Olympic Day, 23 June, is a unique, global event held every year. National Olympic Committees (NOC) around the world share this universal festivity with their respective communities, making it the most celebrated Olympic event after the Olympic Games.
How it all started
Since 1948, Olympic Day has served to celebrate the anniversary of the International Olympic Committee, created on 23 June 1894, and the revival of the Olympic Games. In 1987, the Olympic Day Run was introduced to build a programme of sporting and educational actions around this anniversary, with the objective of getting as many people as possible across the globe moving and experiencing the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.
More than just a run!
Today, Olympic Day is taking a step forward to be more than just a run. Under the theme “Move, learn, discover!”, the Olympic Day concept now encourages NOCs to organise a wider range of activities inspired by the main theme, in addition to the traditional Olympic Day Run. These could include sporting events encouraging people to move and discover new sports, or Olympic education seminars and educational programmes allowing participants to learn about the Olympic values.
Olympic Day Start-Up Kit
In order to support NOCs in the organisation of their Olympic Day, the IOC has produced a 2009 Olympic Day Start-up Kit, which was sent to each NOC in March. This included background history, ideas and tips for activities that could be organised, and guidelines for promoting and communicating their events. The Start-Up Kit also included a CD-ROM with a message from the IOC President, to be uploaded to web sites or played at the Olympic Day events, and Olympic Day diplomas for the participants.
High Expectations for 2009
This year, more than 150 NOCs, with the support of Worldwide Olympic Partner McDonald’s, will be celebrating Olympic Day on or around 23 June, with a wide range of sporting and cultural activities aimed to attract anywhere from 100 to 100,000 participants. The NOC of Costa Rica has planned a two-day event featuring introductions to numerous sports, such as fencing, judo, basketball, archery and table tennis. In addition to the traditional Olympic Day Run, this NOC has also planned bouncy castles and pony rides for the younger participants. The NOC of Brazil is panning a full week of activities led by 11 of its Olympic athletes. In New Zealand, thousands of school children will take part in the Olympic Day Run, and, this year, they are honouring their 1,000 New Zealand Olympians with a series of commemorative celebrations around the country.