Ukrainian medics save a volunteer at the opening of the 2023 Euro Games, and the Polish president is booed at the stadium

Olena PavlovaSport
The brightest and most scandalous moments of the opening ceremony in Krakow

The opening of the 2023 European Games in Krakow was marked by a scandal due to the behaviour of fans who booed one of the Polish ministers and heckled the president. Ukraine was mentioned through words, and the doctors of our team managed to help the volunteer.

OBOZREVATEL collected the most interesting moments of the ceremony at the Wisła arena, watching the opening from the stand.


1. A BAD MINISTER. The real surprise was, to put it mildly, the cool attitude of Krakow residents and visitors to their government. The first surprise for the Ukrainian group of journalists came at the very beginning, when it was announced over the stadium that Polish President Andrzej Duda was present on the podium, and applause was followed by a rumble. In Ukraine, Duda is considered a great friend, but some Poles are apparently not very happy with his policies.


But the real show from the local audience was yet to come. It started when Jacek Sasin, the head of the country's Ministry of State Assets, was invited to make a welcome speech. The stadium was deafeningly loud as he walked to the podium and then throughout his speech, making it almost impossible to make out anything he said.

"He's a bad minister," a Pole sitting next to us responded to the silent question written all over our faces. Duda also got a bit of a beating during his speech, but it was nothing compared to Sasin.


The most interesting thing is that the local population did not hesitate to boo their government in front of the whole of Europe, which was watching the live broadcast of the opening ceremony. And the next day, the press, reporting on the opening ceremony, focused not so much on the performance itself as on the scandal with the minister.

"A group of political haters tried to disrupt the opening of the European Games. Poland's great organisational success caused disappointment among those who wish our country to fail. They mistook a sporting event for a political rally. Shame on them!" - Sasin was indignant in a post on Twitter.


2. RESCUED A VOLUNTEER. While the stands were booing their prime minister, the medics on duty at the arena rushed to the field where the teams were standing. They rushed to the area where the Ukrainian national team had been after its exit. And then the victim was quickly taken to the dugout.

It turned out that one of the volunteers who was standing next to our team suddenly felt unwell. Ukrainian medics provided her with first aid until Polish doctors arrived.


3. UKRAINE. The topic of the war in Ukraine was a red line throughout the ceremony at the Wisła Stadium. During the breaks, the hosts spoke about Russia's aggressive policy against our country, and Polish President Andrzej Duda mentioned it in his speech, promising to continue supporting Ukrainians, as did the head of the National Olympic Committees, Spyros Kapralos.

Even the head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, whose video message was played in the arena, was no exception.


Bach, whom even the German press called "Putin's poodle", first sympathised with Ukraine and its athletes, and ended his speech with his favourite thesis that sport should unite the world, and in particular, this should happen in a year's time at the Olympic Games in Paris. Between the lines, he was openly preparing for Ukrainians to compete in France with murderers and terrorists from Russia and their accomplices from Belarus.

4. STEFANIA. Ukrainians were not only talked about at the opening ceremony, but also shown. The winners of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, Kalush Orchestra, performed their hit song "Stefania" on stage, with the stadium singing along. The audience also heard solos by Ukrainian trembitas, and the Lviv Orchestra provided the opening music.


The Ukrainian national team was also greeted very warmly at the arena - the Blue and Yellows were the penultimate team to go out before the organising team. Perhaps there was no wow effect, which some journalists expected. But nevertheless, the Polish welcome was very cordial.


5. POLISH TOPS. When looking back at the most high-profile victories of Polish sport, it was easy to identify the country's favourite athletes.

The loudest cheers came from the audience when they heard stories about athlete Anita Wolodarczyk and ski jumper Adam Malysh, and they threw a real tantrum when a huge banner of Polish football striker Robert Lewandowski was unfurled in the arena and tennis player Iga Świątek was introduced. The latter, by the way, has been supporting Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion and has been playing in tournaments with a blue and yellow ribbon.


Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told how the head of the European Olympic Committee commented on the participation of Ukraine at war in the 2023 European Games.

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