Global Olympic Day Celebrations Underway

23 | 6 | 2015

All around the world Olympians are coming together to celebrate Olympic Day, teaming up with international federations, national Olympic committees and other sporting bodies to embrace the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

23 June marks the day in 1894 when the modern Olympic Games were born. It is a truly global celebration involving millions of people in more than 160 countries. The mission of Olympic Day is to promote fitness, well-being, culture and education while spreading the ideals of Olympism to every corner of the globe. People from all walks of life are encouraged to take part and get active regardless of age, gender, social background or sporting ability.

In the lead up to Olympic Day 2015 the WOA has been sharing the inspiring stories of Olympians everywhere in our Olympic Day Countdown as our members strive to get people active and teach their communities about the role sport has in our society. We’ve brought you updates from six different continents to promote the work Olympians have been doing to spread the Olympic Day pillars move, learn and discover through sport and education.

At the core of the festivities is the traditional Olympic Day run, a fun event for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy physical activity while learning about Olympic ideals and how they can foster social cohesion and sporting excellence.

This year the Olympic capital of Lausanne will again stage the flagship event which also doubles as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the IOC being headquartered in the Swiss city.

IOC President Thomas Bach will be joined by fellow Olympians Slaven Dizdarevic, a Slovakian Decathlete who competed at Beijing 2008, South African cyclist Scott Richardson, who took part in Barcelona 1992, Greek Cross Country Skier Marie Ntanou, who competed at Vancouver 2010, Denmark’s double Olympic Middle Distance medallist Wilson Kipketer , Anne-Sophie Thilo, a member of the Swiss Sailing team at Beijing 2008 and Hisham Shebab, a Bahraini Swimmer who competed at Athens 2004. 

Below are some of the other highlights from our Olympic Day Countdown:

The United States made it a record breaking Olympic Day by becoming the nation with the most Olympic Day events ever in a single year. The USOC with the help of inspiring Olympian, IOC Member and WOA Executive Board Member Angela Ruggiero, registered over 1,000 separate events across all 50 US states. Hundreds of Team USA athletes have attended celebrations throughout the month of June.

In Peru art and sport came together as part of the country’s Olympic Day celebrations which were led by legendary swimmer Rosario ‘Choco’ de Vivanco, who in 1964 at 15-years-old, was the first female athlete to represent Peru at the Olympic Games. The country staged a school drawing and painting competition along with the traditional Olympic Day run in Lima.

In Tajikistan Olympians like Montreal 1976 bronze medallist Zebiniso Rustamova planned a week-long celebration of sport thanks to the WOA development grant which allowed the National Olympians Association to purchase sporting equipment. A variety of disciplines from athletics to football and chess took place across the country starting on 18 June and culminating in a mass event on Olympic Day itself.

Children were the focus of Angola’s Olympic Day plans where around 80 kids took part in sporting and education activities, including a lecture on the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect at the new home of Angola’s Olympic movement, the national Sports Gallery in Luanda. Olympians such as four-time Olympic swimmer Nádia Cruz were on hand to inspire future generations of athletes.

In Australia Olympians across the country returned to school to honour Olympic Day and spread the ideals of Olympism. Olympians like swimmer Brenton Rickard, two-time Silver Medallist at Beijing 2008, visited schools in an effort to inspire, excite and educate children about what it means to be an Olympian while in Melbourne the National Sport Museum held a week long Olympic exhibition and educational programme.

Finally Germany marked the occasion by holding a special awards ceremony where it honoured the country’s Olympians including IOC President Thomas Bach who was presented with an honorary pin by Christian Breuer, President of the German Olympians Association. President Bach was the first to receive the pin which will be given to all members of the German Olympians Association to honour their integrity and excellence in sport.

Other countries who contributed to our Countdown include Sweden, Canada, Czech Republic and Belgium.

The WOA has loved sharing all the inspiring stories our members have sent us from around the world in our Olympic Day Countdown. It’s not too late to let us know what you’ve been up to. Contact us at and we will share your stories, events and pictures on our digital and social platforms.