Lausanne 2020 Opening Ceremony: Highlights

The Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games Opened in a spectacle full of ice and fire, find highlights and a full replay here.

By Ken Browne and ZK Goh ·

Scroll down for all the highlights from the Lausanne 2020 Opening Ceremony as the party started in the Olympic capital.

From tomorrow 1,872 athletes from 79 countries will compete over 13 days in 81 events for over 240 medals and you can watch it all live on Olympic Channel.

You can re-live the entire Opening Ceremony here:

Opening Ceremony | Winter Youth Olympic Games 2020

Relive the Opening Ceremony of the third edition of the Winter Youth Olympi...


9 - 22 Jan 2020

Lausanne 2020 | Youth Olympic Games


Opening Ceremony Highlights

9:40pm - See you tomorrow!

And that's the end of the Lausanne 2020 Opening Ceremony, thanks for following with us, come back tomorrow as the medal events begin on Day 1.

We'll have a live blog with minute-by-minutes updates every day during the Games so don't miss a thing!

9:29pm - The Olympic flame lights up Lausanne

The Torch Relaycomes to its end with seven handovers throughout the stadium before it's handed to an acrobatic aerialist who spind and spirals and lands next to the Youth Olympic Cauldron.

Now Gina Zehnder, the youngest representative of the Swiss Team is given the responsibility of igniting the cauldron in the stadium, she's nerveless!

The flame blazes and the crowd erupts as Olympic fire spreads across the screens in the stadium.

9:24pm - The oaths

Figure skater Noah Bodenstein reads the oath on behalf of the athletes - he’s a Swiss junior champion.

“We promise to take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules and in the spirit of fair play. We all commit ourselves to sport without doping and cheating. We do this, for the glory of sport, for the honour of our teams and in respect for the Fundamental Principles of Olympism.”

Ice hockey referee Eric Cattaneo reads for the 'judges', and Stefen Meienberg for the coaches, he's the Swiss curling coach here.

9:18pm - Lausanne 2020 is officially open!

President of the Organising Committee of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020, Virginie Faivre, and President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach make their speeches.

IOC President Bach speaks directly to the athletes, "you will become more familiar with the Olympic values, respecting your competitors, respecting the rules and competing with fair play."

And the president of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga declares the opening of the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games to a huge roar from the crowd!

President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach hugs Lausanne 2020 President Virginie Faivre in the Lausanne Vaudoise Arena at the Opening Ceremony for the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday 09 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Joe Toth. 

9:04pm - Zakea Page takes centre stage

Zakea Page is a talented New Zealander who designed the Lausanne 2020 medals.

Zakea starts painting with a field hockey ball dipped in paint, and a hockey stick in a live street-art performance.

Very impressive.

Dancers join him for a choreography with hockey sticks, now the spirits who helped our inventor fly leave the chalets and perform a collective dance.

It's a flash mob on the dance floor! The Lausanne 2020 song breaks out, composed by Gaspard Colin, Zakea completes his street art piece which represents the medals.

The official song has four young singers from Switzerland’s four linguistic regions (Swiss German, French, Italian and Romanche).

8:50pm - Olympic Anthem

Our inventor is back, and he's pimped his ride, wow!

A spectacular flying ship glides above the audience. Children flood the stage following the path of soap bubbles floating from the ship.

The Olympic flag is carried into the arena by four athletes, two are current Youth Olympic athletes and two are former Swiss Olympians. They hand the flag to the Swiss Armed Forces who raise the flag during the playing of the Olympic anthem.

At the same time, the Olympic flag is hoisted in St. Moritz in the presence of the athletes.

A childrens’ choir sings and the Olympic Anthem rings out.

8:52pm - Story 4: Innovation

With the foundations laid from Story 3, we see how the development of athletes’ personalities and styles can lead them to do things in a different, individual and innovative way. 

Tuk-tuks drive into the venue with acrobats on board.

Tuk tuks!

Now an aerial artist in a yellow costume performs on a German wheel, a yellow ring appears on the ground, another aerial artist in a red costume is performing over the ice with an aerial hoop with skates. A red ring appears on the ground. 

Now an acrobat in a green costume performs from a tuk-tuk with an aerial hoop, joined very soon by a skating acrobat in a blue costume performing with a Cyr Wheel.

Ballet dancers enter from all sides of the arena in a stunning choreography and gather as the connecting black ring is projected onto the rink, a strong united symbol of excellence, friendship and respect.

8:33pm - Learning to fly

It's story 3, a young boy has a mad contraption on his head like a mini-metal air balloon helmet. That'll never work.

It doesn't.

But wait!! What started with a paper plane, then a kite, is suddenly a boy inspired by bees who takes to the skies with wings, flanked by a hive of drones, it's an airborne ballet of lights and dreams.


This is a tribute to Pierre de Coubertin’s encouraging words:

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

Story 3: Education: Sports and Culture performance in the Lausanne Vaudoise Arena at the Opening Ceremony for the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday 09 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Chloe Knott. 
Story 3: Education: Sports and Culture performance in the Lausanne Vaudoise Arena at the Opening Ceremony for the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday 09 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Chloe Knott.

8:19pm - Figure skating takes the stage

Story 2 is called 'Where it all starts', we have young Swiss skater Naoki Rossi on the ice expressing the athletes journey, the development of skills and education.

And there's pro Swiss skater Stéphane Lambiel, time for the student to learn from the master, Lambiel passing on his knowledge to a young athlete skater.

Inspired, the young skater is left alone, other young skaters join the scene.

The orchestra was outstanding.

Elea Nick, violin soloist, playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in Story 2: Where it all starts in the Lausanne Vaudoise Arena at the Opening Ceremony for the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday 09 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Chloe Knott.

8:07pm - Flagbearers take the stadium

This is a streamlined athletes parade as only the flagbearers will represent their countries and not the entire delegation.

Speed skater Diego Amaya represents Colombia, Yuma Kagiyama Japan, You Young South Korea...

Albania, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Haiti, Kosovo, North Korea, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turkmenistan all make their debut here at Lausanne 2020.

Huge cheers for the host nation led out by Thibe Deseyn.

Thibe Deseyn SUI, the flag bearer for Switzerland SUI arriving during the Parade of NOC flags during the Opening Ceremony at the Lausanne Vaudoise Arena. The Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday 09 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Joe Toth. 

8:03am - Opening Ceremony starts!

The ceremony explodes into life, Florence and the Machine's 'Breath of Life' pumps out as we have a dance symbolising home and warmth, there are chalets on the stage, a traditional Swiss house.

A winter wonderland is conjured in that dance of the white puffy jackets.

Great start!

Dancers from École de Cirque de Lausanne-Renens perform Story 1: Olympic Capital Legacy in the Lausanne Vaudoise Arena at the Opening Ceremony for the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday 09 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Chloe Knott.

7:50pm - 10 minutes to lift-off

The Opening ceremony is about to get underway at the Vaudoise Arena, this brand-new ice hockey venue was purpose-built for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Prilly (Pronounced PREE-YE!), just west of Lausanne.

This is the first ever Winter YOG opening ceremony to be held indoor, in both 2012 and in 2016 it was held at a ski jumping venue, outdoor.

And it's a little bit of history repeating here, only 26,268 days (71 years 11 months and 1 day) since the closing ceremony of the St Moritz 1948 Winter Games - the last time an Olympic competition was held here in Switzerland.

The athletes are in the house, 10... 9... 8...

Team members arrive in the Lausanne Vaudoise Arena at the Opening Ceremony for the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday 09 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Chloe Knott.

7:29pm - Facebook Live!

Watch all the build-up with your host Ash Tulloch!

7:10pm - On the march

Here we go!

Seven hours from Lausanne in St. Moritz the march is on, there's a celebration being held there timed to coincide with the ceremony in Lausanne.

Marching into Lausanne 2020 Photo: OIS/Thomas Lovelock. 

6:51pm - Buzz building

The venue is filling up now, volunteers in pink jackets are milling about, all smiles, helping people to find seats and providing great advice on which snacks to stock up on.

We have confirmation that the carbonara is an exquisitely carb-loaded treat.

Kids in St. Moritz are creating a welcome corridor for the athletes, there's a really great atmosphere here.

Athletes will enter through here

6:45pm - Zamboni time!

The Zamboni is clearing the way for the show here... Anyone else find ice resurfacing hypnotic?

6:20pm - Olympic rings sunglasses live on Instagram!

Join in the fun at Lausanne 2020 and make the world a little sunnier: Click here for our Instagram Olympic rings sunglasses!

See the city of Lausanne in the reflection and turn your head up and down, you can almost feel the alpine breeze!

 Lindsey knows...

Lindsey's sunnies

6:15pm - The lighting of the flame

An iconic moment at every Olympic Games, the torch will light the flame at the Opening ceremony tonight.

Here's everything you need to know about this fire and what it means:

6:08pm - Lindsey Vonn loves Lausanne!

USA ski super-hero Lindsey Vonn has a message for all the lucky athletes at Lausanne 2020.

"I wish I had had this opportunity when I was growing up."

6pm - Two hours and counting!

The crowds are building at the Vaudoise Arena, looks like everyone's here for 6pm right when the doors open.

Swiss timing.

The scene outside the Vaudoise Arena in Lausanne as anticipation builds for the Opening Ceremony.

5:51pm - Sky Brown and Ocean are here!

Just over two hours to the start of the Opening Ceremony, and 11-year-old Sky Brown and her brother Ocean are not going to miss this party!

Look out on Olympic Channel for more from these two over the next couple of days...

Sky Brown and Ocean arrive at Lausanne 2020.

5:23pm - The man behind the medals

When artist Zakea Page came up with this amazing medal design he had one goal in mind: To become the first New Zealander ever to design an Olympic medal.

He won!

As a kid Page played hockey and dreamed of winning an Olympic medal, but when his creation was chosen for Lausanne 2020 that was a different dream come true.

The medal design is entitled “Beauty in Diversity” and features an icy spiral which represents “a culture of respect, friendship and excellence”.

We caught up with a beaming Zakea in Lausanne, over 240 pieces of precious metal with his design will be handed out to some of the best young athletes on the planet.


Artist Zakea Page shows off his winning medal designs that will be used at Lausanne 2020.

5:05pm - Olympic fever

Our roving reporter just found Steve from Greece outside the Opening ceremony venue, exchanging pins with everyone.

The Olympics and the atmosphere at the Games is addictive and Steve has been hooked since Athens 2004 - he's been to every Games since and has an impressive collection of pins to prove it.  

“The most special pins from my collection are the ones from Athens and Tokyo 1964,” says Steve.

Looking to add to your pin collection in Lausanne?

Get thee to the Greek!

Steve's Olympic pin collection outside the Lausanne 2020 Opening Ceremony venue.

4:59pm - Frozen

Ice sculpturer Sibelle Hofmann has been here for hours carving this Lausanne 2020 logo in St. Moritz, isn't it lovely!

Someone bring Sibelle a hot chocolate...

Ice sculpturer Sibelle Hofmann carves the Lausanne 2020 logo in ice in St. Moritz. Photo: OIS/Thomas Lovelock.

4:30pm - How excited? This excited...

Virginie Faivre, President of Lausanne 2020, starts the final Torch Relay with schoolchildren at Vallée de la Jeunesse. The Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday 08 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Joel Marklund. 

4:10pm - Remember the name

To qualify for the Youth Olympic Games 2020, athletes must be born between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2005, which means they'll be between 14 and 17 years of age.

Aspiring Olympians can make a name for themselves and Dzenifera Germane from Latvia is one to keep an eye on.

From a country that doesn't have a huge tradition of alpine skiing - or mountains for that matter - this young skier is blazing a trail for young Latvians.

Check out her story here.

3:40pm - Yohida and Nishiyama practice

Some exclusive footage of Utana Yoshida and Shingo Nishiyama in practice before Lausanne 2020.

3:05pm - Opening ceremony countdown is on!

The Opening Ceremony starts at 20:00 CET tonight, you can watch live on our website of course and we'll have a facebook live from 19:35 right up until the ceremony starts, with our very own Ash Tulloch live from at the Vaudoise Arena.

3pm - Coolest high five ever?

2:38pm - Japan's golden pair

Utana Yoshida and Shingo Nishiyama are Japanese stars in the making, and it's no surprise when you see them in full flow, the joy and energy expressed on the ice by these two makes them one of the big attractions at Lausanne 2020.

Look out for them to sparkle in the ice dance competition on Day 2, Saturday 11th of January.

Utana Yoshida JPN and Shingo Nishiyama on the ice. Photo: OIS/Joe Toth.

2:18pm - Every day I'm shufflin'

USA skier Emma Resnick does a sweet 'Shiffrin Shuffle'!

The 16-year-old skis at the Vail Club that boasts starry alumni like Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn, and River Radamus.

"Skiing is like dancing," she told us earlier, word is she skis even better than she dances...

Watch out world!

2:11pm - The finishing line

The electronic scorer at the finish line is almost ready on St. Moritz Lake for the speed skaters.

How many dreams will be made and Olympic careers started on this spot?!

The speed skating finishing line getting clocked up at the St. Moritz Lake. Picture: Olympic Channel

1:19pm - Figure skating: Japan to retain title

2012 Shoma Uno (silver), 2016 Sota Yamamoto (gold), 2020 Yuma Kagiyama?

Japan could take home gold again this year if 16-year-old skater Yuma Kagiyama can produce the type of performance that saw him share a podium with double Olympic champ Yuzuru Hanyu and PyeongChang silver medallist Shoma Uno at the Japan nationals last month.

Kagiyama landed two quads and three triples in a remarkable free skate routine, adding to his growing reputation after he took the opening event of this year's figure skating season in Courchevel, France.

He even set a new junior world record for the combined score along the way.

The kid's got pedigree, his Dad and coach is Masakazu Kagiyama, a two-time Olympian.

He looked good on the ice this morning too.

Yuma Kagiyama JPN practicing on the Malley Ice Rink in the Lausanne Skating Arena ahead of The Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday 08 January 2020. Photo: OIS/Joe Toth.

12:50pm - Curling slides into view

Morning, salut, bonjour, and gruetzi from Lausanne, Ken Browne here taking over from my colleague ZK Goh who's been informing and entertaining you all morning, I'll be here with you right to the end of the Opening Ceremony tonight.

Here's a little glimpse at Team GB on the curling practice ice, curling starts us off tomorrow morning at 10am with the mixed team round robins.

Keep an eye out for Jamie Rankin on the GB team, he is the son of Salt Lake City 2002 curling Olympic gold medallist Janice Rankin, and is tipped for the top by those in the know.

Team GB's curlers fine tuning in the Palladium de Champéry, Switzerland.

12:20 pm - Family pedigree

Back in Lausanne, Estonia's Arlet Levandi takes a moment to speak to his coach, his mother Anna.

Then known as Anna Kondrasheva and representing the Soviet Union, she won ladies' singles silver at the 1984 World Championships.

His dad is the 1988 Nordic combined bronze medallist Allar Levandi.

With that, my colleague Ken will accompany you on the live blog through to tonight's Opening Ceremony. Enjoy the Games!

Arlet Levandi speaking to his mother and coach Anna

12:05 pm - Walkie-talkies

Radio communication is a common sight in alpine skiing for coaches and athletes to share information about the course.

We managed to get the Italian team receiving instructions from their coach.

11:45 am - It's ski time

Up in Les Diablerets, the alpine skiers finally have access to the competition courses for the first time.

The Super-G training runs are underway; those are the first medal events tomorrow.

Alpine skiers ready to train in Les Diablerets

11:15 am - You Young talks about YOG

We've just been speaking to You Young in an interview.

Watch out for that in the coming days, but she's told us how much it means to her to be at the Youth Olympics.

"It’s a great honour for me to be here at Lausanne," she said.

"I really want to focus on my skate and do it clean."

The Lausanne Skating Arena

10:55 am - Checking the ice

Our man in St Moritz has ventured out onto the frozen lake, where he's spoken to the ice maintenance team.

They need to get the ice to 27 cm thickness for the speed skating competitions.

It's currently at 25 cm.

Checking the ice thickness in St Moritz

10:25 am - Wild run

Fancy a go down the Olympia Bob Run man-made track in St Moritz?

Members of the public, such as Sam and Alice from Sydney, Australia, can take a ride down the track with a pro driver and brake man ahead of competition.

They told us they were "excited and nervous". I know I'd be...

Members of the public enjoy a ride down the Olympia Bob Run

10:20 am - Over in Saint Moritz...

On the other side of Switzerland, in St Moritz, they're preparing the outdoor frozen lake for speed skating.

St Moritz is holding speed skating as well as bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge at these Games.

Our intrepid reporter in St Moritz tells us it's currently -5 degrees Celsius and the ice-making team continue to work out there.

The frozen lake at Saint Moritz

10:00 am - Home hopes

The hosts are counting on young Noah Bodenstein in figure skating. He was born in Lausanne and will be competing in his home city.

He splits his training between Toronto – with Tracy Wilson – and Obertsdorf in Germany.

Noah Bodenstein, a young Swiss skater from Lausanne, poses before practice

9:45 am - Schoolkids get a taste of skating

There are around 900 schoolchildren who have been given access to watch this morning's training sessions.

They were queuing up orderly outside to get in earlier.

We'll catch up with You Young shortly, as the boys get ready for their turn on the ice at 9:50 am.

Schoolchildren attending the Lausanne 2020 figure skating practice

9:30 am - You Young in action

South Korea's You Young, the four-time senior national champion who also won senior [Skate Canada bronze](Skate Canada bronze) on the Grand Prix circuit earlier this season, is currently out on the ice.

She looks serious and focused - from what we've seen so far, she's ready for competition. Her coach, on the other hand, looks pretty upbeat.

We'll keep you updated on how she looks as she prepares to go for gold here in the Olympic Capital.

9:00 am - Welcome to Lausanne

Good morning and welcome to the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, which will begin this evening with what promises to be a superb Opening Ceremony at the Vaudoise Arena.

Before that, we'll have live blog coverage this morning of figure skating training from the Lausanne Skating Arena.

Will we spot a future Olympic champion today? Big names include Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix skaters such as You Young.

You can read a full preview of the day's events, written by my colleague Ken Browne, underneath this post.

It's Games time!

Excitement hits Lausanne 2020!

It's Games time in Switzerland, and excitement has hit fever pitch! The ath...

Day 0 Preview: Figure Skating and Opening Ceremony

Day 0?

Yep, Day 0. That's what the day before medal event competitions is called, but it doesn't mean there's zero happening.

Want to see the future of figure skating?

We'll have figure skating practice coverage live from Lausanne right here today, and when you consider former Youth Olympic champions include PyeongChang 2018 silver medallist Shoma Uno and rising star Sota Yamamoto, it'll be fascinating to see who captures the imagination in the Olympic Capital.

Look out for a strong Russian contingent.

Daniil Samsonov and Andrei Mozalev are two Russians on the rise, Canada's Stephen Gogolev is another medal contender in the boy's singles - he shares coach Rafael Arutunian with double world champ Nathan Chen.

You Young stands out in the ladies' singles, the 15-year-old Korean lands triple Axels and has already won four Korean national titles.

Many call her 'the next Yuna Kim'.

You Young: Meet South Korea's next Kim Yuna

South Korea's youngest ever national figure skating champion You Young on t...

Here's everything you need to know about figure skating at Lausanne 2020:

Figure Skating | Sport Explainer - Lausanne 2020

Learn every little detail about Figure Skating in this Sport Explainer head...

Lausanne 2020 Opening Ceremony - Turn it down for what?!

Keep it locked here on our live blog as we build up to the big show.

The Opening Ceremony will light up Lausanne from 7:30pm local time at the Vaudoise Arena and the tickets are completely sold out.

But don't worry, you can watch the entire show live streamed here on Olympic Channel.

Get ready for a blaze of fun and fireworks as the party starts and the athletes introduce themselves in a traditional parade, creative sparks fly and scenes of wonder come to life.

Expect lore, legend, music and marvels in an enchanting dance of history and modernity.

And Yodli.

Expect lots of Yodli.

How Yodli is keeping fit for Lausanne 2020 party

Yodli is all over the place at Lausanne 2020. Watch how the mascot is keepi...

What is Lausanne 2020?

Lausanne 2020 is the third edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games following on from Innsbruck 2012 and Lillehammer 2016.

YOGs bring together the most promising young athletes on the planet, giving the next generation of Olympic stars a stage to shine.

Lausanne 2020 will be the biggest Winter Youth Games ever with over 1870 athletes (A 40% rise on 2016) 79 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) taking part, 12 of those taking part in the WYOGs for the first time ever

Albania, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Haiti, Hong Kong (China), Kosovo, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, Turkmenistan and Trinidad & Tobago.

The Games in Lausanne in the mountains of Switzerland and France will be the first Winter Youth Olympics with equal numbers of female and male athletes.

See a list of athletes to watch here, and who to follow on social media here.

Where to watch Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games

Olympic Channel will stream 300 hours of action from the 13 days of competition in Lausanne 2020 with a dedicated Winter YOG channel available on olympicchannel.comYouTube and connected devices such as Amazon FireApple TVAndroid TV and Roku.

There will be an action-packed daily live show featuring news, highlights, trending stories and interviews in a fun and interactive format streamed on FacebookTwitter and, plus a daily Olympic Channel Podcast featuring insightful interviews with personalities from across the Olympic world.

Fans can also follow Olympic Channel's coverage on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube to learn more about the event, and a full Lausanne 2020 schedule can be found here.