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23 Jun 2005
IOC News

UN and IOC mark the 2005 Olympic Day Run

With millions of people around the world set to take part in the traditional run to mark the birth of the modern Olympics, United Nations (UN) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) leaders called on the sporting community this week to re-dedicate itself to the development of humankind and universal peace.

Joint messsage

"[We] have seen many examples of how sport can build self-esteem, leadership skills, community spirit and bridges across ethnic or communal divides," said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and IOC President Jacques Rogge, in a joint message to mark this year's Olympic Day Run and the International Year of Sport and Physical Education - 2005.

First Olympic Day in 1948

Olympic Day was held for the first time on 23 June 1948, with a total of nine National Olympic Committees (NOCs) hosting ceremonies in their respective countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela.

First Olympic Day Run in 1987

The first Olympic Day Run was held in 1987, over a distance of 10km, with 45 NOCs participating. While the tradition of holding the Run on the weekend before or after 23 June continues today, many NOCs are now using local trends to develop the event into a large nationwide celebration.

Improvements in health and education

In their joint message, the two leaders say that well-designed sports programmes can be catalysts for economic growth, and cost-effective ways to improve health and education – for young people in particular. Sport also offers endless opportunities for innovative partnerships between international organisations, civil society groups, private sector businesses and others," they state.

“Great power of sport”

Noting the shared fundamental ideals of the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee, the leaders stress that throughout the 2005 International Year of Physical Education, the organisations will work together to harness the great power of sport to change people's lives for the better.
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