The 17th Olympiad, organized by the AUBG Olympics student club in Blagoevgrad, brought together more than 800 people of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds to “make their sports talent pop”, both individually and as part of a team. Throughout the weekend of April 30-May 1, 2022, all the university sports enthusiasts, alumni, and, for the first time, high-school students from the Blagoevgrad region could take part in various competitions within 17 sports disciplines.
About AUBG Olympics
AUBG Olympics has established in 2006 thanks to the challenge-organizing initiative of the American football team “AUBG Griffins”. The 2022 Olympics crew consists of 30 AUBG students who, throughout the academic year, organized sports challenges, workshops, and, finally, one-of-a-kind Olympic Games, also known in the AUBG community as D-Day.
The annual Olympiad is one of the biggest and most-awaited events on the AUBG campus. While the COVID-19 restrictions took place, for two years, the events had to be organized with a limited capacity and following strict safety protocols. As the epidemiological situation became better, the Olympics crew managed to increase the number of D-Day 2022 attendees and participants by inviting high-school students of the Blagoevgrad community to take part in the Olympiad too. “D-Day is an event that brings people together, creates new friendships, and tests people’s limits,” said Stiliyan Stoychev, a member of the Olympics crew.
Get the Ball Rolling
The weekend of challenges was different yet eventful for all. Registration for team competitions was open to all the participants prior to the event. The sign-up sheets for most of the individual sports were available on the spot. For the convenience of both the athletes and the organizing team, the schedule was separated into two days with the consideration of the physical spaces, where the competitions were to take place.
The participants, who are passionate about running, started their Saturday morning with a 4.5-kilometer marathon along the Bachinovo alley. In the meantime, swimming enthusiasts put on their goggles and jumped off the podiums for a 50-meter freestyle race at the “Pirin” swimming pool. Back on the AUBG campus, as the weather conditions changed, the organizing team had to follow the contingency plan and relocate the outdoor soccer, basketball, volleyball, and tennis tournaments to the ABF Sports Hall.
Despite the forecast for a rainy cold Sunday, the Olympic flame did not go out. The second round of competitions took place at the Porter Park Baseball Field, where all the event participants demonstrated their physical capabilities, enjoyed some BBQ with their friends, and met with the event’s special guest – Taybe Yusein, a Bulgarian wrestler and a bronze medalist of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“We enjoyed the event a lot, we haven’t been part of something similar so far,” said one of the teachers at a local high school. “The atmosphere is one of a kind and we would love to be part of it next year, as well.”
Game of Inches
The success formula of every D-Day consists of the hard work of the Olympics crew, support from the alumni, engagement of the athletes, and generosity of the sponsors. This year’s list of partners comprised 66 companies that shared the core values of the student club – health, team spirit, and fair play. Together with the official charity partner – UNICEF Bulgaria, AUBG Olympics raised funds to provide humanitarian assistance to children and families in Ukraine.
“The event was much bigger than what we had seen before,” said Radoslav Naydenov (’22), the 2022 President of the Olympics crew. “But what we managed to prove is that with the help of the smaller current crew and the dedicated alumni we can achieve great success.”
The event took place thanks to the kind support and generosity of sponsors: FlagFlag, RedBull, Velingrad water, Olympus, Orange.bg, Poker Stars, Oshee, Nestle, Nescafe, Ficosota, Ikarov, Maggi, Lepka, Mama’s boy, Hristo Stoichkov, Lemonical, Kotba Tattoo shop, baller, Koleff Chocolatier, iQ Brushes, flow cacao roasters, ESCREO,Doppel Herz, Cardinal Bites, MDB Escape Rooms, Buzzz, ZoyoCard, You are worth it box, Vitesse Running, UltraPlay, Serena Organics, Trake, Revive, Stamp&Go, NaturalLeaf, owllee, Brita, MyK Bulgaria, metta, Musala Soft, prisma, RD Studio, Gentlemen’s cakes, RICE UP!, aglika, fusion embassy, intelligames.bg, topskills recruitment, Galileia, Moneco, MultiSport, AROMA, UMOY, Under Armour, Bogatina, Collibre, Ivea Company, wares.bg, добавка щастие, млин, ферма за микро растения, мазно, фондация “Искам Бебе”, Зайо Байо, Спирка за дрънкулки.