Light the Torch: 2020 Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland

Jan 9, 2020 8:15:00 AM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A.

InCourage Youth Olympic Games

Since their inception in 2010, The Youth Olympic Games have been synonymous with innovation and forward-thinking. The games, which started January 9, in Lausanne, Switzerland, were developed in response to concerns about childhood obesity and the declining participation in youth sports—a cause dear to our hearts. It’s no surprise that now, on only the third Winter Youth Olympic Games, they are tackling another issue that’s of huge importance: gender equality in sports. And since the Lausanne 2020 motto is “Start Now,” they are taking on equality right now, with this years’ games.

This is the first time the winter games will have just as many women as men, with 940 female athletes and 940 male athletes expected to compete for medals. These 1,880 young athletes—ranging in age from 14-18 and representing 70 countries—will compete in 81 medal events now through January 22. This elite, international event features eight sports and 16 disciplines. And some new disciplines—including the debut of ski mountaineering, a women’s doubles competition in luge, and women's Nordic combined—have been added to the program to reflect the increased female participation.


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If U.S. snowboard sensation Chloe Kim’s 2016 Youth Olympic Games’ success is any indication, new winter sports stars will emerge from the games over these 14 days. Be on the lookout for these athletes who may soon be household names:

  •     Montana Osinski of Darien, Conn, is one of two female athletes representing the U.S. in Slopestyle and Big Air.
  •     Kiernan Fagan of Brownfield, Maine is a freestyle skier who will also be competing in Slopestyle and Big Air. 
  •     Kendall Kramer of Fairbanks, Alaska is a title winning runner and the nation’s top junior-level female skier (shout out to multi-sport athletes!) who will be competing for a cross-country skiing medal.

This third Winter Youth Olympic Games will be streamed on the Olympic Channel, and the full event schedule—including how to watch online—can be found here.

For more from inCourage about girls and sports, read our article, The Rise of Girl’s Sports: Leveling the Playing Field Leads To Long-Term Success.

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Topics: athletes, youth sports, teen athletes, girl's sports, olympics, equity in sports

Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A.

Written by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A.

For nearly two decades, Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. has been intimately involved in sports management education, sports media, and coaching. He achieved the rank of Clinical Professor of Sports Management and served as an Academic Chair. McDonnell was a Co-Director, Program Development and Special Initiatives for New York University’s Sports and Society. McDonnell is a Forbes Sports Money contributor with a focus on the business of baseball. He has also written for other baseball-related periodicals such as Maple Street Press’ Yankees Annual 2010, Yankees Yearly 2012, 2013, and Bleacher Report. He was awarded the NYU School of Professional Studies Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011 as well as an Award for Outstanding Service in 2008. McDonnell’s research on the game of baseball has been consistently featured at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture.