On June 30, the Closing ceremony of the 2nd European Games took place at the Dynamo National Olympic stadium. The spectators were introduced to an emotional
show. They saw the extinguishing of the Flame of Peace and bid farewell to the Games’ mascot Lesik the Fox who promised with a glowing heart to stay forever in our hearts.
A model of the National Library served as a gigantic screen where the most unique moments of the tournament were projected onto. The footage comprised the most emotional sports episodes such as inspiration and victories, joy and sorrow, disappointment, shattered hopes and defeats.
This ceremony major stars were the main heroes of the past events – athletes and volunteers. They became the full-fledged participants of the ceremony. The entire central platform of the stadium was dancing along the bright folklore songs such as "Lyavonikha", "Polka Belaruskaya","Kasiu Jas Kaniushynu" and others. The folk groups managed to stir up the audience.
The flag bearer of the Team Belarus was the canoe sprint athlete Maryna Litvinchuk who managed to win 4 medals (2-1-1) and genuine admiration of her fans. The stands left their seats and flared up with the famous Belarusian bands AURA, J-Mors, Leprikonsy, IOWA, Naviband, SHUMA and many others.
When the flag was lowered, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko addressed to the audience: "Dear friends! It was a feast of bright unforgettable impressions and strong emotions. We had everything: joy, happiness and disappointment. That is his majesty the sport. This was a true celebration of friendship and unity, hot competitions that united the European nations into one big family. We opened wide
all the doors of our country for our dear friends. Belarus is a country that lives and develops according to its traditions that go deep into centuries. The country that creates no problems for anyone.
For 10 days, the atmosphere of mutual respect has been reining in the sports arenas. It was created by everyone who love sports and believe in the power of the Olympic mission. The Flame of Peace has become the embodiment of this great idea. Before
we put out the fire, let us thank everyone who contributed to the success of these competitions.
Dear guests! You’ve visited beautiful and very comfortable country for living, you’ve been introduced to its kind and hardworking nation. And if you want to enjoy the quietness, you are always welcomed here.
And to you, dear Lesik, I have a special appreciation. Your friendly hugs and unsurpassed artistry will stay in our memory forever. You have won our hearts and we want to believe that, having gone to your fairy forest, you will not forget us and definitely will come back. "
The EOC President Janez Kocijančič declared the 2nd European Games closed: "Allow me to extend the warmest greetings of all the 50 National Olympic Committees of Europe. The European Games became a true celebration of European and International Olympic sport. Together we delivered a bright multi-sport competition second only to the Olympic Games. We are proud of the achieved results. Our continent takes home almost 50% of the medals at the Olympic Games. We, of course, will not surrender this status – we intend to continue producing leading results in the world sport. We have seen our continents’ best athletes here at the European Games and their performances prove that we are on the right path. We will continue our fight for clean sport by taking zero-tolerance policy to doping.
Dear Belarusian friends, you excellently presented your country. More than 190 countries were able to watch the European games and to grasp a new and very positive look of your country. From my point of view these Games became a good investment to your country. I declare the 2nd European Games closed. "
The ceremony directors managed to pull all the strings and touch the audience’s soul. A little girl asked a giant figure of Lesik the Fox to stay. He couldn’t do that but promised he would stay in her heart forever. When the fire was put out, Lesik’s heart started glowing. It was beating until the very end of the ceremony. Lesik stood alone with a glowing heart next to the extinct flame, until the very last spectator left the stadium.
Press Service of the NOC Belarus
Photos by Denis Kostiuchenko, Sergei Neverkevitch