Kugy the marmot is the official mascot of the European Youth Olympic Festival Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023
A marmot named “Kugy” is the official mascot of the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023. Kugy was presented in the magical setting of Piazza Unità d’Italia, Trieste, in the presence of the President of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, Massimiliano Fedriga.
Designed by Paolo Venuti and manufactured by TRUDI Spa, the Tarcento based company known worldwide for the quality and style of its soft toys, the marmot reflects many of the values of the EYOF and the Friuli Venezia Giulia region that will host the event from 21 to 28 January 2023.
President of the Organising Committee, Maurizio Dünnhofer, explained the rational for the choice of the marmot, saying, “The small rodent is one of the symbols of the mountains. With its sociable nature, it likes to live in groups, in colonies organised similarly to a family. It is a herbivore, feeding on grasses and herbaceous plants, shoots and roots, flowers, fruits and bulbs, from which it obtains the water it needs. It is a resilient species, perfectly adapted to the Alpine arc of Friuli Venezia Giulia, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is environmentally friendly, like the event we are organising, and sustainable in many ways.”
The mascot will feature at all events related to the 16th winter edition of the EYOF, including the journey of the torch known as the “Road to EYOF2023”.
“Friuli Venezia Giulia is an ensemble of different cultures and territories,” President Fedriga stated at the press conference, “The mountaineer Julius Kugy, who inspired the name of our mascot, is the perfect synthesis of our region, located in the heart of Central Europe. A Carinthian father, a Slovenian-speaking mother from Trieste, born in Gorizia, he studied in Trieste and was a great lover and connoisseur of the Julian Alps, which he climbed frequently and opened more than fifty new routes with the help of local guides. As a mountaineer, but also as a musician and botanist, we chose him as a reference figure because of his teachings in ethics and civilisation”.
President Fedriga expressed his gratitude to those who believed in this opportunity to unite Europe and bring a continental multisport event for young athletes to the region.
The President of the Organising Committee, Maurizio Duennhofer, stated that the Opening Ceremony of EYOF Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 will take place in the wonderful Piazza Unità d’Italia, which will welcome the arrival of the torch on 21 January 2023.The official lighting of the Flame of Peace will take place on 4 November in the Ara Pacis in Rome, marking the start of the Torch relay that will touch symbolic Italian regions and cities, conveying the spirit of the Games with messages of friendship and unity.