Dear Colleagues,

Dear Friends,

Over the past month, the world has continued to watch in horror as the war in Ukraine unfolds. In these deeply distressing times, our sincere thoughts remain with the people of Ukraine and we urgently pray for peace.

In times of darkness, it is important to look for light and in this context I must commend the European Olympic Movement for the manner in which unity and solidarity with the Ukrainian Olympic Community have come to the fore.

It is truly heart-warming to have seen the way in which the European National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have supported our friends in Ukraine. Indeed, we saw the impact of this first hand in Vuokatti, Finland, during the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), where multiple NOCs provided assistance to the young Ukrainian athletes to ensure they could travel, compete, and learn alongside their European peers.

Despite their young age, the Ukrainian athletes became role models for people across Europe and made what was an unforgettable event even more special. With 46 NOCs gathered under the Flame of Peace in the stunning city of Vuokatti, the European Olympic family witnessed its first multisport event since the start of the pandemic and it was a reminder of the immense power of sport.

The Vuokatti 2022 Organising Committee and the Finnish Olympic Committee deserve the utmost praise for delivering an exceptional event, particularly with the additional challenges they faced. It was a record-breaking event both on and off the field of play, and I was particularly proud that it was the first gender equal EYOF. Following the EOC’s celebration of International Women’s Day earlier in the month, I was thrilled to see further concrete steps taken in support of our ambition to promote equality in all areas.

The past month has also featured a number of important meetings of the EOC. An Executive Committee meeting took place during the EYOF in Vuokatti, where a number of key topics were discussed and decisions taken, whilst further progress on the EOC Strategic Agenda 2030 was made.

Furthermore, EOC and IOC athlete representatives, as well as the EOC leadership, participated in a highly productive meeting with Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Commissioner for ‘Promoting our European Way of Life’.

Fuelled by the energy from the successful EYOF, we now look forward to the summer edition in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, in several months’ time. The Flame Ceremony will take place in Rome on 30 May, before the competitions begin on 24 July.

It is a great feeling to see a sense of normality return to our sporting calendar, as after all, sport brings out the best in every one of us.

The situation in Ukraine has brought perspective to many of our lives and encouraged us all to be more selfless, more giving and more caring to others. I must praise EOC Vice President Daina Gudziniviciute for setting an excellent example in this regard, after she donate her Olympic gold medal to support the people of Ukraine, and I urge you all to stay united through sport in the weeks and months ahead.

With best EurOlympic greetings,

Spyros Capralos