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Check Out Innovative Sport Formats at the YOG!

Several new disciplines and sport events feature on the programme of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which take place from 9 to 22 January 2020 in the region. Here is a snapshot of the not-to-be-missed “Olympic debuts”:


The big innovation for ice hockey at the Lausanne Games is the Mixed NOC 3-on-3 competition, which replaces the men's and women's skills challenge. 

With a full rink divided in two by a hard wall, teams of three players plus a goalkeeper battle it out in an even faster, goal-frenzied version of ice hockey. Two games go on side-by-side, one in each end-zone, and as the name suggests, players from different countries and different NOCs (National Olympic Committees) play together promoting integration and understanding between cultures.

The format for the 3-on-3 is as follows: 

  • 3 periods x 16 minutes
  • Each player shift lasts exactly a minute (48 shifts in total)
  • Goaltenders change every 8 minutes
  • 3-minutes in between periods

Players from all over the world, selected through national skills challenge competitions, are mixed into teams of 11 skaters and two goaltenders. The goalkeepers will be selected on youth ranking.


The sport of ski-mountaineering makes its debut at Lausanne 2020. Also known as “skimo”, ski-mountaineering is unique in that it combines the more familiar world of cross-country skiing with some of the extreme aspects of elite mountaineering. Athletes race both uphill and downhill, sometimes requiring specialist climbing equipment to traverse icy ascents on foot, as well as speed and agility on the ski sections. With athletes sometimes gaining up to 1,900m in elevation during races, it is not for the faint-hearted. Three different events feature at Lausanne 2020: individual (men’s and women’s), sprint (men’s and women’s) and a mixed-NOC relay.

The individual events are the ski mountaineering version of the marathon, typically lasting up to two hours, with athletes setting off in a mass start and completing up to three ascents and descents of 800m to 1,300m. In contrast, the sprints can be over in three minutes as athletes ascend and descend no more than 100m. To win gold, the Lausanne 2020 skimo sprinters have to advance through a qualifying round followed by a series of heats from quarter-final to final. The three best athletes progress each time. 

The mixed-nationality relay features teams of four athletes (two women and two men) from different nations who take turns to complete two ascents and descents over a course with a total elevation of up to 180m. With each loop taking just 15 minutes, the quick-fire nature of the competition makes for compelling viewing.


The women’s Nordic combined competitions feature on an Olympic programme for the first time. Nordic combined brings together ski jumping and cross-country skiing and makes for one of the most demanding sports around. Not only does a skier need the courage required for jumping, they then must have the strength and endurance to traverse cross-country – all with the aim of crossing the line first. All athletes will jump on the “normal” 90m hill, followed by a 4km race for women and 6km for men.

There will also be a mixed team event, where six athletes (one male/one female cross-country skier, one male/one female ski jumper, one male/one female Nordic combined athlete) from one nation compete together.


Lugers can clock speeds of up to 140km/h, but races can be won or lost by a millisecond, and that is what makes luge so gripping to watch. At Lausanne 2020, women’s doubles joins the programme for the very first time, complementing men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles, and the team relay in the schedule.

Just like the singles events, the doubles consist of two runs, with the fastest combined time winning. Intriguingly it is the heavier of the two athletes who lies on top of their team-mate for better aerodynamics.

Got excited and want to check out these new events? Click here for the full schedule. You can also follow the YOG action on the Olympic Channel.

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