What is the European Youth Olympic Festival ?
The EYOF is geared towards teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 selected by the 48 European National Olympic Committees.It is a multi-disciplinary event placed under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and features two editions :
- the winter edition:ice sports and skiing,
- the summer edition:athletics, cycling, gymnastics, judo, swimming table tennis, basket ball, football, hand ball and volley ball.
Both the winter and summer editions take place during the same year.Since 1991, the EYOF has been held every two years.
Mr Yvan Slavkov, President of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee, a member of the IOC, suggested setting up a competition for young Europeans within a multi-disciplinary context for the first time in 1985.
The idea was set in motion when the Dutch Olympic Committee decided in 1987, as part of the celebrations to mark its 74th anniversary, to organise a meeting in which young people from Italy and Great Britain were invited to take part in a programme featuring 11 sports disciplines.
The meeting was a success.Convinced of its utility, Chevalier Raoul Mollet, President of the Belgian Olympic and inter-federal Committee, was eager to organise a similar event in Brussels in 1989 and invited 12 countries from the European Community to take part.
In 1991 the project finally took off, under the presidency of Dr Jacques Rogge, also the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Europe and now the President of the International Olympic Committee.The event was open to 33 countries in Europe in order to promote exchange throughout the continent without exception.In order to give the event a true cultural flavour the “Olympic Days” became the “Olympic Festival”.The first summer EYOF took place in Brussels in July 1991.
Sponsored by the IOC and the EEC which provided a large part of the funding, the first European Youth Olympic Festival, organised by the Belgian Olympic Committee, convinced all the leaders of the sports movement who were present of its worth.
The ANOCE which has since been renamed the Association of European Olympic Committees (EOC), has now included this event in its calendar of major bi-annual youth sport events.The basic principles of these Festivals are directly inspired by the Olympic Charter.
The first edition of the EYOF was held in 2003: the winter edition in Bled and the summer edition in Paris.
Two years later, from 18th to 23rd February 2007, a Monegasque athlete, one of the Monegasque Skiing Federation’s young hopes, Yoann Orecchia, accompanied by his coach, Marc Faraut and the Head of mission, Jacques Pastor, took part in this Festival which was held in Jaca in Spain.
He took part in the slalom and giant slalom events. The Monegasque delegation took part in various official ceremonies according to the following programme:
- Sunday 18th February at 7 p.m. in Jaca : Opening ceremony
- Monday 19th February: Freestyle skiing on the slalom slope,
- Tuesday 20th February: Slalom in Astun,
- Wednesday 21st February: Freestyle skiing on the slalom slope,
- Thursday 22nd February: Giant slalom in Candanchu,
- Friday 23rd February: Closing ceremony in Jaca.
Yoann Orecchia with Jacques Pastor, Head of Mission
During the events, Yoann achieved a very good ranking considering the high standard of the participants:
- 47th in the slalom out of 110 competitors,
- 33rd in the giant slalom with the same number of competitors at the start, proving that he made his very best effort to represent the Principality.
Yoann returned to Monaco enriched by this experience and all the more motivated to continue his sports career and improve his results. As his predecessor Olivier Jenot who represented the Principality at the previous edition in Monthey, Yoann felt and appreciated the Olympic spirit and now dreams of taking part in the “real” games…
The 9th edition of the European Youth Olympic Festival took place in Śląsk-Beskidy (Poland) from 15th to 20th February 2009. A young Monegasque from the Monegasque Skiing Federation, Arnaud Alessandria, took part in the Festival. Arnaud took part in the Alpine skiing slalom and giant slalom events, the first event having been cancelled due to bad weather conditions.
The 10th edition of the European Youth Olympic Summer Festival took place in Tempere (Finlande) from 19 to 24 Jully 2010.