This flame is a proof that the European Games are getting closer. On Monday April 3, a ceremony was held in Rome to light and hand over the Flame of Peace. This is one of the symbols of the event, which will begin on June 21 in Krakow. Ceremony was graced with the presence of Polish President Andrzej Duda.
The ceremony took place in Rome, at the Ara Pacis Museum, which is a unique place on the map of the Italian capital. The Ara Pacis or “Altar of Peace” was built in the 9th year BC. To this day it still carries the message of peace – so important to the Olympic movement, and the European Games.
Under such unusual circumstances, the ceremony of lighting the Flame of Peace was opened by the President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), Spyros Capralos, who greeted the guests with great enthusiasm.
“I hope you are as excited as we are. The III European Games are coming. It is the biggest sports event in Europe since the pandemic era. More than 7000 athletes will come to Krakow and Malopolska. For two weeks Poland will be the heart of the sports arena. For many, it will be a chance to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Athletes will fight to fulfill their Olympic dreams right there, in Poland,” said Spyros Capralos.
“I want to thank President Andrzej Duda for his support in organising this event. I also thank the Polish Olympic Committee, the Polish government and the Organising Committee for their hard work in creating the III European Games. The journey to Krakow begins today, here at the Ara Pacis Museum. A journey that we will walk together in peace,” concluded the President of the of European Olympic Committees.
Andrzej Duda was the guest of honor at the ceremony. It was the President of the Republic of Poland, who received the Flame of Peace from the hands of Spyros Capralos. “It is a highly honorable mission to receive from the hands of the European Olympic Committees the Flame of Peace, which will allow us to begin the III European Games. Standing in this extraordinary place, I am truly touched that I am the one to receive this symbol of friendship and sports competition from your hands, together with three Polish ambassadors,” Andrzej Duda began.
“This fire will light the hearts of more than seven thousand athletes who will compete in Poland in the European Games, the biggest sports event in 2023. I am proud that it is Polish cities that will host the event. After Baku and Minsk, Krakow will be the first European Union city to host the European Games,” the Polish President noted.
“I am grateful to the President of the European Olympic Committees and to you dear ones, for the decision that the Games will be held without representatives of Russia and Belarus. Russia, which is the aggressor who caused the war in Ukraine. And the Belarusian regime, which supports it. I am thankful that as the host of the European Games, I will be able to look Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calmly in the eye, and say that this event will be filled with peace and tranquility. And during the competition we will not have to pretend that everything is fine,” he noted.
“I believe that all participants will come through in a friendly and sporting atmosphere, and we will set a beautiful example of peace and togetherness. Long live peace, long live clean sports, long live fair game,” said President Andrzej Duda.
The Flame from the hands of President Andrzej Duda went to Robert Korzeniowski. The four-time Olympic champion transferred the fire to a special lantern, in which it safely made its way to Poland. The Flame of Peace relay was started by Anita Włodarczyk. From this flame, the torch of the European Games will be lit in Krakow on June 21.
The hosts of the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games were represented in Rome by the President of the Organising Committee Marcin Nowak, and the Marshal of the Małopolska Region Witold Kozłowski.
“It is an extraordinary honor and privilege to serve as the host of the European Games 2023, the largest event in the history of Poland. Many challenges are behind us, but even more lie ahead. However, we are ready. We are working hard to start the III European Games in less than 80 days. I invite everyone to come to Krakow in June,” the President of Organising Committee Marcin Nowak said at a press conference.
Maja Włoszczkowska, two-time Olympic vice-champion in mountain biking, also took part in the ceremony. The ceremony was broadcasted via the EOC’s online television. The opening of the European Games is scheduled for June 21. The Opening Ceremony will be held at the Municipal Stadium in Krakow. The event will last until July 2. Around 7000 athletes, competing in 29 sports, will appear on the starting line. 19 sports are to be held as Olympic qualifiers for Paris 2024.
Tickets for the competition at the European Games can be purchased HERE.