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The Olympic Museum in Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

The sightseeing highlight of Lausanne’s lakefront Ouchy district is The Olympic Museum, which celebrates the history of the Olympics and the founder of the modern games, Pierre de Coubertin. Exhibits explore the Greek origins of the games, the evolution of sports equipment, and the Olympics’ mission to promote world peace.

Complete Video Script

The real charm of Lausanne lies on its lakefront, a district called Ouchy. What was once an aristocratic promenade is now the happy domain of commoners, office workers and roller skaters strutting their stuff. Romantic old-time steamers connect travelers scenically to points all around Lake Geneva. On a crisp day you can see the French Alps; Chamonix and Mount Blanc are just out of sight.

Ouchy's sightseeing highlight is a fine park and museum devoted to the Olympic Games. This museum celebrates the colorful history of the Olympics and the founder of the modern games, Pierre de Coubertin. In 1896, after a 1,500 year lapse — and in the spirit of world peace — he restarted the games.

The exhibit traces the history of the Olympics. Artifacts recall its original ancient Greek beginnings. A century's worth of ceremonial torches speaks to the resilient majesty of an event that endeavors to bring the world together. Highlights from past Olympiads rekindle the thrill of these quadrillenial games. A section dedicated to the Paralympics celebrates recent inclusivity. Sports fans enjoy recalling their heroes: from the track shoes Carl Lewis used in the 1984 LA games to the skates of Sonja Henie — the 13-year-old Norwegian ice queen. Surveying gear from each sport, you can follow the evolution of equipment that was clearly state of the art…in its day.

And you can complete your tour with a look at how the bronze, silver and gold medals have changed over the years.