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Young athletes Winter Youth Olympics set to start in Lausanne

Pisten Villars-sur-Ollon
(Valentin Flauraud/Keystone)

On your marks, get set, go! The 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games start Thursday, and this time it’s happening in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The world’s best athletes between the ages of 15 and 18 will battle it outexternal link to claim their place at the top of their discipline. There are 1,880 participants in the games, 112 of them are representing Switzerland.

The youth games began in 1998 in response to growing global concerns about childhood obesity and a drop in the number of young people taking part in sport, especially in developed nations. The event features eight sports and 16 disciplines, such as ice hockey, ice skating, downhill skiing and snowboarding.    

The winter weather in Switzerland hasn’t completely played ball this time, with warmer temperatures affecting snow at lower altitudes. Organisers in the Les Diablerets ski resort used trucks to transport snow dug up from the top of a mountain to cover part of a ski slope lower down. Criticism from online commentators and the media over the environmental impact of such measures quickly put a stop to this, however, and the route was modified instead.

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