Flame of Peace was lit at the unforgettable ceremony in Rome
With just 50 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, today in a memorable ceremony, the Flame of Peace was lit at the Ara Pacis altar in Rome, marking the start of the Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) Maribor 2023. The Flame of Peace will serve as a reminder of unity and harmony until and throughout the festival.
Today, May 31, 2023, in the morning, the OFEM Maribor 2023 team, together with members of the Municipality of Maribor (MOM) and the Olympic Committee of Slovenia, visited the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Rome, where they met with Ambassador Matjaž Logar. They discussed current affairs and the long-awaited European Youth Olympic Festival in Maribor.
Lunch was held later at the Internazionali Di Tennis Foro Italico with members of the EOC, the MOM delegation and the OKS. The lunch was also attended by the President of the European Olympic Committee (EOC), Spyros Capralos.
After lunch, the OFEM 2023 Maribor delegation went to the rehearsal for the ceremony of receiving the Flame of Peace.
The Highly Anticipated Shine Ceremony
With just 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.
In a memorable ceremony, the Flame of Peace, symbolizing unity and harmony, has been lit at the Ara Pacis altar in Rome marking the start of the Summer European Youth Olympic Festival Maribor 2023.
Spyros Capralos, President of the European Olympic Committee (EOC), presented the President of the Slovenian Olympic Committee Franjo Bobinac and the Mayor of the Municipality of Maribor Aleksander Saša Arsenovič with the EOC Olive Tree, which signifies the peaceful competition that will take place in July. The Ara Pacis altar, serving as a timeless symbol of unity and harmony, provided an ideal backdrop for this momentous occasion.
Looking ahead to the Festival, President Capralos expressed his gratitude to the Organizing Committee and Slovenian officials for their preparations, ensuring that Europe’s best young athletes will have the opportunity to compete in a top-level international multi-sport event.
Capralos continued: “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.
He emphasized the profound impact that EYOF has on the young athletes, enabling them to fulfil their dreams, make lifelong memories, and most importantly, grow as people thanks to their experiences.
President Capralos further highlighted the educational aspect of the EYOF saying: “The young people who participate have the chance to learn about 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.”
The president of EOC remembered the first edition of EYOF in 1991 emphasising how through the years the festival served as a stepping stone for numerous athletes, with 44 of them having earned medals at both an EYOF and Olympic Games or Olympic Winter Games. With the upcoming edition in Slovenia, there is great anticipation that the next generation of remarkable men and women will join this esteemed list of achievers.
Come for sports, stay for the culture
The mayor of Maribor, Aleksander Saša Arsenovič thanked for the opportunity to host Summer EYOF in Maribor, Slovenia and added: “EYOF is not only about sports, but also about volunteering, bringing together young people from 48 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.”
He warmly invited everyone present to Maribor saying: “So come for the sports, stay for the culture and knowledge. Enjoy the warmth and hospitality that make our city so special. We can not wait to see what this amazing city has in store for the future, especially for the EYOF 2023, when the whole city will be united under one Olympic meaning, one purpose and one event.”
As the Flame of Peace continues to burn brightly, the countdown to the EYOF Maribor 2023 intensifies. Maribor is ready for an extraordinary sporting spectacle that will unite young athletes from across Europe and inspire them to strive for excellence while embracing the spirit of fair play, unity and harmony.
The EYOF in Maribor takes place between 23 and 29 July with more than 3,600 athletes competing in 11 sports and is the 17th summer edition.
PHOTO: Sašo Bizjak (Večer)