World Olympic Day
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Olympic Day History Background

It was in 1947 during the 41st Session of the International Olympic Committee in Stockholm, that Doctor Gruss, an IOC member in Czechoslovakia, grant a report on a World Olympic Day celebration which would mainly be a day of promoting the Olympic plan. The project was embraced some months later on the occasion of the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz in January 1948. The National Olympic Committees were put in charge of holding this event and were a petition to choose a date between 17 and 24 June thereby celebrating the founding of the International Olympic Committee at the Sorbonne, Paris, on 23 June 1894, where Pierre de Coubertin energize the Olympic Games.

The first Olympic Day

The first Olympic Day was celebrated on 23 June 1948. On this occasion, Sigfrid Edström, IOC President at that time, fetch a message to the young people of the world. Portugal, Greece, Great Britain, Uruguay, Venezuela, Austria, Canada, Switzerland,  and Belgium organized an Olympic Day in their respective countries.

Olympic Day in the Charter.

In the 1978 edition of the Olympic Charter, the IOC recommended for the first time that all NOCs organize an Olympic Day to upgrade the Olympic Movement: “It is recommended that NOCs regularly organize (if possible each year) an Olympic Day consider to promote the Olympic Movement.”

Olympic Day Run

Over the last 20 years, Olympic Day has been correlated with Olympic Day Runs all over the world. First launched in 1987, the run was about encouraging all NOCs to commemorate Olympic Day and promoting the practice of mass sport. From 45 competitor NOCs in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to more than one hundred participating NOCs.s

Today’s Concept

These days, Olympic Day is growing into much more than a run or just a sports event. Based on the three pillars of “move”, “learn” and “discover”, NOCs are deploying sports, cultural and educational activities targeted at everybody – regardless of age, gender, social background, or sporting ability. Some countries have celebrated this event in 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 Industry Trends of new business websites directing people to programs in their neighborhood. This makes it easier or simple for everybody to become part of Olympic Day. In recent years, the development of social media has helped the IOC to upgrade participation beyond NOC activities.

Olympic Day Run

The Olympic Day Run is one of the signs of the Sport for All movement.

Great diversity in participants

Every year since 1987, Around the world, the Olympic Day Run unites men, women, and children of all ages. Today more than 150 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) held this great sport event.

1948, the story starts.

In January 1948 at its 42nd Session in St Moritz, Switzerland, the IOC accepted the idea of an Olympic Day. This celebration had to be used to commemorate the creation of the IOC on 23 June 1894 in Paris. Olympic Day was organize for the first time on 23 June 1948, with a total of nine NOCs hosting ceremonies in their respective countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Worldwide celebration

More than 40 years later, in 1987, the first Olympic Day Run was held over a distance of 10 km, with 45 NOCs participating. This initiative was launched by the Sport for All Commission of the IOC and targeted at promoting the practice of sport all over the world. It has become a global celebration of the Olympic Day and contributes to the promotion of Olympic ideals all around the world.

In 2008, after more than twenty years of worldwide success, the Olympic Day Run acclimated to the specificities of the NOCs by becoming the ‘Olympic Day’ again. This global event aims at uniting all promotion and Olympic Day and Olympic valures celebration activities of the NOCs.

Move, learn and discover

Since its establishment, Olympic Day has broadened its audience, acclimating to the local specificities. Numerous NOCs continue to organize the traditional Olympic Day Run but have diversified their activities around the theme of “Move, learn and discover”, by proposing the practice of other sports, cultural and educational works around the Olympic values, and sessions to discover new sports.

More than three million participants

In 2008, the year of the XXIXth Olympiad in Beijing, 3.8 million men, women, children, or seniors participated throughout the world to the Olympic Day, mobilizing 142 NOCs – proof of ever-growing popularity.