Social activity

A look back at the history of sport on the shores of Lake Geneva

Lausanne and physical exercise and sport have a long history. Aside from the close relationship established almost 100 years ago between the city and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Lausanne is more broadly a place where physical exercise and sport (gymnastics, shooting, modern sports) developed throughout the 19th century. In 1906, Pierre de Coubertin considered the Lake Geneva area to be a strong place for modern sports in Europe, and imagined that the actual University territory could become a modern Olympia.

The aim of this walk is to going back to this history, retracing more than 100 years of physical exercise and sport in Lausanne through some of its most emblematic landmarks: the Dorigny sports campus, the IOC headquarters, the Pierre de Coubertin and Juan Antonio Samaranch stadiums, the Bellerive swimming pool and, last but not the least, the courts of the Stade-Lausanne tennis clubs (where the gala dinner will be held).

The walk will take place along the lakefront, in the natural and car-free setting of the Parc Bourget and using the facilities created for the 1964 Swiss National Exhibition, with views of the Alps all along the way.

The walk is proposed by Dr. Philippe Vonnard.

Senior Researcher at the University of Fribourg (Department of Contemporary History) and Lecturer at the University of Lausanne (Institute of Sports Science), Philippe is a specialist in international sports relations and the history of leisure and sports in Switzerland, He well acquainted with the sporting history of the city of Lausanne. He regularly organizes “Olympic” or “sports” tours of the city for foreign colleagues and students.

In case of bad weather, an alternative programme on site will be proposed.