Millions join celebrations as NOCs mark Olympic Day around the world

12 Jul 2022
IOC News Olympic Day

Almost 3.5 million people around the world joined in with Olympic Day celebrations last month, as 160 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) marked the occasion with a wide range of sporting and engagement activities.

Comité National Olympique et Sportif Sénégalais Comité National Olympique et Sportif Sénégalais

Celebrated every year on 23 June since 1948, Olympic Day provides a moment for everyone to gather and get active with purpose.

This year, as the world continues to seek togetherness, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Movement highlighted the power of sport to build a better world, by bringing people together in peace. As part of this, the IOC encouraged everyone to share how they were moving on Olympic Day with #MoveForPeace and #OlympicDay, while NOCs around the world offered various initiatives to engage their local populations.

From Olympic Day runs, outdoor games for families and the chance to try new sports to meetings with Olympians, workshops on the Olympic values and a wide range of digital activities, these NOC-led initiatives encouraged an estimated 3.48 million people around the world to get active and #MoveForPeace. Here, we take a look at some of those activities.

France gets moving ahead of Paris 2024

In France, the Olympic Day celebrations were linked to the countdown to the Olympic Games Paris 2024, with people encouraged to run, walk or cycle 2,024 metres. In addition, approximately 600 students from 30 schools took part in a 20.24km relay across Paris to help promote peace.

The city’s Stade de France was also transformed into a huge open-air playground, offering thousands of people the chance to try out over 30 Olympic and Paralympic sports alongside top French athletes.

Anne-Cécile Ciofani, a silver medallist from Tokyo 2020 who was elected best female rugby player of the year in 2021, was introduced to a Paralympic sport.

“I tried wheelchair basketball and I could talk with the kids. We were all at the same level. I hope it can make them dream and give them hope. In my discipline, it’s tough when you are a woman but I hope, by meeting those girls, to show them it’s possible.”

Senegal promotes the Olympic values ahead of the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026

In Senegal, the NOC encouraged the population to move for peace together on Olympic Day, highlighting the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect four years ahead of the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026.

Two events were organised to celebrate Olympic Day in different regions around Dakar in an effort to spread the message to a wider population. Ahead of the day, an “Olympic Tale Night” was held in the region of Diourbel. On 23 June, Olympic Day was celebrated in Kaffrine with young people from Ndoucoumane and the region.

Sildaru honours runners in Estonia

Estonian freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru, who won slopestyle bronze at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, was on hand to award medals to hundreds of children participating in the Olympic Day Run in Rakvere, Estonia.

Estonian Olympic Committee

In addition to the run, the children were also able to try out different sports – including canoeing, table tennis, fencing, ski jumping, biathlon, taekwondo, archery and skateboarding – while entertainment was provided by Estonian singer Stefan, who represented the country at Eurovision 2022.

Azerbaijan NOC honours 30th anniversary

Olympic Day celebrations in Azerbaijan coincided with the 30th anniversary of the country’s NOC, with an event held to promote the Olympic Movement and healthy lifestyles. In addition to a talk by the country’s 2004 Olympic wrestling champion Farid Mansurov, there were demonstrations by junior gymnastics, karate, cycling and cheerleading teams, while a run was also held for local boys and girls.

National Olympic Committee of the Azerbaijani Republic

Australian NOC urges Aussies to “Have a Go”

The Australian NOC marked Olympic Day by launching “Have a Go Month '22”. Running from Olympic Day on 23 June to 23 July, which marks 10 years to go until the Olympic Games Brisbane 2032, the campaign seeks to encourage all Australians to try an Olympic sport. Participants can set their own “Have a Go” goals, log their results online, and be in the running to win a range of prizes.


UAE NOC promotes sport for peace

More than 2,000 people took part in a range of sports and traditional activities as part of the United Arab Emirates NOC’s Olympic Day celebrations, which were held under the theme of “Sport for Peace”.

United Arab Emirates National Olympic Committee

Sports events included fencing, badminton, karate, volleyball, cycling, cricket and a marathon, with all the activities promoting inclusion by being open to participants of all abilities, ages and cultures.

Barbados NOC takes celebrations online and in person

The Barbados NOC hosted several activities to mark this year’s Olympic Day, including virtual and in-person events.

Celebrations included a week-long Virtual Walk from 20 to 24 June, with those taking part using an app to register the distances they walked each day, and prizes awarded to the male and female participants who walked the furthest, and to the oldest male and female participants.

A Twitter Space Discussion was also held on 22 June on the topic of e-sports, while the celebrations culminated on 25 June with a 2km Olympic Day Run and Fun Evening, which included a variety of activities such as a basketball shooting competition and an obstacle course challenge.


The idea of celebrating an Olympic Day was adopted at the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz, in January 1948. The chosen date celebrates the founding of the IOC at the Sorbonne, Paris, on 23 June 1894, where Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games.

The first Olympic Day was then celebrated on 23 June 1948 and, 30 years later, in the 1978 edition of the Olympic Charter, the IOC included the recommendation that all NOCs organise an Olympic Day to promote the Olympic Movement.

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