Road To The Olympic Games

Youth Olympics

A look inside the Athletes' Vortex at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games

For the first time in the history of the Youth Olympics all athletes are being housed under one roof. The Vortex, as it's called, is where more than 1,870 athletes from 79 countries are staying during the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

More than 1,900 athletes housed together for the 1st time at Youth Games

Brooke McIntosh, a member of the Canadian figure skating team, stands in the middle of the Youth Olympic Village on Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Thomas Skrlj for CBC/COC 2020)

LAUSANNE — For the first time in the history of the Youth Olympics all athletes are being housed under one roof.

The Vortex, as it's called, is where more than 1,870 athletes from 79 countries are staying during the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games. Flags from countries around the world are draped all along the balconies as the athletes get set for competition.

Team Canada includes 78 athletes from coast-to-coast-to-coast who are looking to improve on their eighth-place finish in the medals table four years ago at the Youth Olympics in Norway. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Thursday night in Lausanne leading into the first day of competition on Friday.

Athletes walk on a bridge leading to the Youth Olympic Village 'Vortex' in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday. (Thomas Skrlj for CBC/COC 2020)

As the official broadcaster in Canada, CBC will provide daily coverage of the competitions from Thursday, Jan. 9 to Wednesday, Jan. 22 via the free CBC Gem streaming service as well as CBCSports.caradio-canada.ca/sports and the CBC Sports and Radio-Canada Sports apps.

Leaving a legacy

Located on the shores of Lake Geneva in the heart of the University of Lausanne, the 27-metre-high circular ring-shaped structure houses 712 apartments with 952 bedrooms. The circular construction allows people the opportunity to walk around a spiraling 2.8 kilometre track from top to bottom.

The Vortex was built near multiple public transit lines allowing athletes easy travel from venue to venue.

A hangout space for the athletes in the Youth Olympic Village that will also facilitate live streams throughout the Youth Olympic Games. (Thomas Skrlj for CBC/COC 2020)

After the completion of the Games the Vortex will become home to more than 1,200 students at the University of Lausanne, just one of the legacies of these Youth Olympics.

Curfew for the athletes

Inside the Vortex athletes have access to almost anything they could ask for – medical services, food services, physiotherapy, dentistry and even a dance party.

Medical and health supplies are ready for the athletes at any time of the day in the Youth Olympic Village. (Thomas Skrlj for CBC/COC 2020)

Every night at 7 p.m. in the courtyard there is a tent with a DJ where athletes can gather. But not too late. There is a 10 p.m. curfew for all athletes inside the village.

There's also a program called Athletes365, a place for athletes to gather throughout the Youth Olympics. It includes a number of educational and interactive programs. They have the opportunity to speak to professionals about their body chemistry, can speak with past Olympic champions and can also learn about health maintenance throughout years of competition.

This is a sample room of what the athletes would stay in during their time at the Youth Olympic Village in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Thomas Skrlj for CBC/COC 2020)

More than 850 volunteers put all the finishes touches on the Vortex in preparation of the Youth Olympics, including unpacking and assembling 26,000 packages of furniture from IKEA.

A sample room of what the athletes would stay in during their time at the Youth Olympic Village. (Thomas Skrlj for CBC/COC 2020)

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