“There is something magical about youth competitions. It is a chance to see talented athletes before they become big stars and celebrities". (Patrick HICKEY, 2011,s.l.)
The European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) is the top multisport event for young European athletes between the ages of 14 and 18. There are both a winter and summer edition, which take place in two-year cycles, in odd years. The European Youth Olympic Festival belongs to the European Olympic Committees (EOC), and is organised on behalf of the EOC, which has the exclusive rights to the event. The EYOFs are held under the patronage of the IOC.
The EYOF is regulated by the EOC Articles of Association as well as the regulations contained in the EYOF Charter and other EYOF rules and regulations. These govern, among other aspects, all that which concerns the duration, the Bidding Procedure and the election of the Host City, together with the General Organisation of the EYOF.
By founding an important sports event for youth, Europe has kept in step with the tradition of other continents – e.g. the Asian and Panama Games. Both the summer and winter Festivals command high prestige: they include both opening and closing ceremonies; the Olympic flame burns throughout the entire time of the Festival; athletes, judges and coaches take their oaths; and when announcing the best athletes, the national anthem is played in honour of the winner and the flags of all medallists are hoisted.
Approximately 3,600 participants take part in the summer Festivals, whilst at the winter Festivals there are around 1,600 participants. Important state representatives and politicians are regular guests and great fans of these competitions.
“For young athletes, both winter and summer European Festivals mean the same as the Olympic Games to seniors”. (Milan JIRÁSEK, 2010, Press conference Liberec)
The EYOFs are overseen by the EOC EYOF Commission, one of the EOC’s expert commissions, responsible for the administration, monitoring and control of the EYOFs. The EYOF Commission is chaired by Mr Guido de Bondt (BEL).
What else is the EYOF?
- The pride of the EOC with 23 years of tradition
- A first Olympic experience for young athletes
- A take-off platform for future sports stars
- A great opportunity for European cities
- An important means of promoting sport and Olympic values
- A European get- together – a meeting point for young athletes from 49 NOC’s
- An Opportunity to educate and motivate youth and the general public to do sport and adopt a healthy life style