“We are all the team of Cyprus! “

In the presence of the President of the Republic, Nicos Christodoulides, the Cyprus Olympic Committee (COC) and OPAP Cyprus welcomed the country’s Olympic team sending the message that “on the road to Paris we are all the team of Cyprus”.

In an honorary event held on Friday evening (14 June) at the open-air venue of the Olympic Hall, our champions expressed their optimism about their participation in the Olympic Games, assuring that they would honour the Cyprus flag. The flag was handed over to the athletes by the President of the Republic, the Minister of Education, Sports and Youth, Athena Michaelidou and the President of the COC, Georgios Chrysostomou.

The whole process had strong symbolism as the President of the Republic received the flag of Cyprus from past participants in the Games – Georgios Achilleos, Markos Pagdatis, Andreas Kariolou and Eleni Artimata – to hand it over to the today’s paarticipants, thus illustrating the harmonious continuity of the participation of our small country in the Olympic Games.

The President of the Republic congratulated the athletes for securing their participation in the Paris Olympics, expressing his confidence that they will give their best to honour the colours of Cyprus. He also expressed his satisfaction for the overall work of the Cyprus Olympic Committee and his thanks to the sponsors, highlighting in particular the multifaceted support of OPAP Cyprus, which was not restricted to sport in Cyprus. It is worth noting that Mr. Christodoulides also participated in the relevant film which promotes the message that “on the road to Paris we are all the team of Cyprus”. 

The President of the COC, George Chrysostomou, pointed out that the presence of the President of the Republic of Cyprus, “apart from honouring the athletes and all of us, shows his real understanding of the symbolism of the reception of our flag by our athletes. Because our Olympic team expresses and represents Cyprus and our state entity, expresses and represents the whole of the Cypriot people”.

Chrysostomou, thanking OPAP Cyprus for the whole organization of the event, assured that “we work with dedication, collectivity, honesty but above all purity of intentions and actions so that today we can support the athletes and our mission in Paris with the best conditions”.

In his address, the Commercial Director of OPAP Cyprus, Alexandros Davos, expressed his respect to the athletes who will represent us at the Olympic Games in Paris. Athletes who, as he said, “we embrace with love both with the support of the COC’s plans and through our sponsorship programmes”.

Mr. Davos added that “it is with this respect that we form our relationship with the Cyprus Olympic Committee over time, having in common the creation of the best conditions for our athletes, inside and outside the sports arenas. But it is also with the same respect that OPAP Cyprus walks in Cypriot society, invests in its relationship with the State and institutions, but also takes actions to the benefit of education, culture, health and of course in sport”.

He concluded: “OPAP Cyprus, a long-standing ally of Cypriot society and the State, will march on the road to Paris together with all the other friends who support this beautiful path. Let the values of solidarity and respect, as promoted by the Olympic Idea, be the strong message both for the difficult struggles of our Cyprus, and of course for the distinction of our athletes at the Olympic Games!”   

The honorary event, which included a film of the history of the participation of Cypriot athletes in the Olympic Games since 1896, was also welcomed by the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, President of the European Olympic Committee and member of the International Olympic Committee, Spyros Capralos as the Ambassador of France to Cyprus, Salina Grenette-Catalano.

Our Olympic Team

The athletes who make up the Olympic team of Cyprus and will participate in the Olympic Games in Paris from 26 July to 11 August 2024, are: Pavlos Kontides (ILCA7 / Sailing), Dennis Tarantine (Kite / Sailing), Marilena Makri (ILCA6 / Sailing), Natasha Lappa (IQFoil / Sailing), Andri Christoforou (Road Cycling / Cycling), Marios Georgiou (Gymnastics), Vera Tugolukova (Rhythmic Gymnastics), Sophia Asvesta (Judo/ -52Kg), Alexandros Tophalidis (Fencing), Elena Koulichenko (High Jump/Track and Field) and Konstantina Nikolaou (Shooting). The presence of Milan Trajkovic is also considered a given with the expectation that our team will be further strengthened.

Kostas Papakostas was honoured

As a mark of respect for the history of Cyprus’ presence in the Olympic Games, during the event, the COC also honoured bearer of the Cyprus flag in our first participation as a state in a Summer Olympics, in 1980 in Moscow. It was Costas Papakostas, Olympic Judo champion, former Director General of the CTO and now President of the Cyprus Olympic Participants Association, who was moved to receive the honour.

Sport and Culture The event honoring our Olympic team was attended by important musicians who also honor our country with their international course and collaborations. The performer Kostas Chatzichristodoulou, the tenor Andreas Aroditis, the flautist Konstantinos Makaritis and the conductor Aris Antoniadis offered a quality artistic programme sending the message that sport and culture go hand in hand! Besides, as the ancient philosopher Plato insisted, proper education is achieved by cultivating the body through gymnastics and cultivating the soul through music!