IOC President Thomas Bach today announced the IOC’s support for the campaign in a video message played during the HealthyLifestyle4All Seminar, held in Bled, Slovenia, marking the official opening of the European Week of Sport 2021.
“The IOC is built on the belief that we can make the world a better place through sport. We share the same objectives as you to promote physical activity for better health,” he said while sitting on a bike getting ready for some exercise of his own.
“This is why, on behalf of the Olympic community, I am delighted to make the following pledge in support of the Healthy Lifestyles for All campaign. The IOC pledges to promote physical activity to ensure everyone can engage in sport for healthy living.”
Global activations promoting the benefits of sport
Throughout the campaign, the IOC will continue to use its voice and influence as the leader of the Olympic Movement to promote and highlight the physical and mental health benefits of sport for all via its digital platforms and activities to get people moving across the EU and beyond.
In the context of the post-COVID recovery, the next two editions of Olympic Day will be leveraged to mobilise people around the world while raising awareness of the benefits of engaging in sports activities to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Each year on 23 June, Olympic Day celebrates the revival of the Olympic Games through global activations with the aim of promoting the practice of sport and the Olympic values.
Several of the recommendations that make up Olympic Agenda 2020+5, the IOC’s roadmap for the next five years (2021-2024), support the promotion of physical activity and access to sport opportunities. The IOC’s efforts to provide easier access to sport for disadvantaged groups, including people affected by displacement, will be continued throughout this period. Specifically, support for IOC Refugee Olympic Teams for the forthcoming Olympic Games will carry on, including through scholarships for many of these athletes hosted by European National Olympic Committees. The Olympic Refuge Foundation will also expand its activity programme to build further inclusion through sport.
In addition, during the lifespan of the HealthyLifestyle4All initiative, the IOC will continue to leverage its long-standing strategic partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), which has physical activity promotion for health at its core.
“Sport can save lives”
While outlining the IOC’s support for the campaign, President Bach also highlighted how the coronavirus crisis has underlined the importance of sport for society and shown that it is not only an essential factor in fighting the pandemic, but can also be an integral part of the solution for the crisis recovery.
“The coronavirus pandemic has made it clearer than ever just how important sport and physical activity are for healthy living,” he said. “The number of people that do enough sport is at shockingly low levels: 46 per cent of Europeans never engage in physical exercise or sport activities and this number has even increased over the last 10 years.
“This goes against everything that we have learned during this pandemic – and that is: sport can save lives. This is why it is so important to put the spotlight on active living.”
In launching the HealthyLifestyle4All initiative, the European Commission invited representatives of sports organisations, civil society, international, national, regional and local authorities to co-create the campaign, which is designed to link sport and active lifestyles with health, food and other policies.
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