The Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland

The Olympic Museum pays tribute to the men and women who celebrate and live the Olympic ideal: athletes of course, but also creators, architects, volunteers, all those who are committed to reviving, every wo years, the dream of Coubertin in a form each time renewed.

The museum is in a chic suburb of Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva. The collection of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne is reputed to include some 10,000 items. Sportswear being what it is, however, some pieces do tend to stick in the mind more than others. Wandering its refurbished circular galleries on a freezing cold morning last week (the museum, founded in 1993, has recently reopened following a two-year-long renovation by the British design consultancy Mather & Co),

I could barely take in the amazing amount of Lycra on display; and once you’ve seen one pair of Adidas trainers, you’ve probably seen them all. But then I found myself standing in front of a two-man bobsleigh used by the Swiss team in the 1920s. Made almost entirely of wood, it looked for all the world like the sledge I had as a child; only a Swiss flag painted on its flimsy nose marked it out as kit for competition. Nearby stood a luge from the 1960s, another terrifyingly primitive affair consisting of a simple wooden frame, a webbed seat and a set of reins for steering (they looked to me just like a toddler’s walking reins). Crikey. At last, my heart began to beat just a little faster.

Visit Switzerland. Epic Switzerland Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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