The 2023 Maribor European Youth Olympic Festival began on Sunday, 23 July 2023, with a grand opening ceremony. More than 5,000 spectators attended the opening at the stadium. Some 2,419 competitors from 48 countries will be competing in Maribor.
The solemn ceremony started with the Slovenian national anthem, the raising of the Slovenian flag and a parade of all the young athletes.
All sports disciplines that will be part of the EYOF competition were showcased at the event.
The honour of carrying the Slovenian flag on the parade went to mountain biker Maruša Tereza Šerkezi and athlete Žan Ogrinc.
The flag of the European Olympic Committee was brought to the stage by top Slovenian sportspeople, many of whom have also won Olympic medals in their careers, i.e. judoka Urška Žolnir, swimmer Anja Klinar, biathlete Klemen Bauer, athlete Rožle Prezelj, swimmer Peter Mankoč, and one of the best Slovenian athletes, skier and ambassador of the I Feel Slovenia brand, Tina Maze.
The event also featured performances by the band Joker Out, accordionists, drummers, dancers of the Bolero dance school, the Military Orchestra, opera singer Raiven, etc.
The President of the Republic, Nataša Pirc Musar, the Mayor of Maribor, Saša Arsenović, and the President of European Olympic Committees, Spyros Capralos, addressed the visitors at the Ljudski Vrt Stadium.
The President of European Olympic Committees, Spyros Capralos, said that we would see the stars of the future at EYOF.
The President of the Republic, Nataša Pirc Musar, expressed to the young people her hope that the Olympic Festival would be a celebration of sports, fulfilled dreams, friendship and mutual respect.
The Mayor of Maribor, Saša Arsenovič, stated that the EYOF competitors would certainly serve as a good example for today’s youth and that the sporting event was important for the whole of Slovenia and not only the city of Maribor.
The Olympic fire was lit by the inspiring sportsman Tim Marovt. The torch consists of 11 sections surrounding the flame. These represent 11 EYOF sports disciplines, including three new ones, i.e. skateboarding, mountain biking and 3x3 basketball.
During the Festival, the athletes and fans arriving in Maribor will be able to take photos and selfies in front of screens bearing Slovenian motifs and the I Feel Slovenia national brand in the ŠTUK atrium.
At the opening event for the highest sports representatives, Tina Maze, the ambassador of the IFS brand, said,
»During my career, I travelled to all the corners of the world, but I was most happy when I returned to Slovenia, which was always in my heart. I am proud to have cooperated for some time now with the Government Communication Office in the promotion of the I Feel Slovenia national brand.«
- The Secretary General of European Olympic Committees, Raffaele Pagnozzi, the President of European Olympic Committees, Spyros Capralos, the Ambassador of I Feel Slovenia, Tina Maze, teh Director of the Government Communication Office, Petra Bezjak Cirman, the president of the Slovenian Olympic Committee, Franjo Bobinac, the Mayor of Maribor, Saša Arsenovič. Photo: Bor Slana/STA
Tina Maze, one of the greatest Slovenian athletes of all time, showcased Slovenia as a green, clean and safe country with a varied natural environment, enabling excellent conditions for all types of sports. Maze further highlighted that, despite the country’s small size and population, we are a sport-oriented nation with top sporting achievements.
Date: 25. July 2023
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