Olympic day is the birth day of Modern Olympics established on 23 June, 1894 in Paris through the father of IOC Pierre de Coubertin. His dream for IOC was to revive the ancient Olympic that was held in 8th century BC to 4th century AD in Athens, Greece. Coubertin inspired by ancient Olympic and built on the idea aiming to establish International Olympic Games rotating every four years in different countries. He presented his idea to likeminded friends of different countries and called a meeting from 16-23 June 1894, at university of Paris. It was first Olympic congress to form the IOC First Olympic Games would take place in Athens in 1896. 14 Countries, 241 Athletes competed in 43 different sport events in 1896, Athens,Greece.
In 1916 during the world war-1 and in 1940 and 1948 during the world war-2 Olympic had not been held. In January 1948, after the world war-2, the IOC approved the idea of Olympic Day to remember the creation of the IOC on 23 June 1894, a sort of Birthday at the 42nd IOC session in St Moritz, Switzerland.Olympic Day was held for the first time on 23 June with a total of 9 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) hosting ceremonies in their respective countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela.In 1987, in an effort to encourage all NOCs to commemorate and celebrate Olympic Day, the IOC Sport for All Commission launched the Olympic Day Run concept with the objective of promoting the practice of participation in sport by men, women and children from all corners of the world and all walks of life, regardless of athletic ability. The first Olympic Day Run was held in 1987, over a distance of 10km, with 45 participating NOCs. In 2006, there were 161 NOCs promoting Olympic Day Run to their countrymen.The Olympic Day Run is usually held during June 17–24 by NOCs, with 1.5 km Olympic Day Fun Run, 5 km, and 10 km running activities.
Why POA is very late to observe the Olympic Day? The preparation of this day in progress at the start of the June and hosted by NOCs, NGOs and Government sporting organizations all over the world. POA should have to highlight such activates to the sport calendar and inform Olympic community in Pakistan to host more unique and elegant events in Pakistan. I strongly recommend POA to encourage this event not only to promote Olympism But also to involve common people to recognize social values of sport. It will also help us in raising the green flag high through sport participation and add into the healthy life style for Pakistanis. No doubt, sport is the strongest tool for development, peace, harmony and better understanding.
I remember my first celebration of Olympic Day in Pakistan by organizing “ Get Active” walk with 30 children in Islamabad on 23 June, 1996, right after 100 years of first modern Olympic. It was than organized by “Players Appreciation Movement” now adapted to “Sports and Fitness Association of Pakistan”. It might be possible the first Olympic Day event of the country but not confirmed. The participation of Greek Ambassador and Players Gym members to observe the day.
By Shahid Ul Haq