Minsk 2019 European Games Day 1 and Opening Ceremony: As it happened
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10:40pm - Thanks for joining us!
Thanks for being with us on the opening day of the second edition of the European games live from Minsk.
Don't forget to join us tomorrow and for the rest of the Minsk European Games here on Olympic Channel for live streaming and all the latest updates.
European Games HIghlights Day 1
European Games gymnastics highlights - Day 1
10:35pm - The Flame is set alight!
A spectacular burst of fireballs lights up the cauldron and the flame soars into the Belorussian night sky.
Let the games begin.
10:30pm - President Lukashenko: "I declare the 2nd European Games Open"
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, delivers the final speech.
"Here comes the time of bright victories. In the hospitable land of Belarus, we are opening the second European Games.
"Today we will light the flame of peace. Such moments unite nations."
"I declare the second European Games open,"
10:22 - Doves of Peace
Anna Netrebko, a Russian-Austrian born diva sings 'Cantami' with Azerbaijan's Yusif Eyvаzov and Igor Krutoy on the piano as the 'Dove of Peace' appears on the screens and hundreds of AR doves fly over the stadium as the song ends.
We see stories of great sportsmanship projected in the stadium like that touching Rio 2016 moment when Abbey D'Agostino and Nikki Hamblin helped each other up during the preliminary round of the 5000m.
More than halfway through the race, they collided and crashed to the ground.
Rather than just carrying on, D'Agostino got up and helped Hamblin to her feet before she fell back onto the track in pain.
Hamblin returned the gesture and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized that "the D'Agostino and Hamblin story is one of humanity and sacrifice which has already captured the hearts of people across the globe."
10:14pm - The Oaths
It's time for the Oaths - a solemn promise made by one athlete, one judge and one coach at the beginning of the Games.
Wrestler Vasilisa Marzaliuk, Artur Fando and head coach of the Belarus trampolining team Olga Vlasova step up to promise a fair spirit in keeping with the values of the Games.
President of the European Olympic Committees Janez Kocijancic speaks: "This is the biggest multi-sport event in the history of Belarus."
“We sincerely hope these Games will open up your beautiful country and present its image to the European and world public.”
10:02pm - The Opening Ceremony enters final act
A speech from the UN Secretary General United Antonio Guterres augurs in the final and more official stage of the ceremony.
Kazakh pop singer Dimash Kudaibergen performs.
Elena Belova, four-time fencing Olympic champion, Igor Makarov, Athens 2004 judo champion, Nikolay Kozeko, who coached seven Olympic medallists to podiums in ski, Alla Tsuper, Sochi 2014 aerial skiing champion, Alexandr Romankov, fencing champion at the Seoul 1988 Olympics, and Yanina Karolchyk-Pravalinskaya, 2000 Olympic and 2001 world shot put champion are given the honour of carrying in the EOC flag.
The European Olympic Committee flags are raised.
9:50pm - Lore, legend and the environment
A video interlude of a lost girl in the woods who dances in a circle of half-men half-bull creatures gives way to live drummers in the stadium and suddenly a giant bison looms over a live little girl.
It calls to the forest, to our nature, to mother nature - a message for humanity.
"The mystery of the forest, the breathing of nature: in this video, two worlds —the world of civilisation and the world of wildlife— meet in Belovezhskaya Pushcha," explains the program.
"Through a child's eyes, we see the secretive 'dance of the bison'. Our most important task today is to respect and look after nature."
"In the Belarusian context here, we cannot fail to mention Belovezhskaya Pushcha, part of Bialowieza Forest, the remains of an ancient woodland, with a remarkably rich diversity of ﬂora and fauna."
Lore and legend continue to take centre stage.
10:35 - Set Design
The set has been superb, flowing and circular and inclusive from all angles of the stadium.
Directors Alexander Vavilov (Belarus) and Alexei Sechenov (Russia) should take a deep bow.
9:25pm - Mythical dragons, medieval knights
The spectacle goes on as a dragon takes an awful beating, a scholar gives a lecture to knights bathed in sparks, and Opera singers back it all.
It's hard to keep up with this, great pace and rhythm.
9:17 - There are glowing wristbands too!
Given out at the beginning of the ceremony, these glowing bands have been employed to spectacular effect.
9:10 - Magical, mystical
Back to the theme of the summer solstice and 'When the Fern Blooms', overflowing with local myth and legend.
Searching for the flower is an old tradition that can see couples engaged and love blossom.
8:59pm - Belarus!
Belarus are roared out as the last team in the parade.
Vladimir Samsonov captains the hosts at the 2nd European games in Minsk, he's also the chosen one to carry the Belorussian flag during the Opening ceremony.
8:54pm - Small nation solidarity
Big cheers for Malta's 4-person-strong delegation and Lichtenstein's 3-man team.
Biggest cheer for Russia who have brought a huge representation in both athletes and fans.
8:50pm - Kosovo's flagbearer misses show
Kosovo's judoka Akil Gjakova was chosen to wave his country's flag but a delayed flight means he missed out.
Boxer Donjeta Sadiku had to step up.
Poor Gjakova will probably never fly with that airline again.
8:47pm - Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro...
The parade goes on and the atmosphere is staying the pace, the clapping and the cheering keeps keeping on.
8:44pm - Some Opening Ceremony highlights so far:
8:40pm - France gets into the spirit
The French delegation looks excited to be here, led by Clarisse Agbegnenou, a judoka very much in contention for a medal.
They've been getting into the spirit of these Games by planting trees yesterday:
8:30pm - The Athletes Parade
Here they come, the athletes are out - Greece first, then Albania and Andorra.
Armenia, Austria follow, and a big roar for Azerbaijan.
8:29pm Opening Cerremony ignites!
8:24pm - A song and a dance
Folk music and traditional dance take centre stage, with a singer riding an illuminated horse and a flower fairy answering his song with a huge dance troupe circling the multi-panelled display in the centre of the stadium.
This celebrates the summer solstice according to traditional Slavic fairs.
Dancers twirl through night sky in flying fluorescent rings.
Beautifully worked and choreographed so far.
8:18pm - The National Anthem
Written in 1913, the Belarus national anthem bellows out through the stadium, everyone is upstanding, a huge orchestra plays.
The final verse goes:
Arise from the depths, thou of falcon-born race,
O'er sires crosses, their woes, degradation,
O young Bielarus, come thou forth, take thy place
Of honour and fame among nations.
8:10pm - Fireworks and storks!
The pyrotechnics are on show, as is some augmented reality with giant white storks - the Belorussian national bird - circling the stadium, helicopters hover outside in actual reality.
Official introductions of the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, and the President of the European Olympic Committees, Janez Kocijančič.
8pm - The Opening Ceremony Starts!
We start with a time-lapse masterpiece of the beauty of Belarus.
"Let's together make this evening unforgettable!" rouses the stadium announcer.
The giants of sport suddenly stride over cities and across landscapes in a video montage.
7:57pm - Mexican Wave!
7:55pm - How happy is Kelly-Ann Conway to be England's flagbearer?
7:50pm - 10 minutes to go!
7.43pm - Ireland's Chloe Magee couldn't be a prouder flagbearer
Chloe gave a pre-Opening Ceremony speech outside the Dinamo stadium.
"It's a huge honour for me to lead the team and carry the flag. There are so many athletes in front of me that could have had this honour and should should have had this honour so thank you again for choosing me to lead the team."
7:33pm - Russian fans looking forward to another big tournament
There's a big Russian presence here in both team and fan size - no surprise there considering the proximity of the event and how successful Russia was in the first ever European Games at Baku 2015.
Four years ago in Baku, Russia topped the medal table (164), way ahead of hosts Azerbaijan (56), and Great Britain (47).
2019 Minsk European Games Live Blog
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We've had archery, 3x3 basketball and boxing today, with the Opening Ceremony starting at 20:00 (CET).
*All times in Central European Time (CET)
7.27pm - Scenes around the stadium before the Opening Ceremony
7.16pm - Opening Ceremony program
How's your Belarusian?
7:02pm - 500 million people!
Despite this being only the second edition of the European Games, it will have a huge broadcast reach to around 120 countries with an expected audience of 500 million people.
The Olympic Channel alone is broadcasting to Canada, USA, Brazil, Belize, Suriname, Guyana, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Bahamas, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Democratic Republic of Korea, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bhutan.
6:49pm - Anticipation building for Opening Ceremony
The stadium is filling up and you can feel the excitement building. There's been a great atmosphere around the European Games all day, fan zones are well populated and people are getting involved.
There's a pre-party about to happen before the official Opening Ceremony.
Plenty of mystery surrounds the event too, with an 'International Star' set to be unveiled and the European Games flame - which has disappeared - to ignite the celebration officially.
This is what it looks like inside the stadium right now:
What to look out for at the European Games Opening Ceremony
The European Games Opening Ceremony will take place on Friday 21st of June starting at 20:00(CET).
Need tickets? Check here.
Russian composer and producer Igor Krutoy will direct affairs and there's "an international star headliner" whose identity is being kept secret.
Drake? Bon Jovi? Robbie Williams? Stormzy? Will Smith? Exo? Shakira? David Guetta? Kanye?
We'll find out tonight!
“Our goal is to show Belarus to the world," Krutoy told Belorussian news outlet BelTA, "I think we will succeed and everyone will be happy."
"The concept of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2nd European Games will reflect the spirit, unique culture, and traditions of the Belorussian nation," Krutoy continued.
Augmented reality and special effects are set to light up the Minsk sky and look out for the Athletes' Parade featuring Europe's finest from 50 nations contesting the Games.
European Games First Day Highlights
317 boxers from record number of 44 nations are ready to fight to the podium at the European Games.
Petar Belberov from Bulgaria won his first super heavyweight +91kg bout at the Uruchie Sports Palace on Friday.
Croatia's Toni Filipi won his match-up with Dzemal Bosnjak from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Belgian Victor Schelstraete also grabbed his first victory in the heavyweight -91kg.
Men's 3x3 Basketball
Russia 22-15 Italy
Baku 2015 champions Russia made a strong opening statement in their title defence, coming through a stern Italian test with a win.
As Italy's Stefano Masciadra said: "I mean, they are good. They are second in Europe, so we tried to do our best, but today was not our day."
There was a lot of noise at the Palov arena as hosts Belarus bettered Slovenia 15-10 and Lithuania eased past Estonia 21-13.
Women's 3x3 Basketball
France 20 - 9 Andorra
A strong start from the French who look like contenders.
French star player Caroline Heriaud is looking to do great things:
"I'm just proud to be here. We have a great team and I wanted to do something here in Minsk. It's amazing, I just want to take part here with my team and do something great."
The Netherlands edged Switzerland 18-14.
Archery: Schloesser starts as he means to go on
Crack-shot Dutchman Mike Schloesser had a good start to his European Games campaign.
The 25-year-old finished second in the ranking round on 707 points, one behind Serbian Ognjen Nedeljkovic.
Schloesser became the first to shoot a perfect 600 in World Archery competition in 2015 and took the world title in 2013.
Croatian Mario Vavro was third on 702, tied with Russia’s Anton Bulaev, who placed fourth.
Eowyn Marie Alburo Mamalias from Iceland is only 14 and made her senior debut on the archery circuit today.
Her story about why she got involved in archery:
“In summer my mum wanted me to go to an ice-skating programme. I wanted to do something new. We watched a movie (called) ‘Brave’ – it is like a princess archery movie – and it made me want to try it.”
She finished 16th today but picked up some invaluable experience.
It was a good start to the tournament for Gaby Bayardo who seeded top in the women's recurve event.
European Games "uniting" nation says Belarus legend Darya Domracheva
Belarus’ most-decorated winter Olympian Darya Domracheva, is exciting by what she sees in Minsk.
“What I felt during the torch relay is that people are uniting, we are part of something bigger,” the biathlete told the Games News Service on the eve of competition.
“The whole country will remember this for a long time, it will be a big part of our sporting history.”
Domracheva retired from competition after winning her fourth Olympic gold medal at PyeongChang 2018.
Belarus - Golden Highlights at PyeongChang 2018
Belarus - Golden Highlights at PyeongChang 2018Celebrate the achievements of Belarus athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“I really think the Flame of Peace (the name given to the Minsk 2019 torch) unites the people, that is what I felt when I was on the stage,” Dormacheva said.
“I really saw how sport can unite generations.” - Darya Domracheva
Domracheva won her final Olympic gold and silver medals after she gave birth to daughter Xenia.
Her father is eight-time Olympic biathlon champion Ole Einar Bjoerndalen.
So is Xenia a future Olympic star?
“She is very active, she loves jumping, running around and doing gymnastic-style tricks, in her own style,” the Minsk 2019 Star Ambassador said, laughing.
“We will help her to try different things and I hope she will choose sport because it develops your personality.”
Unfortunately we won't see Rio 2016 bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen at the European Games because of his troubles with asthma.
He posted this on his social media:
European Games Preview
The Minsk 2019 European Games runs from June 21-30, hosting the best athletes from across the European continent.
Following the success of the 1st ever European Games at Baku 2015, the event is back with 4,000+ elite athletes primed to compete in 15 sports including athletics, gymnastics (Artistic and rhythmic), 3x3 basketball, badminton, table tennis, boxing, judo, cycling (Road & track), Sambo and more.
Four years ago in Baku, Russia topped the medal table (164) above hosts Azerbaijan (56), and Great Britain (47).
Looking for the ultimate guide and preview to these games? Click here.
Adding to the excitement, 10 of the 15 sports could see athletes gain direct qualification for Tokyo 2020 or get points towards qualification.
Let the European Games begin!
Fond of an Opening Ceremony?
Take a look back at these top 10 pre-party moments.
Top 10 Opening Ceremony moments
Top 10 Opening Ceremony momentsTop 10 moments from the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony.
This will give you goosebumps:
The European Games 2019 - When, where, tickets and full schedule
Here's everything you need to know about the European Games 2019.
Where are the 2019 European Games being held?
The city of Minsk in Belarus will host the games, it is the biggest event that the capital city has ever housed.
When are the 2019 European Games?
June 21 - 30.
Which sports are at the 2019 European Games?
15 sports feature at the Euro Games - Athletics, Archery, Badminton, 3x3 Basketball, Beach Soccer, Boxing, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Judo, Karate, Sambo, Shooting, Table Tennis, Wrestling.
When and where is the Opening Ceremony for the 2019 European Games?
The Opening Ceremony takes place on Friday June 21 from 21:00-23:35 (Central European Time- CET) at the National Olympic Stadium "Dynamo".
2019 European Games Opening ceremony tickets
You can buy tickets for the Opening Ceremony here, but be quick! There were not many left the last time we looked.
The 2nd European Games Mascot
The mascot for the Minsk games is Lesik the Little Fox - "life of any party".
European Games 2019 Schedule
21:00-23:35 Opening Ceremony
10:45-11:30 Shooting rifle and pistol: 10m air pistol mixed final
11:30-14:30 Cycling road: women's road race
12:25-13:10 Shooting rifle and pistol: 10m air rifle mixed final
13:00-17:30 Gymnastics acrobatic: finals
13:00-17:30 Gymnastics rhythmic: women's all around
13:50-14:40 Archery: recurve team: women's and men's finals
16:00-18:10 Judo: men's (-60kg -66kg) and women's (-48kg -52kg -57kg) finals
16:00-19:30 Sambo: men's (-57kg -68kg -82kg -100kg) and women's (-48kg -56kg -64kg -72kg +80kg) finals
10:30-11:00 Shooting rifle and pistol: men's 10m air pistol final
10:40-14:00 Archery: compound mixed team final
12:30-13:00 Shooting rifle and pistol: women's 10m air pistol final
11:00-16:00 Cycling road: men's road race
14:10-15:00 Archery: recurve mixed team final
13:00-17:00 Gymnastics acrobatic: final
13:00-18:00 Gymnastics rhythmic: medal event
14:45-15:45 Shooting shotgun: women's trap finals
16:00-17:00 Shooting shotgun: men's trap finals
16:00-17:55 Judo: men's (-73kg -81kg) and women's (-63kg -70kg) finals
16:00-19:50 Sambo: men's (-52kg, -62kg, -74kg, -90kg, +100kg) and women's (-52kg, -60kg, -68kg, -80kg) finals
10:15-10:55 Shooting rifle and pistol: mixed final 50m pistol
12:00-12:30 Shooting rifle and pistol: women's 10m air rifle finals
13:00-13:30 Shooting rifle and pistol: men's 10m air rifle finals
14:45-15:45 Shooting shotgun: mixed trap final
16:00-18:10 Judo: men's (-90kg -100kg +100kg) and women's (-78kg +78kg) events
18:00-20:00 Gymnastics aerobics: mixed pairs final
18:00-20:00 Gymnastics trampoline: men's synchronised, women's individual final
18:50-20:55 3x3 basketball: men's and women's finals
09:00-11:40 Cycling road: women's time trial
11:00-11:30 Shooting: mixed 50m rifle prone
12:00-15:40 Cycling road: men's time trial
15:00-17:15 Judo: mixed team events
18:00-19:00 Table tennis: mixed doubles final
18:00-20:00 Gymnastics aerobic: mixed groups finals
18:00-20:00 Gymnastics trampoline: women's synchronised, men's individual finals
11:40-14:20 Archery: compound women's individual finals
14:30-15:00 Archery: recurve women's individual finals
9:00-10:50 Canoe sprint: men's a (K1 1000m, C1 1000m, K2 1000m, C2 1000m) and women's finals (K2 500m)
10:45-11:30 Shooting: women's 25m rapid fire pistol
12:30-13:15 Shooting: men's 50m rifle three positions
14:30-15:15 Shooting: men's 25 rapid fire pistol
17:00-18:00 Table Tennis: women's final
18:00-19:00 Table Tennis: men's final
17:00-19:40 Wrestling: men's freestyle finals (-57kg, -74kg, -86kg, -125kg)
09:00-10:30 Canoe sprint: men's (K4 500m) and women's (K1 500m, C2 500m, K4 500m) finals
10:10-14:10 Archery: recurve men's individual final
12:00-12:45 Shooting: women's 50m rifle three positions final
14:20-15:00 Archery: compound men's individual final
13:00-16:45 Canoe sprint: men's (K1 200m, C1 200m, K1 5000m) and women's finals (K1 200m, K2 200m, K1 5000)
15:45-16:45 Shooting: women's skeet final
17:00-18:00 Shooting: men's skeet final
17:00-19:40 Wrestling: women's finals (-53kg, -68kg) and men's freestyle finals (-65kg, -97kg)
18:10-19:20 Cycling track: men's (Scratch) and women's (Points race) finals
11:50-12:35 Shooting rifle and pistol: mixed 25m pistol final
13:45-14:45 Shooting shotgun: mixed skeet
17:00-19:20 Athletics: Dynamic mixed team final
17:00-19:30 Cycling track: mens' (Team Pursuit, Team Sprint, Madison), and women's (Team Pursuit, Team Sprint, Scratch) finals
17:00-19:30 Wrestling: women's finals (-50kg, -57kg, -62kg, -76kg)
12:00-15:00 Table Tennis: women's team final
13:00-15:45 Gymnastics artistic: women's and men's all around finals
18:30-20:00 Beach soccer: men's team final
15:00-17:35 Boxing: men's (-52kg, -60kg, -69kg, -81kg, +91kg) and women's (-57kg, -69kg) events
15:10-19:30 Cycling track: men's (Individual Pursuit, Individual Sprint, 1Km time-trial, Points race) and women's (Keirin, Omnium-Points race) finals
14:30-18:05 Karate: men's (-84kg and +84kg) and women's (-68kg and +68kg) kumite finals, women's and mens's kata finals
17:00-20:00 Badminton: men's and women's doubles finals
17:00-19:30 Wrestling: Greco-Roman finals (-60kg, -67kg, -77kg)
19:00-22:00 Table Tennis: women's team final
11:00-15:00 Badminton: mixed doubles final, men's and women's singles finals
11:00-13:10 Boxing: men's (-49kg, -56kg, -64kg, -75kg, -91kg) and women's (-51kg, -60kg, -75kg) events
13:10-17:00 Cycling track: men's (Keirin, Omnium-Points race) and women's (Individual Pursuit, Individual Sprint, 500m time-trial, Madison) finals
12:00-15:50 Gymnastics artistic: women's and men's apparatus finals
14:00-17:15 Karate: women's (-50kg, -55kg, -61kg) and men's (-60kg, -67kg, -75kg) kumite finals.
12:00-14:00 Wrestling: Greco-Roman finals (-87kg, -97kg, -130kg)
22:00-00:35 Closing ceremony
The full official schedule is here.
Stay with Olympic Channel for more European Games updates.