Ever since the City of Lausanne won the right to host the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2015, an ambition to stage an event for young people, by them and with them has guided the project.
From the early stages of planning to the Games-time delivery, young people from the local area have been involved every step of the way, and seeing their ideas, designs and hard work come to life over these magnificent two weeks has been hugely rewarding.
“We are pleased to see our work being used, something we made ourselves, and to see it on screen. It’s a nice feeling, and we are proud,” says 18-year-old Philippe, who was involved in the construction of the Olympic cauldron.
“We learned a lot of things, it is an important experience to put on our resume and is something important for the city of Lausanne and for us.”
Olivia Dalomo, who worked on the creation of the trays used in the medal ceremonies, is one of nearly 130,000 students who have been involved in preparing and organising Lausanne 2020, and echoes these sentiments.
“When we see the scale and the quality of the YOG, we realise how lucky we were to be selected and be involved in this kind of competition,” she enthuses.
The cauldron, medal trays and podiums are in fact a shining example of the collaboration between local educational institutions that has underpinned the organisation of Lausanne 2020 from the outset. These three highly symbolic elements of the YOG are the fruit of a partnership between three schools, having been designed by students of the Lausanne art school (ECAL), and built by apprentices of the EDC Construction School and C-FOR (Lausanne Utilities Training Centre). This has been a great legacy initiative, as the skills learned during the process will allow the students to contribute to similar projects in the Canton.
Meanwhile, another Lausanne-based arts school, ERACOM (l'Ecole romande d'arts et communication), has also been heavily involved in the design of YOG elements. For example, the hugely popular mascot, Yodli, was created by over 140 ERACOM apprentices and students, before being selected by 500 young athletes between the ages of 12 and 18 who had gathered for a Swiss Olympic training camp.
ERACOM were entrusted with designing the look of the Games, from the 16 pictograms representing each discipline on the Lausanne 2020 programme to the branding on the uniforms, medal ribbons, banners, cars and across the competition venues. More than 50 ERACOM students have been involved in this project, which started in August 2017, and the results have been stunning, heightening awareness of and building excitement for the YOG across the region.
Another unmistakeable element of the YOG has been its official song, ‘Start Now’, which is the result of a competition organised by Lausanne's University of Music, Haute école de musique de Lausanne (HEMU), and won by HEMU student composer Gaspard Colin. The catchy tune, which was performed live at the Opening Ceremony and has followed each victory or medal ceremony, includes the horn of the Swiss Alps and was recorded by four young singers from the country’s four linguistic regions. It therefore perfectly encapsulates the host country and has certainly got people dancing – especially the volunteers!
There have been contributions too from students in other areas of Switzerland and around the world, with Zakea Page, an arts student based in New Zealand, winning an international competition to design the YOG medals. But it is not just teenagers and university students who have been involved with Lausanne 2020. As part of an innovative collaboration with local schools, primary school students have had elements of Lausanne 2020 and the Olympic values built into their curriculum since early 2017. This has led to them turning up informed, engaged and excited to cheer on the young athletes at the events they’ve attended, and to try the sports themselves through the En Jeux! activities.
“What we saw was just a construction site of the Vortex and all of the plans, so we had to picture everything in our heads,” says Gabriela, who worked on the project for nine weeks in 2018 and interviewed a number of athletes as part of her research.
“It is so nice to see all the flags, all the nations coming together, and all the athletes really enjoying their time at the Vortex. Seeing everything coming to life and how [Lausanne 2020] have implemented our ideas is just an amazing feeling.”