End of the Year Message from EOC President Spyros Capralos
On this rare occasion where an Olympic year ends followed immediately by another Olympic year, it is also a fitting moment to look back on all that we accomplished in 2021 while remaining resolutely focused on the many tasks at hand for 2022.
Following my election as President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in June, I immediately started working on behalf of all 50 European National Olympic Committees and especially our athletes, who were by then deep into preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In Tokyo, I took the time to watch and meet with as many of our European athletes as possible. Thanks to your support, European Olympians claimed almost 50% of the medals in Tokyo. Athletes from 40 ENOCs returned home with at least one medal, some for the first time. These are impressive figures that definitely show that the Olympic Movement in Europe continues to be on the right track.
I think you will all agree that Tokyo 2020 provided the world with much-needed hope and inspiration, and we look forward to more of the same in February at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
In addition we have a succession of our own events to look forward to in 2022 as well, including not one but two European Youth Olympic Festivals: Vuokatti 2022 in March and Banská Bystrica 2022 in July. The Winter and Summer editions, respectively, were both postponed due to the pandemic but thanks to a great deal of flexibility, perseverance and collaboration, both are set to offer our brightest young athletes the platform they deserve in 2022.
We must also continue to focus on our flagship event, the European Games, scheduled to take place in Krakow & Malopolska in 2023. With a dynamic sports programme already featuring 16 Olympic sports with qualifying opportunities for Paris 2024, I have every confidence that these will be the best European Games so far. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to Coordination Commission Chair Hasan Arat and Polish NOC President Andrzej Kraśnicki for the tremendous amount of hard work they have put in to make the 3rd edition of the Games a success.
On a more administrative but no less important level, the EOC will continue to develop our Strategic Agenda 2030 in the coming year, with the aim of submitting the roadmap for approval at our next General Assembly, scheduled for 11-12 June in Skopje, North Macedonia.
We were delighted with the volume of input we received from you at our Seminar in Samorin in November, all of which is being analysed and included in the report so, the EOC can ultimately better support and our 50 ENOCs in the decade ahead.
We will be aided in this quest by a superb new EOC Executive Committee that was elected in June, as well as our recently named EOC Commissions for the 2021-2025 period. For the first time in EOC history, eight women now sit on the Executive Committee, compared to two in the previous 2017-2021 period, while we also worked to significantly improve the gender balance on our Commissions.
Despite the lingering pandemic, I truly feel that we have every reason to be optimistic heading into the new year. The sports world stepped up once again in 2021 to light the path forward and provide hope, inspiration and comfort to humanity, and we have shown that by working together in a spirit of friendship, excellence and respect, we can indeed overcome any obstacle.
I wish you all a festive winter period and look forward to seeing you again in 2022, full of renewed energy for the future of the Olympic Movement in our continent.
With EurOlympic wishes for a prosperous new year,