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23 June marks Olympic Day - an important day in the history of the modern Olympic Games. On 23 June 1894, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French pedagogue who was convinced of sport’s moral and educational value, began the task of reviving the Olympic Games. He set up a committee in charge of organizing the first Games and created an international Olympic Movement. Hence the first Games of the modern era were staged in Athens in 1896 and the International Olympic Committee was officially created. Back then nobody could have imagined how big the Olympic Movement would become.

Olympic Day, held annually, is celebrated by thousands of people, in more than 160 countries. Commemorating the birth of the modern Olympic Games, Olympic Day is not only a celebration, but an international effort to promote fitness and well-being in addition to Olympic ideals of fairplay, perseverance, respect, and sportsmanship.



23 June 1894

On this date, the participants in the International Athletics Congress in Paris voted unanimously to re-establish the Olympic Games as proposed by Pierre de Coubertin. It is thus the birth date of the modern Olympic Movement.

23 June 1948

This is the date of the first World Olympic Day, approved by the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz, Switzerland, in January 1948.

The World Olympic Day was held with a total of nine National Olympic Committees hosting ceremonies in their respective countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela.


In the 1978 edition of the Olympic Charter, the IOC recommends 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.”

The idea of enhancing the celebration by organizing events for a whole week was added to the 1990 version of the Olympic Charter.

23 June 1987

The concept of an Olympic Day Run was launched by the IOC Sport for All Commission. It was meant by the Commission as a way of encouraging NOCs to celebrate Olympic Day. The first Olympic Day Run was held over a distance of 10km, with 45 participating NOCs.

23 June 2008

The celebration of Olympic Day turned 60! Over the years, it has developed into the only worldwide celebration of the Olympic Movement and has helped spread the Olympic values to every corner of the world.

March 2009

In 2009, the Run became Olympic Day, an event grouping together all the NOCs’ activities on the occasion of 23 June.

Some key facts about the 2011 edition

Over four million participants on the five continents!

More than 70 per cent of participants were aged under 24!

Hundreds of Olympians were invited to exchange information with children about the life of an athlete!