Sports at EYOF Maribor 2023

EYOF Maribor 2023 includes competitions in the following sports:
artistic gymnastics, athletics, road cycling, mountain biking, handball, judo, swimming, tennis, volleyball, skateboarding and 3×3 basketball.

For the first time in the history of the European Youth Olympic Festival, there will be a skateboarding competition, Mountain biking and 3×3 basketball.

Artistic gymnastics

The tradition of gymnastics goes way back in history, to ancient Greece and the Olympic Games of that time. It represents the perfect combination of sport, strength and aesthetics.

Artistic gymnastics is a type of gymnastics that involves acrobatics. Gymnasts also excel in rhythmic skills and compete on different apparatuses.

As an Olympic sport, gymnastics has been present since the beginning of the modern Olympic Games, i.e. since 1896, when the Games were held in Athens. The foundations for the men’s programme were laid in 1924, while women did not compete until 1928 in Amsterdam.

  • The original term for the word gymnastics comes from ancient Greek and means “to exercise naked”, as young men at that time exercised without clothing.
  • In ancient Greece, gymnastics was used to prepare young men for war.
  • Men compete in six separate events (floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bar) and women in four events (floor exercise, vault, uneven bars, and balance beam).
  • Leon Štukelj (1898–1999) – The most successful Slovenian athlete of all time, who lived in Maribor and was a giant of world gymnastics. He won a total of 20 medals: 8 gold, 6 silver and 6 bronze. He won a total of 6 medals at the Olympic Games (in 1924, 1928 and 1936).
  • Miroslav Cerar – the second most successful Slovenian gymnast and one of the most successful Slovenian athletes of all time. He won seven medals at world championships, including five World Champion titles and fifteen medals at European Championships, including nine European Champion titles. He is also an Olympic champion and winner of three Olympic medals (first and second place in Tokyo 1964 and first place in Ciudad de Mexico 1968).
  • Aljaž Pegan –winner of multiple European and World Championships. He was the first to perform a challenging element on the horizontal bar, which is why the element is called “the Pegan”.
  • Mitja Petkovšek – two-time World and four-time European Champion.
  • Teja Belak
  • Sašo Bertoncelj


Athletics, the queen of sports, is a group of sports disciplines consisting essentially of four groups of athletic disciplines: running, throwing, jumping, and race walking. The beginnings of organized athletics date back to 776 BC, to the time of the ancient Olympic Games.

Since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, all four groups of athletic disciplines have been part of the Olympic programme. Today, the Olympic Games feature 47 athletic disciplines, 24 for men and 23 for women.

Athletics is mostly an individual sport, except for relay and team competitions.

Competitions in athletics form the basis of the modern Summer Olympics.

  • The first Olympic running track (in 776 BC) was 192 meters long, while the modern outdoor running track is 400 meters long.
  • On 20 July 2021, the International Olympic Committee approved a change to the Olympic motto that recognizes the unifying power of sport and the importance of solidarity. The word “Together” was added to the words “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”
  • Primož Kozmus – the most successful Slovenian athlete is an Olympic and World Champion. He won two Olympic medals (first place in Beijing 2008 and second place in London 2012) and three medals at world championships.
  • Jolanda Batagelj – multiple national record holder and world indoor record holder in the 800 m run. Winner of multiple medals at European Championships. Third place at the Olympic Games (Athens 2004).
  • Brigita Bukovec – national record holder and winner of multiple medals at European and World Championships. Second place at the Olympic Games (Atlanta 1996).
  • Britta Bilač
  • Gregor Cankar
  • Matic Osovnikar
  • Alenka Bikar
  • Borut Bilač
  • Marija Šestak
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3x3 Basketball

3×3 Basketball is gaining more and more recognition and prestige worldwide. Compared to other urban sports, it is currently the most widespread organized sport.
It is a game of two teams of three players with one hoop.

This form of basketball debuted at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and made its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

3×3 Basketball will make its debut at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Maribor in 2023.

  • Regular playing time is limited to 10 minutes, and the game also ends when one of the teams scores 21 points.
  • The shot clock is set at 12 seconds.
  • Luka Snoj – pioneer of Slovenian 3×3 basketball
  • Aleš Kunc
  • Milan Kovačević


Handball is one of the fastest and most popular team ball sports in the world. The origins of handball date back to ancient Greece, while the game was also played in ancient Rome and in the Middle Ages. Modern handball took shape in the late 19th century in the Scandinavian countries, particularly Denmark, Sweden and Norway and in Germany.

The first international match with newer rules was played in 1925 between the German and Belgian men’s teams and in 1930 between the German and Austrian women’s teams. The International Handball Federation (IHF) was founded in 1946.

Handball made its debut at the 11th Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936. In 1940, it was excluded from the Olympics. It developed strongly over the next few decades, returning to the Munich Olympics in 1972 due to its growing popularity. In 1976, women’s handball was added as an Olympic sport.

  • In ancient Greece, the game from which handball evolved was called “Urania”.
  • A handball player can only hold the ball in their hands for three seconds.

The Slovenian national handball team has also achieved excellent results in major international competitions. They finished second in the 2004 European Championship and third in the 2017 World Championship.


Judo is a modern Japanese martial art that developed in the late 19th century. It was officially founded around 1882. It is an unarmed martial art that involves throwing, grappling and striking techniques, standing and on the ground.

Judo was first included in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and became a regular Olympic discipline in 1972.

  • The word judo, which is composed of the words “Ju”, ”tenderness, softness, refinement” and “Do”, ”way, path, principle”, translates as ”the gentle way”, but can also mean “the way of relaxation” or ”the way of flexibility”.
  • The seven grades of progress and acquired knowledge are divided into “kyū” (beginner learners) and “dan” (master or advanced grade).
  • Tina Trstenjak –winner of multiple medals at European and World Championships. She won two Olympic medals (first place at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and second place at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020).
  • Urška Žolnir –winner of multiple medals at European and World Championships. She won two Olympic medals (first place at the 2012 London Olympics and third place at the 2004 Athens Olympics).
  • Anamari Klementina Velenšek –winner of multiple medals at European Championships. She also won an Olympic medal (third place at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro).
  • Raša Sraka –winner of multiple medals at European Championships and participant in two Olympic Games (Athens 2004 and London 2012).
  • Lucija Polavder –winner of multiple medals at European Championships. She also won an Olympic medal (third place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics).
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Mountain bike

Mountain biking is a sport of riding bicycles off-road. The best-known categories are downhill and cross-country.

Mountain biking first appeared in California in the 1970s. The first national championship in mountain biking was held in the United States in 1983. The sport also quickly became popular in Europe and Australia. The first Mountain Bike World Championship recognized by the International Cycling Union (UCI) was held in 1990.

Mountain biking made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, with individual cross-country events for both men and women.

Mountain biking will make its debut at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Maribor in 2023.

  • French athlete Eric Barone set a new world speed record of 227.7 km/h (snow surface) with a specially adapted mountain bike. Austrian athlete Max Stöck set a record of 167 km/h with a commercially available bike.
  • American professional mountain biker Cameron “Cam” Zink set a world record for the longest jump on a mountain bike, jumping as far as 36.5 metres in 2014.
  • Tanja Žakelj – multiple World, European and National Champion. 10th place at the London Olympics (2012), 13th place at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics (2016).
  • Monika Hrastnik – National and European Downhill Champion
  • Jure Žabjek
  • Luka Berginc

Road cycling

On 31 May, 1868, cycling was officially recognised as a sport with the first race taking place at Saint-Cloud Park in France. Since the mid-1980s, the sport has proliferated and professional races now take place on every continent in the world.

The first road cycling race in the history of the Olympic Games took place on a marathon course in 1896, at the first Games of the modern era in Athens.
Since 1912, this discipline has been a constant feature of the Olympic Games. At the 1984 Olympic Games, women also competed in this sport for the first time.

  • Around 1860, the first bicycles with pedals (on the front wheel) were made in France, and the design of the modern bicycle can be traced back to England (around 1869).
  • In 2018, American cyclist Denise Mueller-Korenek set a new speed record of 296 km/h (183.932 mph).
  • 123,900 calories is the average amount each rider in the Tour de France must consume in three weeks. That’s the equivalent of 200 bottles of champagne or 495 croissants. Per each stage, cyclists burn between 5,000 and 6,000 calories.
  • Primož Roglič – winner of the 2021 Olympic Time Trial, winner of the Vuelta a España (2019, 2020, 2021), second place in the Tour de France (2020), third place in the Giro di Italia (2019), winner of the Tour of Slovenia (2015, 2018).
  • Tadej Pogačar – winner of the Tour de France (2020, 2021), third place in the Vuelta a España (2019), winner of the Tour of Slovenia (2021), third place at the Olympic Games (Tokyo 2020).
  • Matej Mohorič,
  • Jan Polanc,
  • Luka Mezgec,
  • Jan Tratnik.
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Skateboarding originates from the United States and involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard.

In the 1970s, skateboarding was still a sport performed on pavements, and skateboards were designed for looks rather than functionality.

The proposal to include skateboarding in the Olympics was approved in August 2016, and skateboarding debuted at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Skateboarding will make its debut at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Maribor in 2023.

  • Around 1978, Alan “Ollie” Gelfand invented the most basic modern trick called ”the Ollie”. The Ollie is a trick where the rider and board leap into the air without the use of the rider’s hands.
  • Rodney Mullen, who is considered the most influential skater, invented majority of modern tricks. In the world of skateboarding, he is known by the nickname “the godfather of street skateboarding”.
  • Skateboarding is today considered one of the 10 most popular sports in the world.


Swimming is an individual or team sport. It is one of the most popular Olympic sports, taking place in swimming pools or open waters.

Internationally, competitive swimming became important with its inclusion in the Olympic Games of the modern era, from their inception in 1896. Originally, only men competed in the Olympics, while women joined in 1912.

  • Swimming pools for world championships and similar competitions must be 50 meters long and 25 meters wide. They must have ten lanes marked from zero to nine (or one to ten in some pools). Individual lanes must be at least 2.5 meters wide.
  • These competitions are held in the disciplines of freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly.
  • Sara Isaković – her numerous top achievements also include the second place at the Beijing Olympics (2008)
  • Peter Mankoč
  • Anja Čarman
  • Anja Klinar
  • Metka Sparavec
  • Katja Fain


Tennis emerged in England in the late 19th century and over time became an extremely popular sport played around the world. After 1876, tennis spread throughout the Old Continent. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which at that time included Slovenian territories, Slovenian students learned about tennis and brought it to their home country. Around 1880, tennis was already played in Ljubljana and Maribor.

Tennis has been represented at the Summer Olympics since the first Summer Olympics in Athens in 1896 but was abandoned after the 1924 Summer Olympics.

Tennis was reintroduced at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and has been a constant feature in the Summer Olympics ever since.

  • Ivan Tavčar (lawyer, politician and writer) was the first Slovene to build a tennis court on his estate in Visoko in 1897.
  • Venus and Serena Williams were the first sisters to win an Olympic gold medal in tennis.
  • The most prestigious international tournaments are the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open.
  • Mima Jaušovec – from Maribor and the only Slovenian female tennis player to win one of the four Grand Slam tournaments (French Open, 1977).
  • Tamara Zidanšek – the first Slovenian tennis player who managed to win the quarterfinals and qualify for the semi-finals of the French Open (2021) in the history of independent Slovenia.
  • Katarina Srebotnik
  • Blaž Kavčič
  • Polona Hercog
  • Grega Žemlja
  • Tina Pisnik (Maribor)
  • Tadeja Majerič (Maribor)


The inventor of volleyball is officially considered to be William G. Morgan, a professor of physical education at YMCA Holyoke High School in the United States. In 1895, Morgan combined the basic elements of tennis and handball and developed a game, which he originally called “Mintonette”.

The first men’s World Cup was held in Czechoslovakia in 1949, won by the Soviet Union. The women’s World Cup was first held in 1952 in the former Soviet Union.

The International Olympic Committee recognized volleyball as a non-Olympic sport in 1949 and volleyball made its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 1964.

  • The longest recorded volleyball match was played in Kingston, North Carolina (USA). The match lasted 75 hours and 30 minutes.
  • We knowThere are several types of volleyball such as indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, snow volleyball, and sitting volleyball.
  • Most volleyball players jump about 300 times per game.
Rok Možič from Maribor is considered one of the most promising volleyball players. He is also the youngest member of the Slovenian national volleyball team. The Slovenian national volleyball team has won the second place at European Championships three times (2015, 2019, 2021).