Stunning Opening Ceremony begins the Winter European Youth Olympic Festival Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023

The Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 kicked off yesterday with a stunning Opening Ceremony in the multicultural city of Trieste.

Piazza Unità D’Italia was the venue as the 16th edition of the Winter EYOF, hosted in Italy with competitions also in Slovenia and Austria, was officially declared open by Italian Minister of Sport Mr Andrea Abodi on Saturday evening.

More than 1300 athletes from 47 NOCs and 1200 volunteers will spend the next week putting on a show for the spectators as the European Olympic Committees (EOC) hosts the continent’s only international multisport event for young athletes.

The athletes, aged 14-18, will compete in 109 competitions across 14 different sports over the course of the next seven days.

Italian Jonathan Milan, Tokyo 2020 gold medallist in track cycling, lit the EYOF 2023 cauldron through the Flame of Peace to close proceedings.
Joining the Minister of Sport, Italian Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malagò, EYOF Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 President Massimiliano Fedriga, EOC President Spyros Capralos and EOC Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi were all in attendance at the ceremony.

The same icy weather that has guaranteed fantastic snow for the athletes, unfortunately meant proceedings were shortened due to the strong winds but EOC President Spyros Capralos commented:

“This 16th winter edition of the European Youth Olympic Festival marks the passing 30 years since the first-ever winter EYOF, which also took place in Italy, in Aosta.

“As a European Olympic family, it is crucial that we recognise and play our own role in protecting the mountain environment for generations to come. With our partners, we have taken a responsible approach to staging this festival with a “no build” philosophy and a regional approach.

“I am also sure that we here are equally united in thanking our hosts for their enormous work and generosity in organising this festival.”

The first day of competition starts with fresh deep mountain snow today, Sunday 22 January, and will see seven action packed days of sport until the Closing Ceremony on Saturday 28 January.

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