Olympic capital welcomes Winter Youth Olympics in fervor


LAUSANNE – As it ticks into the final day before the opening of the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games, vibe of excitement and anticipation was bubbled in the Olympic capital of Lausanne.

“We are not only the Olympic capital, now we are an Olympic city,” Cedric Haldi, a Lausanne local working in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an intern, said during Wednesday’s torch relay.

It was also the final public appearance of the Olympic flame before Thursday’s opening ceremony.

At Vallee de la Jeunesse, starting point of the relay, smiles were seen on faces of dozens of kids from schools nearby when they touched the torch in Virginie Faivre’s hands.

Faivre, a former Swiss freestyle skier, was the first torch bearer of the day. As the President of local organizing committee, she indeed felt fervent atmosphere in awaiting the Games to commence.

“I feel really emotional. It’s a really important day for us,” Faivre told Xinhua.

Kids followed Faivre down the stretch when she did her part of the relay.

“A big part of my emotion is to carry the flame, which is a big symbol. Also, to be followed down the stretch by the kids is very touching and heart feeling.

“The Youth Olympic Games are for the youth, by the youth and with the youth. That’s how it illustrates the feelings here,” she added.

According to Faivre, members from athlete council of the organizing committee visited schools over the past few months for promotion among kids, and bringing the Olympic flame there made those kids look forward to the Games.

For Faivre, engagement with the youth is a “central element”.

“As for the mascot, visual identity, song and podium, we involved all institutions and youth from the region to create it together with the organizing committee. It’s already a big step where we’ve succeeded.

“With the best infrastructure, we hope that athletes can show their best performance. Some of them are future athletes of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games,” she said.

Haldi received the flame from Faivre. “Torch relay symbolizes the friendship, which means that all nations are together. I’m proud to be part of that.”

The sunlight breezed past the Olympic Five Rings statue in front of the IOC headquarters.

Christelle Boivin, a BMX athlete, passed the flame to successor under the statue.

“It’s amazing to be here in front of the IOC headquarters. It’s incredible,” said Boivin.

The flame arrived at the Olympic Museum on the shores of Lake Geneva around 12pm. Linda Indergand lit the symbolic cauldron in front of the building.

“It’s even a bigger honor for me to carry the flame,” said the 26-year-old racing cyclist who had competed at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010.

“I hope that the youth can take a lot of experience and friendship back home, share the Olympic spirit and have fun without accident,” she added.

The relay continued in the afternoon. Lausanne people swarmed along the Bessieres Bridge for a closer look at the flame.

For Swiss, when Lausanne, the base of many international sporting organizations, is combined with an Olympic event, it will undoubtedly bear special implication.

“For sure it’s special as it’s the Olympic capital,” said Indergand.

“I really want to see that Lausanne will be seen internationally,” Haldi echoed.

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