Hosting the Olympic Games would be impossible without the tireless efforts of the thousands of volunteers who help make each edition of the Games a success – and the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020 will be no exception.
Following the launch of its volunteer programme in June, the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee set out to rally 3,000 people of all ages to work in a wide range of essential roles across the Games venues – a figure that has been by far exceeded in the number of registrations.
And among those looking to offer their time during the Games will be employees of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who want to be involved in the event taking place in the Olympic Capital itself. The IOC is granting staff four days of leave to volunteer for Lausanne 2020, as part of a training and development programme that was first launched for the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016.
“The IOC wants to offer its employees the opportunity to be part of the unique experience of the Youth Olympic Games,” explains Xavier Tissières, Director of Human Resources at the IOC. “We are convinced that it is a win-win situation: on the one hand, this is a great source of pride for all of our employees to be part of an edition of the YOG that will take place in their hometown and, on the other hand, the organisation will benefit from that on-the-field-of-play experience because its employees were part of the delivery of the event and will know how to better perform in their function.”
With Lausanne being the home of the Olympic Movement, there are many other organisations in the city that will be offering their employees similar opportunities, including IFs such as the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), which grants staff five additional days of leave to volunteer at events such as Lausanne 2020.
“We are always striving to be cutting edge and, by encouraging staff to take the time to see what else is out there and how different sporting events deliver, from hospitality to branding or screen graphics, we are effectively increasing our knowledge base and doing market research at the same time,” explains Sabrina Ibáñez, FEI Secretary General and President of the Association of Paralympic Sports Organisations.
“I would like to say we came up with this grand plan but, actually, we had seen in recent years a growing trend with our staff volunteering at major events and we realised this was actually really beneficial to the FEI. We are fortunate to have an engaged workforce who really care about what they do and how they can develop, so that's how we came up with the policy and the five days. And it's been popular; we have several requests already for Lausanne 2020 and I am sure there will be more for Tokyo 2020.”
Nicole Sigrist, who works in the FEI’s Communications Department, is among those taking advantage of the initiative to offer her time to Lausanne 2020.
“I like sports in general, more specifically ice hockey, and wanted to discover the YOG organisation from the inside,” she explains. “Volunteering is a very good option for this; moreover, being a Lausannoise, I really wanted to actively participate in the event.”
And just like any other Olympic volunteer, Sigrist is already looking forward to the opportunity of being part of the Games.
“The opportunity to participate in such big events is not that frequent in Switzerland, even less so in Lausanne,” she explains. “So it is an occasion that I did not want to miss!”