The Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) Maribor 2023 Flame of Peace was lit yesterday at the Ara Pacis altar in Rome.
European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Spyros Capralos presented President of the Slovenian Olympic Committee Franjo Bobinac and Mayor of the Municipality of Maribor Aleksander Saša Arsenovič with the EOC Olive Tree and the Flame of Peace, which signify the peaceful competition that will take place in July. The Ara Pacis altar was built as a symbol of peace and unity.
With almost 50 days to go until the Opening Ceremony on 23 July, Slovenia’s former Ski Cross World Champion Filip Flisar kept the Flame at the end of a memorable ceremony, which was hosted by five-time Italian national figure-skating champion Valentina Marchei.
As he looked ahead to the EYOF, President Capralos thanked the Organising Committee and the Slovenian officials for their preparation and for ensuring that Europe’s best young athletes are able to compete in a top level international multi-sport event.
He said: “Slovenia will become one of five countries to have hosted both a winter and summer EYOF and I must thank the Slovenian Olympic Committee, the local authorities in Maribor and the Slovenian government for their invaluable support.
“Your dedication to Maribor 2023 will see young athletes fulfil their dreams, make lifelong memories and, most importantly, grow as people thanks to their experiences.
“That is the aim of these events. As well as competing, the young people who participate have the chance to learn about the Olympic values and different cultures. And just as they did in Italy in January, our European Young Olympic Ambassadors will play an important role in making this happen in Maribor.”
Amongst the international guests from the Olympic movement attending the ceremony was also Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) Deputy Vice President Silvia Salis and an EOC delegation, including Vice President Daina Gudzinevičiūtė, Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi and Chair of the EYOF Commission Líney Rut Halldórsdóttir.
In his speech President of the Slovenian Olympic Committee Franjo Bobinac said: “Slovenia is extremely proud and honoured to host the summer edition of European Youth Olympic Festival. We are looking forward not only to host a great international sports Festival but also the biggest multisport event ever organised in our country.
“As said many times, sport has the power to change the world, but it is also true that sport talks to the younger generations in a language they understand the best. And EYOF is about the youth.
“Our organising teams from the Municipality of Maribor and Olympic Committee of Slovenia, with high support by the EOC staff, will continue to work as a strong, united team and they will surely deliver an amazing event this summer in Maribor.”
Mayor of Maribor Aleksander Saša Arsenovič said: “EYOF is not only about sports, but also about volunteering, bringing together young people from different countries and building networks to promote sports, peace, friendship and understanding.
“I am sure that some of these young visitors, athletes and volunteers will discover our beautiful city as their new home. Maribor is a green, sustainable, modern and safe city. A city of sports, culture and festivals, a college city, a centre for innovation and creativity!”
The 17th Summer EYOF takes place in Maribor between 23 and 29 July with more than 3,600 athletes competing in 11 sports.