Olympic Day

Copyright: National Olympic Committee of Kazakhstan

Olympic Day History

Background

It was in 1947 during the 41st Session of the International Olympic Committee in Stockholm, that Doctor Gruss, IOC member in Czechoslovakia, presented a report on a World Olympic Day celebration which would primarily be a day of promoting the Olympic idea. The project was adopted some months later on the occasion of the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz in January 1948. The National Olympic Committees were put in charge of organising this event and were requested to choose a date between 17 and 24 June, thereby celebrating the founding of the International Olympic Committee at the Sorbonne, Paris, on 23 June 1894, where Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games.

The first Olympic Day

The first Olympic Day was celebrated on 23 June 1948. On this occasion, Sigfrid Edström, IOC President at that time, conveyed a message to the young people of the world. Portugal, Greece, Austria, Canada, Switzerland, Great Britain, Uruguay, Venezuela and Belgium organised an Olympic Day in their respective countries.

Olympic Day in the Charter

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: “It is recommended that NOCs regularly organise (if possible each year) an Olympic Day intended to promote the Olympic Movement.”

Olympic Day Run

Over the last 20 years Olympic Day has been associated with Olympic Day Runs all over the world. First launched in 1987, the run was about encouraging all NOCs to celebrate Olympic Day and promoting the practice of mass sport. From 45 participating NOCs in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to more than one hundred participating NOCs.

Today’s Concept

These days, Olympic Day is developing into much more than a run or just a sports event. Based on the three pillars of “move”, “learn” and “discover”, NOCs are deploying sports, cultural and educational activities aimed at everybody – regardless of age, gender, social background or sporting ability. Some countries have incorporated the event into the school curriculum and, in recent years, many NOCs have added concerts and exhibitions to the celebration. Recent NOC activities have included meetings for children and young people with top athletes and the development of new websites directing people to programmes in their neighbourhood. This makes it easier for everybody to become part of Olympic Day. In recent years, the development of social media has helped the IOC to boost participation beyond NOC activities.

Olympic Day Run

The Olympic Day Run is one of the symbols of the Sport for All movement.
Great diversity in participants

Every year since 1987, all over the world, the Olympic Day Run unites men, women and children of all age. Today more than 150 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) organise this great sport event.

1948, the story begins

In January 1948 at its 42nd Session in St Moritz, Switzerland, the IOC approved the idea of an Olympic Day. This celebration would be used to commemorate the creation of the IOC on 23 June 1894 in Paris. Olympic Day was held for the first time on 23 June 1948, with a total of nine NOCs hosting ceremonies in their respective countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Worldwide celebration

More than 40 years later, in 1987, the first Olympic Day Run was organised over a distance of 10 km, with 45 NOCs participating. This initiative was launched by the Sport for All Commission of the IOC, and aimed at promoting the practice of sport around the world. It has become a global celebration of the Olympic Day and contributes to the promotion of Olympic ideals all around the world.

In 2008, after more than twenty years of global success, the Olympic Day Run adapted to the specificities of the NOCs by becoming the 'Olympic Day' again. This worldwide event aims at uniting all promotion and Olympic Day and Olympic valures celebration activities of the NOCs.

Move, learn and discover

Since its inception, Olympic Day has broadened its audience, adapting to the local specificities. Numerous NOCs continue to organise the traditional Olympic Day Run but have diversified their activities around the theme of "Move, learn and discover", by proposing the practice of other sports, cultural and educational activities around the Olympic values, and sessions to discover new sports.

More than three million participants

In 2008, year of the XXIXth Olympiad in Beijing, 3.8 million men, women, childen or senior participated throughout the world to the Olympic Day, mobilising 142 NOCs - proof of an ever-growing popularity.

Case Studies

Olympic Day Case Studies 2010

Factsheet

IOC launches #StrongerTogether campaign on Olympic Day

“Stronger Together” is a global Olympic campaign that celebrates athletes by showcasing their journey to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and how they kept moving even when the world around them stopped. The story celebrates their strength, resilience and determination to bring hope, unity and inspiration to people around the world.
Learn more

Every year, Olympic Day allows the whole world to unite behind the Olympic dream.

President Thomas Bach

Thomas Bach, IOC President

Case Studies

Gallery

National Olympic Committee - Hungary
The Olympic Day. Two runners congratulating each other. <br />If you wish to obtain these Images, please contact <a href="mailto:images@olympic.org">images@olympic.org</a>
© 2015 IOC
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National Olympic Committee - Tunisia
The Olympic Day. Introduction to Karate. <br />If you wish to obtain these Images, please contact <a href="mailto:images@olympic.org">images@olympic.org</a>
© 2014 IOC
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National Olympic Committee - Yemen
The Olympic Day. Group photo with the banner of the Olympic Day.<br />If you wish to obtain these Images, please contact <a href="mailto:images@olympic.org">images@olympic.org</a>
© 2012 IOC
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National Olympic Committee - Republic of Moldova
The Olympic Day. Taekwondo fight. <br />If you wish to obtain these Images, please contact <a href="mailto:images@olympic.org">images@olympic.org</a>
© 2013 IOC
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National Olympic Committee - Republic of Moldova
The Olympic Day. Introduction to Fencing. <br />If you wish to obtain these Images, please contact <a href="mailto:images@olympic.org">images@olympic.org</a>
© 2013 IOC
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National Olympic Committee - Yemen
The Olympic Day. Volleyball match.<br />If you wish to obtain these Images, please contact <a href="mailto:images@olympic.org">images@olympic.org</a>
© 2012 IOC
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