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What Is Olympic Day? (6/21/13)

BY STEVEN HOLCOMB

This Sunday, June 23, is Olympic Day, and all across the world people from all walks of life, in every nation, male and female, young and old, are celebrating the Olympic Movement. But this isn’t just some invented holiday created by a corporation or thoughtful way for the U.S. Olympic Committee to snag some extra support – it’s a worldwide celebration. But what does it actually mean, Olympic Day? Why do we have it, and how do we celebrate it? Well, let me fill you in.

Olympic Day is celebrated on June 23 every year. It’s not the fourth Sunday of June, and it’s not 12 days after the last full moon. It is on June 23 because that is the day in 1894 that Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games, saw his vision come to life. His goal was to promote participation in sport across the globe regardless of age, gender or athletic ability.

So, why are we celebrating it again? For the last 20 years, Olympic Day has been celebrated by doing an Olympic Day Run that was held around the globe. But times are changing; now it’s not just about going on a little fun run in honor of some guy’s idea over 100 years ago. The Olympic Movement is about building a peaceful and better world by educating our youth through sport; sport that is practiced without discrimination of any kind, with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. It’s not just for “Olympians” or “Olympic hopefuls” either; it is, as de Coubertin saw it, for people of all ages, genders and athletic ability.

But it doesn’t stop there. As a nation we need to let our kids play. Actually, we need now more than ever for our kids to go out and play. With the rise of social media, easy access to internet, engaging television and video games, kids just don’t “play” like they used to, and it’s showing. Plus, who’s going to fill my shoes when I decide to move on from bobsledding? You can’t learn that from behind a computer.

As for us adults it is a time to stop and think about what the Olympic Games symbolize to the world. They are a symbol of peace and unity. They are a symbol of fair play and ethics, and they are a symbol of equality. As a nation, we need to step up and lead the way, to show the rest of the world how to celebrate the Olympics, how to celebrate the Olympic Movement, and how to be the best nation in the world. So stop reading this blog, get off your butt, and go play. That is what the day is about and that is how you celebrate it.