I’ve been living in Switzerland for 3 years now and I have not yet visited the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. Granted, the Museum had been closed for awhile having renovations and has recently reopened. Today, I got to do something about that!
The Olympic Museum is located in Lausanne, Switzerland because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) moved it there in 1915 due to the country’s neutrality stance during the World War. Prior to that Pierre de Coubertin started his Olympic dream in Paris. Pierre is considered the father of modern Olympic games. He had a dream to reawaken the ancient Greek tradition, but make it more modern and something that the whole world could participate in.
When you walk into the Museum, you are presented with the very beginning of the Olympics and its Greek traditions. It’s really fascinating to read the athlete’s process of preparation. It was also fascinating to read how far and how long it took people to travel just to be part of the Olympics.
Once you get passed the history of the Olympics, you encounter Pierre de Coubertin and his new Olympic vision and how it developed. There is a painting in there, which is supposed to be the only painting known of Pierre. I regret not having taken a photo of it now. In any case, this painting shows Pierre standing next to a beautiful horse with fencing sword in hand. What made this painting unique is that it explained Pierre had a vision of creating a sport called equestrian fencing. I can see why it never took off. Imagine the “accidents” made to the horses involved.
You continue exploring the museum and you get to see how the Olympics started in the early 1900s. There are various trophies because it wasn’t always just medals given to the athletes. You also get to see the Olympic cup and the very first Olympic flag. The significance of the 5 rings is that they represent each continent on the planet. All different in culture (hence the different colors) but united together in the Olympic spirit. This then leads you to the wall of the olympics, which is a timeline of the years and countries involved, with historical photos.
One of my favorite rooms in the Museum, was the torch room. This room had one of each
torch from each Olympic game. It was kind of neat to see the progression in change of design. There was even the arrow that lit the Olympic flame at the Barcelona games. My personal
favorite torch is the 1984 Los Angeles one. Only because I was actually living in Los Angeles during the games. Of course, I was only 6, so I really didn’t understand or get to take part in it, but it’s nice thinking that I was in a city during the Olympics. I even had a stuffed animal, Sam the Eagle. Now that I think about it, I had a lot of Sam the Eagle souvenirs, such as stickers, mugs and even a wallet.
Once you leave the torch room, you walk into a room that has a lot of mementos from the various games. There was a display case with all the olympic mascots. There were models of a few stadiums and how throughout the years, they’ve become more environmentally friendly. Did you know that it was the Sydney Olympics that really began the more environmentally friendly movement during the Olympic games? Around the corner, there was some of the opening ceremony costumes, including the infamous Beijing drums!
Then there was a trip down an awesome hall of stairs that leads you into the “Game” room. This room was awesome and was filled with a lot of athlete outfits and equipment. I made a joke during the Sochi Olympics because I mostly watched BBC coverage and they kept going on and on about Torville and Dean, so it became a drinking game to take a shot every time T and D were mentioned. Well, if there was alcohol at the Game room, I would have had to take a shot because right there was the T and D costumes! Seeing some of the old bobsleds and luges was awesome! Did you know that figure skating made its Olympic Game debut in the 1904 London summer games? It wasn’t until the 1924 Olympic games that it became part of winter.
Once done with the Game room, you go down the hall of stairs again where you visit the
Olympic spirit room. This room is dedicated to the Olympic Village. You get to see what goes into building an Olympic Village and then what life is like for all those athletes there. You learn about an athletes diet and medical care. It’s quite extensive. Then there is a section about regulating the equipment used in sport and the materials used. There’s some fun games to play while you’re in there too.
Once you’re done with the Museum experience, there is a cafe to visit as well as a nice store filled with a lot of merchandise. Outside of the Museum is the Olympic Park which is a nice place to walk through during great weather and it has even more statues and sculptures to look at.
All in all, my visit to the Olympic Museum was VERY enjoyable. The entire museum is well done and it’s extremely interactive. There is a LOT of information to gather! Plus, Ouchy Lausanne is a beautiful place to visit on its own. It’s a beautiful city right on the lake. Once you leave the museum, you just have to cross the street and you are right there along the lake! If you are a fan of the Olympics and you happen to be in Switzerland, this is definitely worth a visit.
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© Semi-Charmed Life