15 February 2019

The Closing Ceremony for the 2019 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) Sarajevo & East Sarajevo brought the curtain down tonight on a highly successful 14th edition of the winter multi-sports event for athletes aged 14 to 18.

The ceremony, held outside the City Hall in East Sarajevo, concluded five days of competition that saw Norway top the standings with 6 gold, 1 silver and 5 bronze medals. They were followed by Switzerland (5G, 5S, 2B) and France (4G, 3S, 4B). In total, 911 athletes from 46 European National Olympic Committees took part in the event, with 21 ENOCs taking home medals.

The Closing Ceremony was attended by the Chairman of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik and members of the Presidency Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović.

In a symbolic gesture, the three politicians joined the athletes in waving the #WhiteCard, a digital campaign started by Monaco-based Peace and Sport to highlight the power of sport to bring about peace, inclusion and equity.

Champion for Peace Marlene Harnois invited everyone in attendance to join the #WhiteCard movement and “contribute to spreading the vision that sport can help to change the world.”

“Sport is a powerful catalyst to bring people together, generate dialogue and provide hope for a better world,” said Harnois, a bronze-medallist in Taekwondo at the Olympic Games London 2012. “Sport is a neutral and universal platform that creates a safe and inclusive space for everybody. As athletes, we have the responsibility to use sport as a tool to move towards more peaceful relations and to give back to society.”

The European Olympic Committees (EOC) and Peace and Sport recently joined forces to promote peace and unity through sport. With the EYOF taking place in Sarajevo & East Sarajevo, there was no better moment to start the partnership and bring attention to the positive values of sport that the two organisations stand for.

The coming together of Sarajevo & East Sarajevo in hosting the EYOF was a historic moment for Bosnia and Herzegovina that showed a willingness on both sides to embrace peace and friendship through sport and to work together for a brighter future.

The Closing Ceremony began with medal presentations for the Festival’s final day of sports competition. Medals were given to athletes in curling, short track mixed relay 3000m, short track 100m boys, short track 1000m girls, cross country skiing mixed relay, biathlon mixed relay, and the Alpine skiing mixed parallel team event.

Mayor of Sarajevo Abdulah Skaka and Mayor of East Sarajevo Mayor Nenad Vuković presented the EOC flag to Mika Kilpelainen, mayor of Vuokatti, Finland, the next Winter EYOF host city in 2021. It was followed by the extinguishing of the Flame of Peace and a fireworks display.

The next summer edition of the European Youth Olympic Festival will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 21-27 July 2019.