A Colosseum survived from Roman Antiquity: it was the first impression that Christiane Nill had when approaching the Vortex. “The building is very rhythmic in its construction. When you get there at night, with all the flags in front, it’s almost like you’re approaching a stadium, “said the photographer. Very interested in the dialogue between architecture and human life, she spent, for Time, several days to examine the way in which the young athletes of Lausanne 2020 have appropriated their Olympic village.
The entire photo report: YOG 2020: images of athletes in the Vortex
Never before have all the delegations of an edition of the Olympic Games, whether young or not, found themselves united in one and the same building. Circular in shape, the Vortex can accommodate around 1,000 residents in its 712 housing units, all linked by a single 2.8 kilometer ramp. And nearly 2,400 square meters of common space calls for living together.
The Gruyère twins Thomas and Robin Bussard spent a week there. Time to win two medals each in the ski mountaineering events, and soak up the spirit of the place. “It is a very interesting experience to live with representatives of other nations as well as other sports,” said the first. “We often went to the cafe in the inner courtyard to meet new people,” adds his brother. It is time for them to pack their bags. We must make room for the second wave of young athletes, those who will be involved in the competitions on the program until Wednesday.
Also read: At the YOG, give time to time
During the day, while events take place from the French Jura to the Vaud Alps, the Vortex empties. “It’s very calm,” says Christiane Nill. The animation resumes around 4:00 pm, when everyone returns. “The photographer then had fun watching the meetings. “I noticed that everyone here is very open. Confidence reigns. Some still travel in groups. We also see inseparable friends, who sometimes do not represent the same country. ”But village life does not prevent us from staying connected with the outside world. “It is very striking to see that almost all young people are hooked on their cell phones,” she said.
From the central courtyard, you can see people jogging upstairs, inside or outside, along the rooms. “Some pass in front of the windows of others. It’s great from a community perspective, but it’s not without privacy implications, ”said Christiane Nill.
Hunting for pine trees
Robin Bussard says he has “nothing negative” to say about the Vortex and how it works. A head of delegation however slipped to Christiane Nill that in such a context calling for sharing, keeping young athletes focused on their sporting objectives is a challenge. There is entertainment, noise, music, educational activities on offer.
“Young people love it,” she smiles. Those who think about their results see it more as a potential distraction. There is an extreme ski camp side. “A volunteer walks by and laughs:” After the YOG, the Vortex will welcome students. To organize parties, this will be the perfect place. And that’s what the studies are for, right? ”Meanwhile, alcohol is banned on site and the curfew is set at 10 p.m.
Over the course of the shots, Christiane Nill ended up observing that at the Vortex, “architecture, very strong, tends to crush humans”. The building nevertheless remains at the service of its residents. On the ground floor, there is a medical center, a space dedicated to a scientific approach to performance, as well as places to raise awareness of different themes likely to have an impact on the careers of young athletes. They take advantage of it … if they have the time, and if they want to. Some prefer to indulge in an age-old Olympic discipline: the exchange of pins from all countries. “It’s amazing how well this activity works,” smiles the photographer. She herself finished her report with a pin offered by a member of the Danish delegation.