By Duncan Mackay at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex in St Petersburg

Lausanne landscapeMay 27 - Lausanne, the "Olympic Capital" has launched a feasibility study to host the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2020, it was announced here today.

The news will be a welcome relief to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who are based in the Swiss city. 

They have struggled to generate interest among cities interested in bidding for the Winter Youth Olympics and Norwegian city Lillehammer were the only bidders for the 2016 Games.

The way for Lausanne to potentially put themselves forward has been made easier by the fact that a proposed bid from St Moritz and Davos for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics had to be scrapped in March after a state referendum rejected the idea.

"We think that there is a perfect fit between Lausanne and the Youth Olympic Games concept", said Marc Vuilleumier, Lausanne's Municipal Councilor in charge of sports.

"Our city has been the close witness of the development of the Olympic values for 100 years.

"We believe that promoting these values to sporting youth of the world directly in the heart of the Olympic Movement is a very strong idea.

"We would be a proud partner to the IOC in realising this dream."

IOC LausanneLausanne has been home to the International Olympic Committee since 1915

The plan is to host all the sports in a compact three cluster concept, with alpine skiing disciplines in the Alps and Nordic skiing in the Jura region, all within the boundaries of the State of Vaud, of which Lausanne is the capital.

Lausanne, which also houses the headquarters of 60 other international federations, would be the home of all ice sports, the Olympic Village and the cultural and education programme.

"Back in the summer of 1915, Baron Pierre de Coubertin chose our city to be the home of the modern Olympics," said Lausanne Mayor Daniel Brélaz, 

"Exactly 100 years later, in the exact same place, the IOC will make the decision on the host of the third Winter Youth Olympic Games.

"If our city was to go that far, we believe that it would be a great way for us to give something back to the Olympic Movement which has given us so much over the last century."

St Moritz hosted the second Winter Olympics in 1924 but since then Switzerland has bid unsuccessfully six times.

The Winter Youth Olympics, which were hosted in Innsbruck for the first time last year with 1,059 athletes from 70 countries, are seen as a more realistic prospect and which will not face the public opposition other bids from Switzerland have encountered.

Innsbruck 2012 snowboardingInnsbruck hosted the first Winter Youth Olympic Games last year

Bern was forced to drop its bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics following a referendum. 

"It would be great project for our State, for the entire region and for Switzerland," said Pascal Broulis, State Councilor in charge of finance.

"We will use all our energy to promote this bid, because this is a smart event of reasonable size, but which also enjoys positive recognition worldwide."

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