A week of the Olympic atmosphere in Bosnia and Herzegovina formally came to an end with a closing ceremony of the winter edition of the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Istocno Sarajevo on Friday, February 15.
The ceremony has wrapped up the first Olympic event in this country since the majestic 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics, which managed to restore the essence of the winter Olympics through synergy of host cities Sarajevo and Istocno Sarajevo.
Since this biggest multi-sport event for European youth ceremonially kicked off with the burning flame at the stadium ‘Asim Ferhatovic Hase’ in Sarajevo, on February 10, around 1,600 young athletes between the age of 14 and 18, from 46 countries, competed in eight winter sports. EYOF participants thus provided exciting, skillful performances in alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, short track speed skating, snowboarding, and curling.
Participants from Norway won a total of 12 medals - six gold, one silver, and five bronze medals - making them the EYOF team with the largest number of gold medals at this edition of the youth Olympics. They are followed by participants from Switzerland with 12 medals - five gold, five silver, and two bronze - and the team from France with 11 medals, four gold, three silver and four bronze. All results during EYOF are available on the event’s official website.
This year the EYOF’s snowball-shaped official mascot named Groodvy has joined its older, more experienced wolf mascot of the 1984 Winter Olympics, Vucko, in embodying the Olympic spirit that indubitably carries on living in this area.
For the sake of uninterrupted mobility of EYOF participants, bus transportation company ‘Centrotrans’, as the EYOF official transport partner, organized and coordinated over 70 high-capacity tourist buses, minibuses, and freight vehicles, alongside three service teams for intervention to secure a regular, accurate and high-quality transportation from one venue to another.
The closing ceremony took place in front of the City Administration in Istocno Sarajevo, marking a successful completion of EYOF with the symbolic act of putting out the Olympic flame. The ceremony was attended by the event’s organizers, participants and representatives of national Olympic Committees, volunteers, and VIP guests including this country’s high-ranking officials and diplomats. The Olympic torch was formally handed over to the delegation of the Finland’s town of Vuokatti, which is hosting the next winter EYOF, in 2021.
As the host of the closing ceremony, Mayor of Istocno Sarajevo Nenad Vukovic congratulated the athletes for the achieved results, and thanked everyone who took part in organizing the festival. “We absolutely needed this flame of peace, which we recently brought from Rome”, underlined Vukovic.
Mayor of Sarajevo Abdulah Skaka pointed out that sports, youth and future were the true winners of EYOF. “Thanks to EYOF, we met and hosted these lovely people from other countries. We gathered around a project that connected us with great values”, said Skaka.
Addressing attendees at the ceremony, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik stated that this was a major event that brought together everyone, adding that “it was high time to send such an image from this area”. Dodik commended the two host cities for their good cooperation that resulted in success, achieved through support of all authority levels. “This was an opportunity for our people to show that they are traditionally good hosts”, said Dodik, calling on the youth to be good promoters of hospitality of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The European Youth Olympic Festival, as the top European multi-sport event for youth, includes a winter and a summer edition taking place in two-year cycles, in odd-numbered years. EYOF belongs to the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and takes place under the Olympic flag. It is a gateway to the Olympic Games, with many previous medalists having proceeded to win the medals at the Olympic Games, while it also aims to promote a healthy lifestyle among youth.