth Olympic Village (Vortex) and Lausanne’s central train station.
  • A 30% increase in the number of passengers on the Lausanne metro m2 of TL during the event (1 million passengers in total);
  • A 38% increase in the number of passengers on Lausanne’s m1 metro system, which served the Vortex, the Malley ice rinks and the Medal Plaza during the event (750,000 passengers);
  • A new record of 12,500 people using the public transport in Chablais (TPC);
  • More than 4,000 public transport tickets sold at a special YOG price were sold to the general public, which is the equivalent of 2,500 fewer cars at the competition venues.

Important legacies, and managed by a foundation

The legacies left by Lausanne 2020 are manifold. There are social legacies (strong enthusiasm of the Swiss population for Olympism and sport among young people, involvement of schools and the promotion of sport), economic legacies (acceleration of projects useful to communities and tourism) and sustainability legacies (life-size test of initiatives aimed at reducing the impact of large gatherings in particular).

As mentioned, the population gathered en masse around a unifying event that promoted and carried the values of Olympism far and wide, with the youth as flagbearers. The new formats, such as mixed or multi-national events, parallel sport and cultural events and fraternity between spectators once again showed how sport can bring people together. Switzerland will remember and be able to draw on this refreshed experience for the future of sporting events on its territory.

In terms of infrastructure, the Youth Olympic Games enabled the acceleration of projects long desired by the local communities, such as Vortex, the Youth Olympic Village built for the Games but intended to be used as very much needed student accommodation. Another telling example is the agreement between neighbouring France and Switzerland for 20 years of free use of the Nordic infrastructure in Les Tuffes by Swiss teams. In the Vallée de Joux, a very recent agreement will allow the reuse of the track developed for the YOG. The participating regions, include mountain resorts in the Canton of Vaud, have repositioned themselves on the map of Swiss sport and, in collaboration with the National Federations, will be able to benefit young athletes.

New synergies have also been tested before and during the event and will be able to develop on the basis of the lessons learned from the YOG: in particular, the partnerships between Lausanne 2020, schools and universities, which were heavily involved in the creation of the YOG, have enabled the development of knowledge that can be reused for future large-scale events that will see an increased involvement of students. Furthermore, the exchanges between sport and culture - which made the "en Jeux" festivals a success - provided a further learning experience that will bear fruit in the future.

Sustainability initiatives, whether it is the use of public transport for large gatherings or the benefits of operating existing venues only - or built but for specific use after the Games - are now benefiting from the lessons learned from a 1:1 scale test.

The management of this legacy will be carried out by a foundation that is currently being created and whose mission will include continuing to harness the spirit of Lausanne 2020 for future sports initiatives - both nationally and internationally.

What they said - quotes from speakers at the press conference:

Virginie Faivre, President of the Organising Committee: "Together, over a period of 14 days, we have celebrated a new kind of Olympic Games – one that is smart and sustainable. What’s more,  we have showed the world an aspect of our country that it perhaps not as well known -: that we are a sporting country that believes in its youth, a country that educates and a country that innovates. I would like to thank all those who have accompanied us on this extraordinary journey.”

Ian Logan, Managing Director: "The success of Lausanne 2020 is due first and foremost to a great, close-knit and motivated team, but also to the unwavering commitment of the host sites, volunteers and schools. Lausanne 2020 wanted to be an event for the new era, always in search of reasonable and sustainable solutions. I hope that we have shown a way forward for the future international sporting events.”

Amélie Klopfenstein, triple Swiss medallist at Lausanne 2020 (Alpine skiing): "Lausanne 2020 will forever remain an important moment in my career. It was a great source of motivation for me for months, and then became an extremely instructive moment. I wish that every young athlete could be able to experience this once in his or her life.”

Christophe Dubi, Executive Director of the Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee: "Lausanne 2020 has been a success in every respect for the IOC, which has learned many useful lessons for the future. These Games were the fabulous laboratory that the Youth Olympic Games were created to be. But beyond that, the greatest success of these Games was probably the level of commitment and the incredible enthusiasm of the people of the canton of Vaud."

Grégoire Junod, Mayor of Lausanne and Vice President: "The Olympic Capital is a city of sport and culture. The Youth Olympic Games were an opportunity to bring this together, resulting in this wonderful festival of sport and culture. Since then, the world has changed, but these Games have shown us that we need to live and enjoy shared emotions together.”

Philippe Leuba, Canton of Vaud Councillor and Vice-President: "Lausanne 2020 has once again shown us that sport is an extraordinary creator of emotions. The people of the canton of Vaud have understood this when they flocked to the competition venues. Lausanne 2020 has enabled us to show a region that is unique in terms of sport, both to audiences here and from abroad. It was also a great opportunity to demonstrate how we are investing in youth and sport.”

Jürg Stahl, President of Swiss Olympic: "These Youth Olympic Games were a great success at all levels, especially for our young Swiss athletes, who won 24 medals. But beyond the result, what is most important is the experience they were able to gain in their own country during this major event, thanks especially to the warm atmosphere created. Switzerland loves sport and its youth: this is a great prospect for the future.”

About Lausanne 2020

The Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games took place from 9 to 22 January 2020 with a record 1,784 athletes (15-18 years old) from 79 countries welcomed by 4,172 volunteers from more than 90 countries and whose stay has been divided into two distinct “waves” to minimise the ecological and budgetary impact.

The competitions took place in the cantons of Vaud (Lausanne, La Vallée de Joux, Leysin, Les Diablerets, Villars), Valais (Champéry), Graubünden (St. Moritz) and neighbouring France (Les Rousses, Tuffes stadium). More information on Lausanne 2020 can be found at or on the event's Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Linkedin accounts.

Press contact Lausanne 2020

Media Team -

YOG Lausanne 2020 IOC
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