Games). The Olympic Days pays host to multitudes of young talents in Europe to display their abundant talents.
European Youth Olympic Festival was held for the first time under the title, ‘the European Youth Olympic Days’. This event is exclusively for the athletes under 18 years of age. Jacques Rogge, the President of the European Olympic Committee was instrumental in the inception of the European Youth Olympic Festival. Brussels became the venue for the first event of its kind in which potential Olympians competed in events like athletics, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, swimming, football, hockey, judo, table tennis, etc. The Summer sports was held in Brussels, Belgium and the Winter sports was held in 1993 in Aosta, Italy.
The competitors in the European Youth Olympic Days or European Youth Olympic Festival are from 48 member countries who are members in the association of European Olympic Committees. The number of participants from each country in Olympic Days is limited. According to the rules and regulations formulated by the governing bodies, a maximum of 18 boys and 18 girls per country can participate in the events and only one athlete per country is allowed to take part in a discipline in the competitions.
Olympic Days becomes an occasion that advocates the ideals of solidarity and friendship among the youth of the European countries that surpasses the boundaries set by the discrimination between people belonging to different countries and states. Olympic Days also serve as a chance for the youth to experience the hardships, competition, challenges and triumphs in sports in an international level at a young age. Olympic days are reputed for nurturing the skills of burgeoning talents in the international scene and fostering the future Olympians. The ideals of the European Youth Olympic Festival is similar to that of the Olympic ideals promoted by Pierre De Coubertin
Many youngsters who participated in the Olympic Days are now Olympians and medalists in Olympics. The most successful competitors in Olympic Days to win medals in Olympics are Peter Van Den Hoogenband of Netherlands, who won 2 gold medals and 1 bronze medal in Sydney Olympics in 2000, in swimming; Massimo Rosselini of Italy and Gabriela Sabo of Romania, who won one gold, one silver and one bronze medal each in swimming, in Sydney and Atlanta (1996).
Olympic Days has brought to the fore various talents, who later won medals in Olympics among them Justine Henin of Belgium (tennis), Luis Norgard of Denmark (handball), Jarji Zviaduri of Georgia (judo), Fani Halki of Greece (athletics), Ylenia Scarpin of Italy (judo), Loredana Boboc of Romania (rhythmic Gymnastics), Oana Ban of Rumania (Gymanstics), Elena Samoldodchikva of Russia (Gymanstics) and Karolina Kuft of Sweden (athletics) are names that are etched in the history of the event. Olympic Day’s Champions also have proved their mettle in team sports. The most successful athletes in team sports include Marina Sheshenina, Natalia Salranova, Irina Tebnihina, Olga Chukonova and Elena Plotnikova (Russia), who secured silver medal in Athens 2004 for Volleyball.
The sports included in Olympic Days are athletics, basketball, cycling, gymnastics, handball, judo, swimming, table tennis, tennis, water polo, volleyball, etc., to name a few. Olympic Days is an arena for the upcoming talents to come to the fore and this becomes an opportunity for the world to spot young, budding talents and nurture them for the future events.