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| Home | About Belarus | Sport | European Games MINSK 2019 | Opening ceremony

2nd European Games Opening Ceremony

The 2nd European Games kicked off on 21 June 2019. it was watched by athletes and representatives of participating countries, volunteers, guests in the stands (this evening on the main arena gathered about 25,000 people!) and millions of TV viewers around the world.

The guests of honor were heads of state and government, official delegations, who came at the invitation of the Belarusian leadership and the European Olympic Committees.

The three-hour opening ceremony offered an exciting journey into the history, culture and traditions of Belarus. The ceremony consisted of three parts and was centered around a beautiful legend about a fern flower. After the national flag was solemnly hoisted and the national anthem was played, the audience saw the performance of the Kupalie rite that was meant to emphasize the uniqueness and hospitality of Belarusians. It was followed by a parade of national teams. Delegations from 50 participating countries marched in front of the audience in alphabetical order. Belarus as the host nation entered last.

Interesting fact! The honor to carry the Belarusian flag during the opening ceremony was granted to table tennis player Vladimir Samsonov, the former world number one, three-time World Cup winner, holder of the Richard Bergmann Fair Play Trophy, winner and prizeholder of numerous world and European championships and participant of six consecutive Olympics.

The presentation of the teams was followed by the anthem of the European Games – the song Winners was performed by young Belarusian singer Kirill Good. After that, a theatrical show When the Fern Comes Into Bloom kicked off.

  • The first part of the show was dedicated to legends and myths of ancient Belarus, fairytale characters Lesun, Tsmok, Grass Snakes’ King, Volkolak…
  • The second part celebrated the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the country. The audience was told about the great names of Belarus’ history, including Vseslav the Sorcerer, Euphrasyne of Polotsk, Vitaut, Prince Mikolaj Krzysztof Radziwill nicknamed "the Orphan", Francysk Skaryna, Leu Sapieha, Simeon of Polotsk, Kazimir Semyanovich, as well as about the country’s intangible legacy, like books, architectural specimens and unique artefacts.
  • The third part presented outstanding Belarusians of the 20th century, like Yanka Kupala and Yakub Kolas, Sophia Kovalevskaya, Marc Chagall and Leon Bakst, Pavel Sukhoi and Zhores Alferov, Vladimir Mulyavin and Valentin Elizariev…
  • The fourth episode called Memory highlighted the Belarusian tradition of making rushniks, a ritual cloth embroidered with ancient symbols that were believed to protect from the evil and diseases. This part of the performance also recalled the most tragic page of Belarus’ history – the Second World War. 
  • The fifth part was dedicated to environment. The audience was shown a huge bison, the most famous resident of the legendary Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park.

One of the features of the opening ceremony was the use of the augmented reality solution. Using a special app, television viewers and the audience on the stadium could see storks flying over the stands, bison herds running under the stadium roof, a shining fern flower…

After that, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addressed the participants and fans of the 2nd European Games in a video message. He urged “to use sport to build a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future we all aspire to have”.

Elena Belova, four-time fencing Olympic champion, Igor Makarov, judo Olympic champion, Nikolai Kozeko, coach and USSR trampoline champion, Alla Tsuper, aerial skiing Olympic champion, Alexander Romankov, fencing Olympic champion, and Yanina Karolchyk-Pravalinskaya, shot put Olympic champion, carried in the flag of the European Olympic Committees. When the EOC flag was raised next to the flag of Belarus, a solemn promise was made by one athlete, one judge and one coach. Wrestler Vasilisa Marzaliuk, Artur Fando and head coach of the Belarus trampolining team Olga Vlasova stepped up to promise a fair spirit in keeping with the values of the Games.

President of the European Olympic Committees Janez Kocijancic urged to stick to fair play showing one’s worth at the limit of human abilities. His address in the Belarusian language was met with ovation. Janez Kocijancic thanked Belarus for the warm welcome and noted that the European Games became the biggest multi-sport event in the history of Belarus.
 
“To be one of the founders of the European Games is an honor for Belarus,” Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he declared the 2nd European Games in Minsk open. The head of state welcomed participants of the competitions, Minsk guests and everyone watching the opening ceremony. The head of state stressed that such a sport event is a great project to gather the best athletes of Europe under one roof. For athletes it is an opportunity to make a name and to learn about Belarus and its people.

The show culminated with the end of the Flame of Peace Relay. Seven prominent Belarusian athletes carried the torches at Dinamo Stadium and lit the cauldron together.

More than 500 performers took part in the opening ceremony of the 2nd European Games. Among the headliners were the stars of the world stage: winner of the Pop Chinese Music Awards Dimash Kudaibergen, People's Artist of Russia Anna Netrebko and her husband,  tenor Yusif Eyvazov.

Russian composer Igor Krutoy was general producer of the ceremony, with Alexander Vavilov and Aleksey Sechenov being production directors.

The best moments from the opening ceremony of the 2nd European Games in Minsk are in our photo gallery.

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