On Sunday evening, the official Closing Ceremony brought the 3rd European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023 to its finish line. At the Henryk Reyman Municipal Stadium in Krakow, over 20 000 spectators watched a dance and vocal spectacle featuring hundreds of dancers and well known Polish artists. The symbol of the finale of the great festival of sport was the extinguishing of the torch with the Fire of Peace.
The originator of the European Games and its organiser is the European Olympic Committees. Based in the Italian capital, Rome, the organisation has 50 members, which are national Olympic committees from across the continent. Poland is represented in this association by the Polish Olympic Committee, which has been in existence since 1919. The third edition of the Games was also the first to be held in the European Union. Almost 7,000 athletes took part, competing for 253 gold medals in 26 arenas in 13 cities.
The Closing Ceremony was opened with a film showing the beauty of Malopolska, the host region, and a dance etude prepared by Egurrola Dance Studio, which referred to the values guiding the sporting rivalry.
After the singing of the national anthem by a choir accompanied by the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sebastian Perłowski, “Mala Armia Janosika” – a children’s music band performing folk music inspired by the highland culture of Podhale – took the stage. After this performance the most important actors of the European Games appeared on the stadium floor. The athletes entered the stadium to the rhythm of music prepared for this evening by DJ Gromee.
Official speeches were preceded by performances of the ‘Motion Trio’ and the ‘Turnioki’, as well as the Polish traditional dance ‘Krakowiak’ performed by 74 couples. The stage was then taken over by Justyna Steczkowska, Future Folk and Sławek Uniatowski, giving everyone good vibrations and positive energy, which are usually connected with sport’s events.
In the official part, the first to speak were the hosts of the 3rd European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023.
– For 12 days we witnessed great sporting emotions. We watched with delight and pride as the best athletes of our continent competed. We would like to thank everyone who honoured the event with their results, and special thanks go to the athletes from Ukraine. We would also like to thank the fans, volunteers, security and medical staff. Your smiles and help were a showcase for Poland and our region. All of you who contributed to the organisation of the 3rd European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023 are a great team, without which this event at such a high level would never have taken place. We are unity! – emphasised the Marshal of the Małopolska Region, Witold Kozłowski.
– The 3rd European Games showed the world the beauty of our city. Not just the kind we see in albums and postcards, but in different locations. In Nowa Huta, at Kolna, or at the facilities of the AWF Sports Centre. We have proved that we are ready to organise great sporting events – multidisciplinary ones – not just in the rank of European or world championships in one sport. I would like to thank the citizens of Krakow who have shown hospitality and made the athletes who visited our city want to return here in the future – said Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of the City of Krakow.
– Dziekuje bardzo! – Spyros Capralos began his speech in Polish – it was a great challenge and it has never happened before that so many cities have been the arena for such a big sporting event. I thank and congratulate all these cities for sharing the beauty of your home with us. Special thanks go to the volunteers – you are the embodiment of the spirit of the European Games – thank you for your attitude and commitment. Thank you also to the Polish people! “You will always be in our hearts. Thank you Poland,” – concluded the President of the Association of European Olympic Committees in Polish, officially closing the 3rd European Games in Krakow and Malopolska.
After the official speeches, several hundred volunteers appeared in the middle of the pitch and the whole stadium, via screens and live broadcasts, moved to the official Krakow fan zone, where the extinguishing of the torch with the Fire of Peace took place. This symbolic and solemn moment was accompanied, specially composed for the Games, by the song ‘Song of Peace’ performed by Andrzej Lampert.
The following quarters were filled with performances by Karolina Leszko, Sara James, Doda, Halina Mlynkova, Julia Belej, Vika Gabor and the band Pectus. The entire evening was rounded off by a light show, which was also the last highlight of the European Games Kraków-Małopolska 2023. The host of the next edition of this great sporting festival will be announced in October during the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees.