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03 Jun 2013
IOC News

What is Olympic Day?

On 23 June, Olympic Day is celebrated all around the world: hundreds of thousands of people – young and old – participate in sports activities, such as runs, exhibitions, music and educational seminars. 

Over the last two decades, the event has helped to spread the Olympic ideals to every corner of the world.  If you want to get active on Olympic Day, join activities organized by the National Olympic Committee (NOC) in your country or just join us on Social Media and tell us what you do!  

Symbolic anniversary

Olympic Day was introduced in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games on 23 June 1894 at the Sorbonne in Paris. The goal was to promote participation in sport across the globe regardless of age, gender or athletic ability.

A growing, global gathering

Over the last 20 years Olympic Day has been associated with Olympic Day Runs all over the world. From 45 participating National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to over 150 participating NOCs. What’s more, many of the participating NOCs are in Africa – proving the event’s worldwide appeal.

Move, learn, discover

Olympic Day is nowadays developing into much more than just a sports event. Based on the three pillars “move”, “learn” and “discover”, National Olympic Committees are deploying sports, cultural and educational activities. Some countries have incorporated the event into the school curriculum and, in recent years, many NOCs have added concerts and exhibitions to the celebration.

Recent NOC activities have included meetings for children and young people with top athletes and the development of new web sites directing people to programmes in their neighbourhood. People who may live too far away from organized activities can still be part of Olympic Day by getting off the sofa, putting on their trainers and sharing their Olympic Day experiences via Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.


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