To the tune of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, a musical performance that introduced Bosnia’s national and cultural heritage and fireworks, Sarajevo opened on Sunday evening the 2019 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOF).
The opening ceremony kicked off with Vucko, the wolf-like mascot of the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, entering the ‘Asim Ferhatovic Hase’ stadium.
The official mascot of the games, which will take place from February 9 to February 16, is a smiling snowball called Groodvy.
Bosnian judoka Larisa Ceric lit the ‘Flame of Peace’ and a ceremonial unit of Bosnia’s Armed Forces brought in the country’s flag while the Army orchestra played the national anthem.
After participants from 46 countries marched into the stadium in alphabetical order, the program continued with a musical spectacle. Mayor of Sarajevo, Abdulah Skaka, and mayor of Istočno Sarajevo welcomed the participants and the guests.
The games were officially opened by the Chairman of Bosnia’s Presidency, Milorad Dodik.
“Under the flags of their countries, youth from all around the world is fighting in a knightly and honourable way, defending the honours of sport and their nations and of all people,” he said. Dodik thanked the youth “which enabled the OIympic flame to return here.”
“We have the Flame of Peace again, which was lit here, in the city where several decades ago the Olympic Games took place,” he said.
“We all won. This organisation, the opening of this event is a victory for all of us and for those who did not believe in it,” he added.