Federalists claim EU ‘victory’ at Winter Olympics

european_flag1.jpg [Reuters]

If the medals won by all 27 EU member states at the Vancouver Winter Olympics were to be added up, the EU would be the big winner of the Games, stress the Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe).

The 108 medals brought home from the 2010 Winter Games by EU athletes is almost three times more than the top-ranking United States, which won 37 medals.

In total, the EU 27 scored 31 golds, 36 silvers, and 41 bronzes.

"Why should this joy be limited by national borders?" asked JEF-Europe Vice-President Pauline Gessant, arguing that one should "think European" instead.

"Emphasising the European dimension in this kind of context means showing our attachment to our European identity," she went on.

The association further claims knowing that the EU could easily compete with medal giants like the US, Russia or Canada is also a way of combatting nationalism, which it says tends to spread very easily during sports events.

"Both as sports fans and as federalists, we want to celebrate the performance of European athletes to promote the European motto 'United in diversity' and spread the feeling of belonging to a common set," added Gessant.

'European Olympic Team'

The youth organisation promoting European awareness and European integration had already set up a dedicated website for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. It listed individual member states' medals as 'European Olympic Team' medals, showcasing European sporting strength when compared with the traditional medal giants.

The initiative also encouraged sports people, federations and delegations to show and wear the European flag next to national flags when making an appearance on the sports scene, or use European colours creatively during competitions.

This, "as a sign of attachment to the values shared by all Europeans," the association said.

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