Another important event is about to begin exactly one month after the Olympic Games in Beijing ended. Sixty athletes from the Czech Republic will participate in the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Vuokatti, Finland, which will become the stage for a thousand youth athletes.
„For me, the EYOF is the culmination of the season. The entire team has put a lot of work into getting ready, and we hope to do our best. And even though I was sick for a week, we trained hard, and I hope that the results will show,” says cross-country skier Matyáš Bauer, the son of triple Olympic medalist Lukáš Bauer and grandson of Helená Šikolová, who herself had won an Olympic bronze. „I am really looking forward to this great event with its atmosphere resembling the Olympics.”
The European Youth Olympic Festival is a wonderful idea. The athletes will experience the principles of Olympism.
The best 14–18-year-old athletes go to the EYOF. For example, the national junior women’s ice hockey team will play Switzerland and Hungary at the group stage. Other competitions include ski jumping, Alpine skiing, Nordic combined, cross-country skiing, speed skating, figure skating, snowboarding and biathlon.
“The European Youth Olympic Festival is a wonderful idea. The athletes will experience the principles of Olympism and meet their peers from other countries. They will cheer for each other,” says Anna Dušková, a retired figure skater who will become a EYOF Ambassador in Vuokatti; she experienced the festival herself in 2015. She represented the Czech Republic at the Youth Olympic Games and at the Winter Olympic Games in 2018.
Biathlete Petr Hák and figure skater Michaela Vrašťáková carried the Czech flag in the official opening ceremony.