The world abuzz with activities for Olympic Day!
From Albania to Zimbabwe, millions of people across the globe took part in sporting, cultural and educational activities and learnt about the Olympic values on Olympic Day, celebrated each year on 23 June.
Athletes, local communities, sports federations and the majority of the 204 National Olympic Committees heeded the IOC’s call to get active in celebration of the birth of the modern Olympic Movement and to spread the values of excellence, friendship and respect.
From Continent to Continent
As has been the tradition since 1998, the Japanese Olympic Committee held earlier in June its annual “Olympic Concert”. With over 4,500 people attending, the evening of classical music and screening of Olympic highlights was a chance for spectators to relive the sporting achievements of Japanese Olympians at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and the election of Tokyo as host city of the Olympic Games in 2020.
In Jordan, Olympic Day celebrations held in Al Hussein Sports City was an occasion for the Jordan Olympic Committee to launch a new nationwide campaign called “Living Sport”, which, with a vision that “sport should play a part in the lives of Jordanians”, demonstrates how physical activity can be improvised and integrated into everyday life.
The city centre of Annaba, in Algeria, was transformed into a true Olympic hub. With the help of Algerian athletes, local youngsters had the opportunity to discover new sports from fencing and athletics to taekwondo; a number of locals joined in the Olympic Day run; and primary schoolchildren were invited to draw or paint their vision of Olympism.
Switzerland got creative as well as active and brought together 500 young athletes from 22 different sports to learn and embrace the Olympic values through workshops, training sessions and by being filmed pounding 500 cups in rhythm for an exclusive video!
In the coming days, Zimbabwe, which participated for the first time ever in an edition of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, will host a number of Olympic Day activities from 5km and 10km runs to Olympic sports try-outs for schoolchildren and aspiring athletes.
Connecting Champions with the Next Generation
For the British Virgin Islands and Serbia, Olympic Day was the perfect occasion to introduce their next generation of athletes who have qualified for the upcoming second Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. The Serbian Olympic Committee also held an Olympic Day run to collect funds in support of those evacuated in May from flood-hit regions in Serbia, and invited professional athletes to participate in Chat with Champions workshops. Similarly, Australia launched “Champ Connect” – an eight-week mentoring programme connecting Olympians with aspiring athletes who will be heading to Nanjing next August.
Breaking Olympic Day records
This year, enthusiasm for Olympic Day has been such that the Olympic Day run in Peru saw a record number of participants, with 10,500 runners filling the streets of Lima. The United States also continues to increase participation numbers as this year it has scheduled a record 1,055 events to be hosted in more than 800 different communities across the country throughout the summer. With appearances from nearly 500 Team USA Olympians and Paralympians, Olympic Day activities are expected to involve 500,000 Americans.
Last year the IOC’s cross-platform Olympic Day campaign reached some 400 million people in one way or another. This year, the IOC hopes to surpass this number following the strong commitment of National Olympic Committees across the world and also with the help of top athletes, including 18-time gold medallist Michael Phelps, Olympic champions Usain Bolt and Lindsey Vonn as well as gold medallist hammer thrower Koji Murofushi, calling on everybody to get moving and try out new sports.
As part of a social media campaign that called upon athletes to help the IOC spread the Olympic Day message and inspire their fans, more than 150 Olympians who registered on the Olympic Athletes’ Hub got into the sporting spirit by sharing how they got active for Olympic Day with over 4.5 million followers.
With the world abuzz with sporting, cultural and educational activities, we are already looking forward to what great initiatives we’ll see in 2015!