The 2020 Lausanne Winter Youth Olympics are humming along, with several majors sports — figure skating, biathlon, alpine skiing, ski mountaineering, and speed skating — all done and in the books.
As a nation, Canada is still looking for its first medals of the games. But curiously, a pair of Canadian athletes won bronze two days ago.
How does that work exactly?
It all speaks to a really cool aspect of these Youth Olympics that we're going to talk about right now.
Mixed NOC teams.
What's an NOC?
NOC stands for National Olympic Committee. In a nutshell, this is the organization in any nation that puts together its Olympic team. Canada has one. So does China. Russia. United States. You get the idea.
Canadian Olympians play for their country. But they're organized by Canada's NOC.
What is a mixed NOC team?
A mixed NOC team is basically a bunch of athletes from different nations that are playing together. Though the main Olympics don't really use it, the Youth Olympics have been. And it makes sense why.
For decades, the main message of the Olympics has been using friendly but intense competition to develop a sense of peace and togetherness around the world. A mixed NOC team takes that one step further by having events where athletes from different countries come together and play side-by-side.
What sports use mixed teams?
There are five mixed NOC team events in four sports at Lausanne 2020.
- Figure skating — Team
- Ice hockey — Women's and Men's 3-on-3
- Speed skating — Team sprint
- Short track speed skating — Team relay
How did Canada do?
You might expect that the Canadians that won the bronze were on one of the 3-on-3 ice hockey teams. Because, you know. Canada. But it's not true (especially since the 3-on-3 teams were made of athletes whose countries hadn't qualified for the main 6-team men's and women's tournaments).
The medals went to a pair of figure skaters: Bruce Waddell and Natalie D'Alessandro. They skated on Team Vision alongside Sofiia Nesterova and Artem Darenskyi of Ukraine, Andrei Mozalev of Russia, and Regina Schermann of Hungary. What a cool experience! The pair from Toronto joined CBC Sports reporter Devin Heroux in the video below.
Two proud 🇨🇦Canadian figure skaters.
I caught up with Ice Dance Pair Natalie D’Alessandro and Bruce Waddell downtown Lausanne moments after receiving their bronze medals.
— Devin Heroux (@Devin_Heroux) January 15, 2020
What's to come?
Of course, there's still more left to play for in Lausanne. And that includes a few sports that Canadians have high hopes in, including snowboarding, short track speed skating, bobsleigh, and, yep, ice hockey.
We'll be keeping an eye on it all as the best teen athletes in the world go head-to-head... as well as side-by-side!