« Small » States also have their games !

Article published on Nov. 14, 2007
Article published on Nov. 14, 2007
Who said that the European Union was reduced to the “Grand States”’ directory?

If it is true that in the institutional arena France, Great-Britain and Germany have a major impact on the decision making process (though the new balanced voting system introduced by the reformed treaty is about to change this context of “dominating position”), the European Union remains everyone’s concern, especially for the smallest States. In opposition to the complex of inferiority that could have been generated by such a disposition, small States seized the opportunity to affirm, or even to proclaim, their small geographic specificity through sports. 

We are small but we do exist … why not create our own Olympic games?

You may ignore it but various forms of Olympic games exist: the summer and the winter Olympics, these are supposedly known by everyone; the game of handicapped people called the “Paralympics or handisports”. But do you know the “games of the small European States”? Founded in 1984 during the Los Angeles Olympics, they concern all the States counting less than a million inhabitants. Since its first edition in 1985, the competition has taken place every two years and every States has organized it successively.

But which are these “small States”?

Andora, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco and Saint-Marin became members of the organization in 1985 and were joined by Montenegro in 2006 (even if this country didn’t participate in the 2007 edition). The Feroe Islands also applied and are still waiting for an answer.

The sports represented are athletics, basket-ball, le cycling, la gymnastics, judo, swimming,  «  boules » (Lyonnaise), taekwondo, tennis, ping-pong, shooting, sailing, beach volley, volley-ball. And the games are more and more successful. Last June, Monaco, which was organizing the 2007 edition, welcomed many visitors at the opening ceremony. The port was bordered with crowded steps built up for the Grand Prix and left for the games. For the occasion, a cruise boat had been moored to the Principality’s new floating dyke, and served as the “Olympics’ village”.

On the participants’ side, these games also have a real impact. Mostly left apart in international events, many athletes and clubs find these games as the opportunity to distinguish themselves without feeling pressed by the financial steamroller of big competitions. However, organizing these games remains very expensive and the event is still under-mediatised.

Next edition : 2009 inCyprus

Sophie Helbert