The Estonian Olympic Committee celebrated 100 years

The Estonian Olympic Committee celebrated its 100-year anniversary on Friday, December 8th.

Festive day was opened by raising the Estonian flag in opening the festive day with a ceremony early in the morning. Double Olympic champion Kristina Šmigun-Vähi, the first medalist of newly independent Estonia Indrek Sei, and Urmas Sõõrumaa, president of the Estonian Olympic Committee raised the Estonian flag at Pikk Hermann Tower in Tallinn.

„We are proud of our hundred years. A centennial organization is comparable to human life. Happy birthday to all of us,“ Sõõrumaa said.

In honor of the 100th birthday, the Olympic champions and noble guests gathered at the historical Town Hall. Among the guests was the President of the European Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos, the President of the Finnish Olympic Committee Jan Vapaavuori, General Secretary of the Latvian Olympic Committee Kārlis Lejnieks.

The keynote speech was held by the President of the Republic of Estonia, Mr Alar Karis.

„The committee was founded ahead of the last Summer Olympics in Paris, primarily to represent our country in dealings with the International Olympic Committee regarding participation. However, it soon transformed into something much more than just a communication channel: it became our umbrella organization, bringing together and organizing all Estonian sports. It has sent athletes to compete in the Olympics and helped sportsmen and sportswomen return from major competitions laden with medals. In doing so it has developed professional and amateur sports in Estonia, promoted the recording of the sporting history of our country and championed the health of our population. Long live Estonian sport, and love live the Estonian Olympic Committee!” he said.

Mr Capralos added: “On behalf of the European Olympic Committees I want to pay tribute to your commitment to the development of sport in Europe and not only. This contribution can be seen by the many achievements that you’ve done so far. Your Olympic medals, the medal successes that you’ve had in the past in many sports. Your athletes have demonstrated great leadership both on the field of play and outside. Congratulations on reaching the 100 years, I wish you the next year to be filled with accomplishments and medals!”

Throughout the centennial year, the Estonian Olympic Committee has celebrated it with many events and exhibitions. For example, 32,000 athletes had the opportunity to win a specially designed EOK100 medal at the national championships. Furthermore, an interactive sports and Olympic exhibition in the form of an Olympic-themed flight gate opened at Tallinn Airport to feature a display of Estonia’s and Estonians’ participation in the Olympic Games throughout history and in anticipation of the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

The current Estonian Olympic Committee was established in 2001 when two major organizations were merged - the Olympic-focused Estonian Olympic Committee and the umbrella for all sports organizations, the Estonian Sports Association. Both organizations date back to 1923 - the former was restored in 1989 and the latter a year later. In total, Estonian athletes have won 81 medals in the Olympic Games - 27 golds, 23 silvers and 31 bronzes.