First International Day of Sport for Development and Peace hailed a success
In the lead-up to 6 April, and on this date, local communities, national and international sports bodies and organisations from Albania to Zimbabwe joined in the global celebrations of the first-ever International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
Launched by the UN last year, and with the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), this new annual event is to be celebrated each year on 6 April, marking the opening of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. This first edition saw an overwhelming response from thousands of people across all continents, as they took part in runs, sports tournaments, educational and peace-building activities, exhibitions or discussion forums to address and highlight the power of sport as a catalyst for social change, development and peace.
Sport as a universal language
The International Day of Sport has offered a new opportunity to all members of the Olympic Movement to promote sport and physical activity as a universal language while demonstrating the positive social impact of sport at all levels - from grassroots to elite competition - on the well-being of individuals and communities.
From every corner of the world, thousands of people celebrated the Day by taking part in football tournaments or athletics events across Afghanistan, Greece, Jordan, Ethiopia, Gambia and the Philippines. Sports demonstrations, fun runs and cultural activities were also on the programme in Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, Colombia and Brazil. And this is just a small “taster” of some of the celebrations that involved Olympic Movement stakeholders. A large number of NOCs and IFs, as well as Organising Committees for the Olympic Games, invited their athletes, stakeholders and followers to talk about the importance of investing in Sport for All and take concrete action.
A social media campaign
The IOC also ran an awareness-raising campaign on its website www.olympic.org and its Olympic social media platforms, featuring, among others, key messages on the benefits of sport as a driver for social change and encouraging all to disseminate this through any media or political platform available to them.
A global social media discussion on the topic and an invitation to share testimonials on the positive impact of sport were also launched through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube, reaching millions of Olympic fans. For instance, news went out to over 10 million fans on our social platforms. Many Olympians joined the discussion, including former ice hockey player and IOC Athletes’ Commission Vice-Chair Angela Ruggiero, who invited people to tweet on the Day “if you’re a citizen of the world and love sport”’. Her IOC colleague, Danka Bartekova, also marked the occasion by sharing her thoughts on the power of sport on her Facebook page, stating: “sport helps people to learn to live healthily, to find the inner strengths and borders, to respect the rules and respect each other and enjoy the everyday magic of moving their body”.