3,000 Schoolchildren To Visit Olympic Festival At Nová Zbrojovka

Figure skaters Tomáš Verner and Brno’s tennis star Lucie Šafářová will attend the opening ceremony of the festival on February 4th. The festival will continue until February 20th. Photo credit: M. Schmerkova / MMB.

Brno, Jan. 24 (BD) – On Friday, February 4th, the Olympic Festival at the Nová Zbrojovka complex in Brno-Židenice will open its doors. This day falls during the half-year holiday in schools, and all visitors will have free entry from 9am.

“I would like to invite all schoolchildren and their parents and grandparents to enjoy the first day of the Olympic Festival and spend the half-year holiday actively,” said the Mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková (ODS). “I believe that the opportunity to try different sports in one place will help bring children to sports.” The City of Brno has allocated CZK 10 million to help fund the event, as well as funding the operation of the ice rink, which has relocated to Nová Zbrojovka this winter from its previous site by the statue of Jošt on Moravské náměstí. The festival will also use three curling lanes acquired by the city in 2018.

Dignitaries including Mayor Vankova visiting the festival site on January 18th. Photo credit: M Schmerkova / MMB.

The opening ceremony will begin at 11am on February 4th, when the Olympic torch will leave the city centre. The penultimate runner will be tennis star Lucie Šafářová, the face of the summer Olympic Festival in Brno, who will hand over the torch to the ambassador for this year’s event, figure skater Tomáš Verner. He will then light the torch of the Olympic Festival on the stage.

The first Olympic Festival in Brno took place in 2018 during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, attracting almost 160,000 visitors. During the delayed Tokyo Olympics last year, the festival site was next to the Riviera swimming pool, and this year the Nová Zbrojovka complex is being transformed into a winter sports destination for 17 days, finishing on February 20th. The site will be open to visitors from 9am until 6pm from Sunday to Thursday, and until 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and admission will cost 50 crowns, with under-12s, over-65s, and disabled visitors able to visit for free. Sports equipment is available to rent on site.

“I believe that the festival will be as successful as the summer one,” said South Moravian Governor Jan Grolich (KDU-CSL). “It is a great opportunity for children, their parents and others to try out various sports. And if we have as many medals as in the summer, we have something to look forward to.”

The Nová Zbrojovka complex is being transformed into a winter sports destination until February 20th. Photo credit: M Schmerkova / MMB.

According to Jiří Kejval, Chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee, 60% of visitors to last summer’s Olympic Festival were families, and research found that 52% of parents found a new sport for their children. This year, the festival has prepared a special program for schools from the South Moravian Region.

A long-term project is underway to develop Nová Zbrojovka into a modern city district for tens of thousands of residents. Curling lanes have been operating there for some time, and the area was also chosen as the site for the city’s main ice rink this year, so the district was the obvious choice for the Olympic Festival. Altogether, the festival will see visits from 3,000 children from around 60 schools. They will be able to choose between about 20 winter sports, including biathlon, bobsleigh, and snow volleyball, according to Petr Hladík (KDU-CSL), First Deputy Mayor of Brno.

During the morning program, students will try three sports under professional guidance, receive a free snack, and get a taste of the Olympic atmosphere in the presence of professional athletes. It is also possible for teachers to take their students without registering first, with no admission charge, but the organisers cannot guarantee the availability of all sports in this case. Naďa Černá, the project manager for the event, said that the festival will also feature the Ed Olympic Zone, teaching children about the values of the Olympic Games, such as fair play and respect for opponents.

The organisers of the festival have arranged shuttle buses with the Brno Transport Company (DPMB) from the public transport stops at Vojenská nemocnice, Stará Osada and Židenice train station, which will bring visitors to the gates of the complex.

Reservations for particular sports and ticket sales will open from February 2nd, on the festival website. Hygiene safety measures for the event will be based on the current regulations set by the Czech government, said Libor Varhaník, Vice-Chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee, but he is confident about the possibility of running the event in any case. “In the summer, we were able to organise a safe Olympic festival in two parts of the country,” he said. “We are now cooperating with the South Moravian Regional Hygiene Office and we are ready to react flexibly to the current situation. For example, we can regulate the capacity of visitors to the complex and provide a testing centre.”

The ice rink at Nova Zbrojovka. Photo credit: M Schmerkova / MMB.

What sports can you try at the Olympic Festival?

Sports available for the public to try include hockey, ice skating, bobsleigh, skeleton, sledging, curling, cross-country skiing, biathlon (including shooting with a laser small-bore rifle), snowboarding, skiing, acrobatic skiing, ski jumping, orienteering, snow volleyball, speed ​​skating on a slideboard, garden and board chess, monkey track, and other games.

Program for the opening ceremony on February 4th

  • 9am – Opening of the complex
  • 11am – Olympic torch relay from the city centre
  • 11:30am – Opening ceremony with Tomáš Verner, Lucie Šafářová, Jan Mazoch and others
  • 12pm – Official opening of all sports venues
  • 12:30pm – Exhibition of figure skater Tomáš Verner
  • 1pm – Screening of the start of the games in Beijing
  • 7pm – Closure of the complex

Special events

The festival will feature lots of special events with elite athletes. Further details are available on the event website.

  • February 4th – Opening ceremony with Tomáš Verner, Lucie Šafářová, Jan Mazoch and others.
  • February 5th – Exhibition of women’s hockey with celebrity guests
  • February 6th – Climber Adam Ondra comes to celebrate his birthday
  • February 12th – Biathlon with Gabriela Koukalová
  • February 14th – Special Valentine’s Day program of sport for couples
  • February 15th – Celebrating 50 years of hockey star Jaromir Jágr
  • February 17th – A day with the Czech Olympic Foundation
  • February 19th – Aleš Valenta celebrates 20 years since winning his Olympic gold medal
  • February 20th – Closing ceremony
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