What is Olympic Day? Find out about the annual day celebrating the Olympic Movement

Olympic Day commemorates the founding of the International Olympic Committee on 23 June 1894 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin. What is the theme for Olympic Day 2022? And how can you get involved?

By Olympics.com
Picture by Buenos Aires 2018

What and when is Olympic Day?

Olympic Day is a celebration of sport, health, and being together. It invites everyone around the globe to be active and move together with purpose on 23 June every year.

Participants from all over the world will commemorate the day the International Olympic Committee was founded at the Sorbonne in Paris, where Pierre de Coubertin rallied the revival of the Ancient Olympic Games on 23 June 1894.

It represents making the world a better place through sport.

Olympic Day celebrations can be traced all the way back to 1947.

Doctor Gruss, a Czech IOC member, presented the idea of a world Olympic day at the 41st Session of the International Olympic Committee in Stockholm, Sweden, which would set aside a day to celebrate everything that the Olympic Movement stands for.

A few months later the project got the nod at the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz, Switzerland, in January 1948. The National Olympic Committees were put in charge of organising this event and the date celebrates a special moment in the history of the Olympic Movement.

What is the theme of Olympic Day 2022?

In 2022, the theme for Olympic Day is Together, For a Peaceful World, and is accompanied by the social media hashtags #MoveForPeace and #OlympicDay.

This Olympic Day celebrates the power of sport to bring people together in peace.

Peace and sport in the Olympic Movement go back a long way, and is manifested in the Olympic Truce during each Olympic Games.

In more recent times, the International Olympic Committee also supports refugee athletes through the IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.

When was the first Olympic Day?

The first ever Olympic Day was celebrated on 23 June 1948.

Portugal, Greece, Austria, Canada, Switzerland, Great Britain, Uruguay, Venezuela and Belgium organised an Olympic Day in their respective countries and Sigfrid Edström, IOC President at the time, relayed a message to the young people of the world.

In the 1978 edition of the Olympic Charter, the IOC recommended for the first time that all NOCs organise an Olympic Day to promote the Olympic Movement.

Currently, the Olympic Charter reads: “It is recommended that NOCs regularly organise – if possible each year – an Olympic Day or Week intended to promote the Olympic Movement.”

What do people do on Olympic Day?

National Olympic Committees are getting creative worldwide with their Olympic Day events to engage everybody – regardless of age, gender, social background or sporting ability.

Some countries have even incorporated the event into the school curriculum.

Everybody can be part of Olympic Day, and with so many people doing so many things on Olympic Day, why not join the fun?

These days many people organise Olympic Day runs all over the world to celebrate, including one in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne, where the IOC is based.

First launched in 1987, the run was about encouraging all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to celebrate Olympic Day and promoting the practice of mass sport.

It's been a huge success, growing from 45 participating NOCs in the first edition in 1987, to more than a hundred participating NOCs.

Why not look up your nearest Olympic Day run? Or otherwise, simply get active with your friends – or even by yourself – and #MoveForPeace.

And if you do take part in any activity that shows how you’re helping spread peace through sport, tag @olympics on social media with the hashtags #MoveForPeace and #OlympicDay.

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