The motto of the Barents Games is "Sharing the arctic spirit". By working together across the four Barents countries, athletes, coaches, managers and referees are given the opportunity to share knowledge and experience through international sports competitions. Barents Games gathers approximately 1 000 athletes from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia aged between 15 and 25 every year to compete within a particular sporting event. Barents Games are held every other year as the Winter Games and every other year as the Summer Games. The games are held alternately between the four countries.
The purpose of Barents Sports is for sporting activity to involve as many young people as possible across the borders. It should contribute towards breaking down political, cultural and social barriers. In terms of sport, the aim is to improve quality across the board. The Barents Cooperation strives to function as a platform for an increased exchange of athletes, coaches and managers to hone expertise and skills, and increase tolerance. Encouraging physical activity for all is also a significant goal.
In 2009 a Barents Festival with eight different sports was organized in Luleå, Sweden. This was the first time more than one Barents sport were gathered at the same place and at the same time. This was the precursor to Barents Games, and about 600 athletes, coaches and leaders participated.
- 2013 – test for Barents Summer Games – Luleå, Sweden
- 2014 – the first official Barents Winter Games – Tromsø, Norway
- 2015 – the first official Barents Summer Games – Oulu, Finland
- 2016 – Barents Winter Games – Murmansk, Russia
- 2017 – Barents Summer Games – Bodø, Norway
- 2018 – Barents Winter Games– Luleå, Sweden
It is expected to continue the Barents Games tradition in 2019-2022 in Murmansk (Russia), Kajaani (Finland), Sweden and Alta (Norway).