New ideas for hosting the Olympic Games tested at the youth games in Lausanne National sport
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – This month, the youth winter games in Lausanne will test new ways of solving the challenges for the venues of the Olympic Games.

Most athletes travel to the venue by public transport.

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Organization of medal events in the neighboring country.

Creation of inexpensive space for hundreds of other competitors with two phases in the sports village.

Officials from Paris, Milan and Los Angeles – the Olympic hosts from 2024 to 2028 – would carefully monitor the project in the hometown of the IOC.

What often works at the Youth OIympics will be taken up by future venues. Particularly since the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, which were worth $ 51 billion in spending, voters have been persuaded to block some potential offers and the IOC has been pressured to cut costs.

“If we’re just a small part of this (Olympic) story and can help the system, I’m so proud,” Ian Logan, CEO of Lausanne 2020, told The Associated Press.

Logan admits that innovation at a youth Olympics is easier because the key drivers are more focused on the blockbuster summer games.

“There may not be as much pressure everywhere,” he said. “But that’s also the purpose of the youth games – to be a test bed for different things.”

The role of the Youth Olympics has shifted somewhat since the first summer 2010 edition in Singapore.

Jacques Rogge held the presidency of the International Olympic Committee from 2001-13 and hoped to become an elite competition for 14 to 18 year olds. Also on the agenda were the imparting of anti-doping and sport values ​​as well as the testing of new events.

Singapore’s 3v3 basketball was the engine of an urban trend that was first shown 10 years later at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics alongside sport climbing and skateboarding.

Breakdancing started at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and was added to the Paris Games in 2024.

Not all events had elite lineups. Soccer in Singapore was a tournament for boys under the age of 15. Bolivia, the gold medalist, and Montenegro were the two strongest continents.

When Innsbruck, Austria organized the first winter edition in 2012, 16-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin was already successful in the Alpine Ski World Cup and did not need any junior races. The January slot for Innsbruck and Lausanne also meets the largest Alpine races in Austria and Switzerland.

“All young people wanted to go to Kitzbühel to watch, not to start in Innsbruck,” recalls Gian Franco Kasper, President of the International Ski Association.

Kasper supports the concept of the Youth Olympics and a larger pool of potential medalists. Morocco won alpine ski gold in 2012 and Israel won silver and bronze in Lausanne: “For them, it’s the best you can imagine,” he said.

An element of the opening games should not be repeated. It cost organizers in Singapore nearly $ 300 million – more than three times the original budget and far more than the $ 30 million proposed by the IOC.

Singapore IOC member Ser Miang Ng said that these games organized in 2½ years are “a starting point for subsequent games that can be enlarged or reduced”.

The Lausanne Youth Olympic Games remained within their $ 40 million budget during a five-year project when cost cutting and avoiding white elephant buildings became Olympic mantras.

Logan said that a speed skating arena in Lausanne was dropped in favor of using the frozen lake in St. Moritz, which is almost six hours away by train.

By using the slide in St. Moritz, bobsleigh, toboggan and skeleton could also be used in the games. Athletes live there in a youth hostel, said Logan.

A significant change in Olympic philosophy is evident from these changes. And not just because the St. Moritz route is waiting there for a call for service in 2026 from nearby Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy.

When Tokyo competed and won in 2013, the strong and anticipated campaign promise was to create the special Olympic experience of living together for two weeks in the athletes’ village, which was located near most of the venues.

“If you do that, it’s old-fashioned. Today we have to be smart, ”said Logan, who sends dozens of athletes to France for Nordic events.

A legacy from Lausanne could be student dormitory accommodation that could accommodate hundreds of other competitors at no additional cost.

Instead of having all athletes on site for a two-week training program, many of the residents leave the first week to make room for a second wave, whose events begin in the second week.

Using this system at the Summer Games could increase the contingent of athletes to around 11,000 so that some sports and medal events cannot take part in the program.

“It’s a big challenge,” Logan admits. “The concept is really worth a look.”

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