Lausanne Opening Ceremony Heads for Home

(ATR) Lausanne invites young winter athletes to come home at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

(ATR) Opening ceremonies for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games welcome athletes of the world to come home.

The 90-minute ceremony is taking place at the Vaudoise, the new state-of-art arena built in a Lausanne suburb.

While more than 1800 athletes will compete through January 19, only about half that number will take part in the ceremony. Starting with this YOG, the athletes will arrive in two waves, timed for their events.

The program for the ceremony is organized around seven artistic tableaux and symbolic elements that epitomize the Olympic Movement.

The Athletes Parade has already taken place, part of the pre-show countdown.

Youngsters from the earthquake affected region of Fukushima, Japan are attending the ceremony as guests of the IOC.

A group of six athletes from Switzerland will handle the final legs of the torch relay. Lighting the cauldron is figure skater Gina Zehnder. At 15, she is the youngest member of the Swiss team present in Lausanne

Live streaming coverage of the ceremony is available worldwide at olympicchannel.com and its apps for mobile and connected TV devices.

The 8,000-capacity Vaudoise Arena will be the venue for YOG ice hockey games starting on Saturday. The modern arena will also serve as the venue for the IIHF men’s worldchampionship in May.

Injured Ceremony Performer Recovering

No word yet on how the ceremony was affected by the fall of one of the performers while she was being hoisted by a cable during a Tuesday rehearsal. The name of the performer has not been released but she is reported to Russian. Lausanne police say the injuries she received were life threatening, but today reports say her condition is improving.

"We have been informed that there is a slight improvement in the situation, it is stable at the moment, the night went well," IOC President Thomas Bach said at a press conference ahead of the opening ceremony.

"We are in contact with the organizing committee and the hospital to be on top of the situation. Of course, we wish her all the best and we’re also trying to encourage the family," said the IOC President.

Some 1,872 young athletes between the ages of 14-18 will compete in eight sports over 13 days of competition in Switzerland and neighboring France.

Events on the Friday schedule include mixed team curling in Champery, men’s and womens Alpine super-G in Les Diablerets, the debut of ski mountaineering in Villars, and pairs figure skating and ice hockey in Lausanne.

Written and reported in Lausanne by Brian Pinelli