Some 120 NOCs around the world also celebrated the occasion in their own unique way. From countrywide in-person events to digital initiatives, we saw NOCs get creative in finding ways to inspire a nation to come together and get active. Here, we look at the best examples from across the globe.
Youth engagement in Great Britain
For five days from 23 June, the British Olympic Association (BOA) began its celebrations by encouraging the nation to get active through a new youth engagement programme entitled “Get Set”.
Get Set has been designed to support families and schools in getting active and learning about the Olympic Games and the Olympic values. Intended for families and schoolteachers to inspire young people to maintain healthy, active lifestyles, resources featuring specialist workouts have been created by a selection of Team GB Olympians and Tokyo 2020 hopefuls, including sprinter Laviai Nielsen and boxer Anthony Ogogo, both of whom are Travel to Tokyo ambassadors.
Travel to Tokyo is part of Team GB’s Get Set initiative, and is aimed at encouraging children and their families to try new activities in the build-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“While the nation continues to operate under these unique circumstances, it is so important that we find ways to remain fit, healthy and motivated. Tokyo 2020 may have been postponed by a year, but we can still take inspiration from everything that the Olympics stand for,” said Ogogo.
7,000 children rejoice in Kosovo
Throughout Olympic Week, from 21 to 25 June, over 7,000 children took part in the Olympic Day Run in 16 municipalities across Kosovo. The main event was held at the Fadil Vokrri Stadium in Pristina, where children could get involved in a variety of athletic sports.
Kosovo Olympic Committee (OCK) President Ismet Krasniqi used the celebrations as an opportunity to address teachers and parents, urging them to support their children in getting active. All the children who took part in the Olympic Day events across the country were awarded shirts and medals, with the best athletes in the running competitions receiving prizes.
Nationwide celebrations in Kazakhstan
Eager to get as many children and adults across the country as active and involved as possible, the Kazakhstan NOC took its celebrations to new heights in 2021.
Holding a nationwide relay involving different sports – including a climbing tournament in Almaty, a cycling race in Petropavl, a track and field event for children in Ust-Kamenogorsk, and boxing and judo master classes in Aktau – the festivities began on 20 June and climaxed on 23 June in the capital city of Nur-Sultan.
In Nur-Sultan, the Astana Triathlon Park hosted an urban sports festival, where participants could take part in 3x3 basketball, streetball, street workouts, canoeing, table tennis, football and teqball, with the event broadcast live on national television.
Besides sport activities, the NOC honoured over 1,300 children born on 23 June, who received certificates, letters from Olympians and gifts.
“This event, just like the Olympic Movement itself, brings everyone together across borders,” said NOC President Timur Kulibayev.
#HaveAGo in Australia
This year, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) launched a new campaign entitled Have a Go, which includes a #HaveAGo school kit for teachers to help their young students celebrate the Olympic Games in the classroom.
Two-time Olympian softballer and Tokyo 2020 hopeful Stacey Porter shared her excitement over the #HaveAGo campaign: “It’s so exciting to learn that the AOC has launched this campaign. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without softball. It has been such an amazing journey, and I truly believe that great things happen when you have a go.”
Its tagline, “Great things happen when you Have a Go”, aims to motivate and inspire the nation, particularly young people, to take care of their physical and mental health through sport. As AOC CEO Matt Carroll explained: “Having a go is where it starts, and this is crucial for the development of our nation.”
Virtual coming together in Brazil
Throughout Olympic Week, and to celebrate Olympic Day, the Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) joined forces with SESI-SP to provide online workshops and talks. SESI-SP is a private organisation that plays a fundamental role in the development of the Brazilian social sector, focusing on education, health and sport to improve the quality of life of workers and their families.
Delivered to students from the SESI-SP education network – which is made up of around 3,000 teachers and 93,000 students – the SESI-SP YouTube channel hosted workshops and activities promoting the Olympic Movement, as well as talks with Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
“In such atypical times… it is important to emphasise the importance of the Olympic Week to students in Brazil. The Olympic values, when understood as a principle in the lives of the young participants, mean that we have citizens who seek excellence in everything they do,” said SESI-SP President Paulo Skaf.
E-chats with the Tokyo team in Cape Verde
The Cape Verdean Olympic Committee (COC) celebrated Olympic Day virtually, organising various workshops on the Olympic values and online meetings with Olympians and athletes from the country.
The Cape Verde Tokyo 2020 team joined an e-chat, as viewers tuned in to learn more about the athletes they will be cheering on in the summer. Rhythmic gymnast Márcia Lopes and boxer David Pina, who will both compete in Tokyo, were among those to share their thoughts on Olympic Day and the upcoming Games.
Yesteryear commemorations in South Africa
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) marked Olympic Day by unveiling a pop-up museum in Johannesburg displaying memorabilia from the past.
Inspired by African culture and the Games themselves, the SASCOC took a trip down memory lane with its pop-up museum, which was open from 23 to 26 June, seeing Olympic Day as an opportunity to celebrate the sporting achievements of some of the country’s greatest Olympians, as well as the history and future of the Games.
To view this limited edition artwork and more exciting Olympic memorabilia visit our pop-up museum @FourwaysMall Poetry Court, open until Saturday 26 June.#OlympicDay #olympicday2021 #olympics #TeamSA #teammzansi #proudlySouthAfrican #SouthAfricanOlympicLegends pic.twitter.com/ccGGl0tOjQ— Olympic Day South Africa (@olympicday_rsa) June 24, 2021
Since 1948, Olympic Day has been a global day of celebration for the founding of the IOC at the Sorbonne, Paris, on 23 June 1894, and an occasion for the Olympic Movement to promote physical activity to younger generations.
The first Olympic Day was celebrated on 23 June 1948 and, in the 1978 the IOC recommended that all NOCs organise an Olympic Day.