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Lausanne, Olympic Capital

 

Pierre de Coubertin established the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne exactly one century ago. Since then the city has consistently been a credit to its status as Olympic Capital, acquired in 1994 to mark the centenary of the IOC. The headquarters of various Olympic institutions and of international sports federations, an organiser of international sporting events and a supporter of research and training in this field, Lausanne is also developing numerous sporting activities for its residents and its guests, inspired by an ideal setting amidst lake and vineyard, forest and countryside.

During the presidency of Juan Antonio Samaranch at the IOC the Olympic Capital acquired a global reputation in the field of sport, thanks most notably to the development of the Olympic Movement. As well as the headquarters of the IOC, now presided over by Thomas Bach, Lausanne is also home to the International Tribunal arbitral du Sport, the Olympic Museum – a showcase for the Olympic Movement which attracts over 200,000 visitors a year and is the only one of its kind in the world – Olympic Solidarity and the Maison du Sport International since 2006, accommodating most of the head offices and administrative centres of more than 50 international sporting federations and organisations based in the city and the local region. In its capacity as Olympic Capital, Lausanne is also a co-founder and signatory of the World Union of Olympic Cities (WUOC), which aims to apply ecological principles to sites for the Games. This concentration is unique in the world and gives rise to numerous meetings related to the Olympic movement and sport, which benefit from an ideal hospitality infrastructure, whether in the IOC headquarters or the Olympic Museum, in the MCH Beaulieu Lausanne Convention and Exhibition Centre, in the futuristic SwissTech Convention Center or in one of the big hotels.

With sport and the Olympic movement being part of the urban marketing of the city, the latter is heavily involved in staging a variety of sporting events, particularly with the logistical support of Lausanne Tourisme. The city has thus forged a solid reputation as an organiser of major sporting events, including world and European championships and Davis Cup events as well as stopovers for the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. Its organisation of the World Gymnaestrada in 2011, which welcomed 19,000 gymnasts from all over the world for a week, was masterfully done. Every year Lausanne also stages other sporting events, such as the “Olympic Week”, the international “Athletissima” meeting, the Lausanne Marathon through the Lavaux vineyards, a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lausanne Triathlon, the Lausanne International Cross Country championships, the “Lausanne 20-km race” as well as the Longines Global Champions Tour for outstanding horsemen and women. On top of this, it has establishments offering sports studies for young people and grandes écoles (particularly the Federal Institute of Technology and the Graduate School of Public Administration) providing training courses in sports management and administration.

As sport is not reserved exclusively for professionals or switched-on amateurs, every visitor will find something to enjoy from among the multitude of sporting activities – individual or team-based – offered in the city and its environs. Once the fine weather arrives, the shores of Lake Geneva come alive with walkers and aficionados of the wheel (skates, skateboards, scooters) sharing the floral quays of Ouchy. The lake offers heaps of activities in and on the water. Alongside the hirers of pedalos, kayaks, rowing boats and motorboats, several water sports clubs offer introductory courses in water skiing, wakeboarding, stand up paddleboarding, rowing, windsurfing and sailing – not forgetting the ten or so indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Back on dry land, there is a vast choice between running on one of the two Vita fitness trails, Stand up paddle, Nordic walking, athletics, beach volleyball, tennis, cycling, mountain biking, horse riding, golf, climbing and archery. It is worth noting that a new sports complex being planned near the lake will include a football stadium and an Olympic swimming pool.

With Lausanne being situated less than an hour from a number of skiing areas, it is easy to spend a day on the slopes in winter, whilst staying in accommodation in town. The Olympic Capital offers a wide variety of options. Indoors, visitors can throw themselves into a game of badminton, tennis, squash, curling or bowling. In addition, the city has four ice rinks, including one in the centrally located Flon district.

Editor: Newcom Partners Lausanne - Aurélie Moeri

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