EOC President Spyros Capralos said European nations had "done extremely well" at Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Spyros Capralos, here at the Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), expressed his delight at the continent's athletes' results since his election last year, which he argued demonstrated that "European sport was not so much affected" by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to COVID-19 enforced delays, summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games have been held since the Greek official was voted to the head position at the EOC in June 2021.

Speaking to insidethegames, Capralos looked back on what has been a busy nine months.

"What I can say is that I have been busy, busy, busy," he reflected.

"Busy because we had the post-COVID situation.

"Busy because we had in less than six months both the summer and winter edition of the Olympic Games.

"Tokyo and Beijing were very close to each other.

"And also then we had this edition of the Youth Olympic Festival, so we have our hands busy."

A total of 40 European National Olympic Committees (NOCs) won medals at Tokyo 2020, and 22 at Beijing 2022.

The EOC President highlighted the continent's results on the biggest stage as a key feature of his tenure so far.

"Europe and our members, National Olympic Committees, have done extremely well both in Tokyo but even more in Beijing, where approximately 70 per cent of the medals were won by European athletes," Capralos commented.

"So we're very happy that European sport was not so much affected by the COVID situation, that our members managed to recuperate and our athletes excelled again in the competition."

A total of 40 of the EOC's 50 NOCs claimed medals at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
A total of 40 of the EOC's 50 NOCs claimed medals at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

The EOC has held a Strategic Plan 2030 workshop at the Winter EYOF Vuokatti dedicated to its plan for the future of European Olympic sport and promoting closer ties with its NOCs.

The project began with approval at the General Assembly in November 2020, and is due to be shared with members before this year's key gathering in June.

Capralos emphasised the significance of the Plan.

"There is one thing also that has kept us busy in the last nine months," he shared,

"We're going through the final phase of our Strategic Plan to 2030 for European Olympic Committees.

"There is a group led by Đorđe Višacki, one of our Board members, who's done a lot of work.

He has done research among our National Olympic Committees, and we are focusing on various areas where we want to be by 2030 regarding our athletes, regarding our National Olympic Committees, regarding our events, the Youth Festival, the European Games, the Games of the Small States, and then also regarding issues that are of utmost importance going forward, which includes the environment, sustainability, good governance and gender equality.

"So these are the items that we are discussing openly, and we hope that we come out with a great Plan for the next two Boards to follow.

"At the same time also we're following what Brussels is doing on the European Union front, and many of our National Olympic Committees are taking advantage of new funding being provided by the European Union.

Spyros Capralos declared his first nine months as EOC President as
Spyros Capralos declared his first nine months as EOC President as "busy, busy, busy" ©Nacho Casares/EYOF 2022 Vuokatti

"We have managed to put together various National Olympic Committees in projects in which first they will learn more, and they will get additional funding, and I think all of this is helping the National Olympic Committees progress in knowledge and experience, and that is to their benefit."

The forthcoming calendar year promises to be a busy one for the EOC, with summer and winter editions of the EYOF, the European Games and the Games of the Small States of Europe - its three flagship multi-sport events - all scheduled for 2023.

The last edition of the Games of the Small States of Europe, which features nine countries, was cancelled in 2021.

Capralos claimed that the Games reflect the variation across European sport, and its return would be significant for those involved.

"Europe is a continent with a lot of diversity," the EOC President said.

"We have big countries, but we have also some very small countries, and for those small states of Europe, those Games are extremely important because it gives the possibility for their athletes at these Games to get medals, to get recognition from their efforts, and this way it also helps them with their Governments to get more attention and more funding.

"Therefore it is an event that brings a lot of interest to those nine countries, and I think it's an event that brings a lot of interest to them."

Capralos' comments come as the EOC prepares for the closing of its first multi-sport event since the beginning of the pandemic and his first as President, with the Winter EYOF due to conclude today.