GSS Navigator: Sarajevo an Olympic site again

Tue, 01/01/2019

The Winter European Youth Olympic Festival   

My country will have the honour once again to host an Olympic Festival after 35 years. In February 1984 the XIV Winter Olympics were held in Sarajevo. These Olympic Games involved more than 2,500 athletes and delegate members from 49 countries competing in 10 disciplines. At that time, it was a very important event for the region with media coverage by over 7,000 representatives from all over the world.

Next year, Bosnia and Herzegovina will host another wonderful Olympic Festival, this time it is the 14th edition of the Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF). It will take place in Sarajevo and East Sarajevo from 9 to 16 February 2019. This major multi-sport event for young athletes from all over Europe between the ages of 14 and 18 will give the youth an opportunity to get a taste of an Olympic event for the first time.

Winter sports fans will have a chance to enjoy this sport programme featuring 8 disciplines: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country, figure skating, ice hockey, short track speed skating, snowboarding and curling. The number of registered athletes is over 1,000, accompanied by 750 delegates of the National Olympic Committees from 46 countries.

The official mascot of EYOF 2019 is called Groodvy, which derives from grudva (snowball in the local language). By the way, the official mascot of the 1984 XIV Winter Olympics, Vučko, a lovable wolf with an orange scarf, has remained popular and it is still possible to find souvenirs with this mascot in shops at Baščaršija.

The opening ceremony of the 14th EYOF will be held in the Asim Ferhatovic Hase Olympic Stadium, which served as the venue of the opening ceremony in 1984. Once again, this Olympic Stadium will see the Olympic flame burning. The closing ceremony will be held in East Sarajevo’s Slavija Stadium.

The competitions will take place within 28 km of Sarajevo: alpine skiing on Bjelasnica and Jahorina mountains, snowboarding on Bjelasnica and cross-country skiing on Igman. This offers visitors the ability to transfer easily from the ski venues to the indoor sport arenas in the city, where the other disciplines such as ice hockey, figure skating and curling will be held. 

In 1984, during the Olympic Games, Sarajevo welcomed 12,500 official guests and more than double that number of fans from all over the world. This festival will be remembered for two remarkable facts: During the preparation for the Olympic Games, the city’s infrastructure was improved through 167 primary and more than 400 secondary projects, many of which are still in use. And we will not forget how just one day before the opening ceremony, the weather in Sarajevo was warm and without snow. And then a miracle happened overnight. It started to snow intensively, covering Sarajevo and the surrounding mountains in white. There was so much of the desired element that the whole city was mobilised to help clear the snow. Just a few hours before the opening ceremony, all streets were clean and ready for this magnificent event.

In 1984 we had this miracle and today we are looking forward to this great event with potential new miracles in 2019…


Lejla Sabljica
Head of Global Securities Services Bosnia and Herzegovina