Team Ireland is represented by two Alpine athletes, Matt Ryan and Emma Austin at the Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland 2020. The Opening Ceremony took place on the 9 January, in the newly built ice hockey venue – The Lausanne Vaudoise Arena, in front of a packed house.
The Opening Ceremony started with the athletes parade, with Emma Austin and Team Manager Derek Bolger representing the Irish contingent, they were followed shortly by flagbearer Matt Ryan.
The creative concept for the setting of the ceremony was the home, with chalets scattered throughout the arena, and used as props for the show, which was produced by Simon Ackermann, with award-winning director and choreographer Nadine Imboden working as Segment Producer and Choreographer.
Youth Olympic Games athletes are connected through the common Olympic spirit that they share, the Opening Ceremony proceeded to take the audience on a journey through several short stories interpreting the different phases of an athlete’s growth.
With the home of the Olympics being in Switzerland, an important element of the Games, including the Opening Ceremony, has been to involve children in all the steps on the way. And over the course of the run into these Games, schoolchildren have been very involved, from designing the mascot, to involving them in the Olympic Torch Run. In tonight’s performance, many of the dancers, musicians and entertainers were from Lausanne, reinforcing the legacy that these games will have.