Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 12
Senior executives from the Baku 2015 European Games have attended the closing ceremony of the prestigious European Youth Session held at the International Olympic Academy (IOA) in Olympia, Greece.
Mr William Louis-Marie, Director of Communications, attended to represent the inaugural European Games alongside Konul Nurullayeva, Director of International Relations, from the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee.
Last week, Baku 2015 executives set an innovative challenge to approximately 50 participants to develop a promotional strategy for the European Games, with invitations to next year's spectacular Opening Ceremony on offer to the winning team.
IOA President Isidoros Kouvelos paid tribute to Baku 2015's involvement and said: "It was a great honour to have such senior figures from the Baku 2015 European Games here and we appreciated their quality insight into the challenges they face.
"The competition to devise a promotional campaign was a brilliant way of energising everyone who attended and they were inspired by the chance to contribute to the Baku 2015 European Games."
Teams developed ideas and recommendations during a workshop to promote the Games and presented them to an executive BEGOC panel, with the innovative 'Bike to Baku' campaign chosen as the deserving winner.
Nataliia Dobrynska, who won heptathlon gold for Ukraine at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, was part of the winning team and said: "I am very honoured that our 'Bike to Baku' project was chosen among many great ideas and we are excited to go to the European Games."
They came up with the plan to create a cycling event where teams from each European country would bike to Azerbaijan for a good cause to help raise awareness of the European Games.
Other members of the team included Ineta Radevica, a former Olympic long jumper from Latvia; Igor Francetic, a former member of the Croatian Olympic rowing team; Susanne van Waert, legal counsel for the Netherlands Olympic Committee; and Carmen Berjillos Repullo, a physiotherapist from Spain who worked as a national swimming team coach.
Mr Louis-Marie said: "This exercise demonstrates Baku 2015's dedication to an innovative approach and willingness to involve the general public in the delivery of the European Games.
"The winning entry was a thoroughly professional plan and reflects our commitment to constantly challenge ourselves to ensure we deliver a truly memorable event for the people of Azerbaijan and Europe next June."
The session, organized jointly by the IOA, Baku 2015 European Games Operation Committee (BEGOC) and the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee, included lectures and workshops focused on promoting the history and values of the Olympic movement.
The IOA was established in 1949, but was not officially inaugurated until 1961. It aims to spread the Olympic spirit and implement the educational and social principles of Olympism around the world.