Published: 23rd June 2021
What the FAQ: Why is International Olympic Day celebrated on June 23? Here's all you need to know
June 23 is celebrated as International Olympic Day every year. In today's FAQ column, we tell you what the day is all about, its history, significance and more
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent his best wishes to the Indian athletes who are going to participate in the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo from July 23 to August 8, 2021. "Wishing the very best to our contingent, which consists of our finest athletes," he tweeted on Wednesday. June 23 also happens to be International Olympic Day and it has been celebrated around the world over the years. Here we try to answer all your questions about the day, why it is celebrated, its origin and more.
What is International Olympic Day?
International Olympic day is organised by the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) on June 23 to celebrate the foundation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), established on the same day in 1894 in Sorbonne, Paris. The creation of the modern-day Olympic Games is inspired by the ancient Olympic Games held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894 and laid the foundation for the Olympic Games.
What is the history behind Olympic Day?
Dr Josef Gruss, a member of the International Olympic Committee in Czechoslovakia, had presented a report about World Olympic Day in 1947 in Stockholm. However, the idea was adopted in the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz in January 1948. June 23 was chosen to commemorate the foundation of the IOC. Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Austria, Venezuela, Switzerland, Great Britain, Uruguay, and Canada organised the event in their respective countries to promote the idea of sports among young people since then.
Why is Olympic Day celebrated every year?
It is celebrated to encourage more people to participate in the Olympic Games and spread awareness about the event and promote the Olympic Movement. Based on the three pillars – move, learn and discover – the National Olympic Committees are deploying sports, cultural and educational activities to encourage participation regardless of age, gender, social background, or sporting ability. In some countries, the event has also been incorporated into the school curriculum, while many NOCs have included concerts and exhibitions as a part of the Olympic Day celebrations in recent years. NOC activities also often include meetings for children and young people with top athletes making it easier for people to become part of Olympic Day.
What is happening this year due to the COVID pandemic?
The theme for the 2021 Olympic Day is — Stay healthy, stay strong, stay active with the #OlympicDay workout. The Tokyo Olympics is set to begin in July despite the pandemic. Organisers have already announced that up to 10,000 domestic spectators will be allowed in stadiums, constituting a 50 per cent seating capacity. The Tokyo Games are scheduled to begin on July 23 and the quadrennial event will go on till August 8, 2021.