On all continents, people are in the starting blocks ready to join in Olympic Day activities on and around 23 June. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – from Lausanne to Olympia – and everywhere in between, people of all ages and abilities are participating in Olympic-themed events. They get their trainers on, learn about Olympism and discover new sports.
Move, Learn and Discover in all corners
In Jordan, 1,000 young people will take part in a 2km run, with the participants split into five groups symbolising the five Olympic rings which will re-unite at the finish. In another action, a 100m long graffiti wall showing sporting images sprayed on by local students will be unveiled. Finland already organised its Olympic Day earlier this month and integrated it for the first time into the “Your Move” - a huge mass event that involved 42,000 young people in total this year.
Participants could send greetings to the future Finnish Olympic Team for London 2012 and take part in fun group competitions. The US will host the largest Olympic Day celebration in its history, with more than 350 events taking place in the different states.
In Australia, 100 Olympians, including Olympic champions such as Susie O’Neill (swimming) and Niki Hudson (field hockey), will visit schools during this week. They will address local students and talk about their Olympic experience and the positive impact sport has had on their lives.
And in Lusaka, Zambia, the first Olympic Youth Development Centre in the IOC’s Sport for Hope Programme will organise an eight kilometre run with 1, 000 participants from local areas as well as educational workshops on the Olympic values, the fight against doping and HIV / AIDS, environmental preservation, child protection and girl empowerment.
Olympic Day was introduced in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games on 23 June 1894 at the Sorbonne in Paris. The goal was to promote participation in sport across the globe regardless of age, gender or athletic ability, and the number of participants has steadily increased over the years. Today, hundreds of thousands of people – young and old – get moving and participate in sports activities, such as runs, exhibitions, music and educational seminars.