Every year, Olympic Day is celebrated all over the world on 23 June, giving everyone the opportunity to meet Olympic athletes, get acquainted with Olympic sports and share Olympic values. More and more events are organised in France every year, taking place in Paris and the rest of the country and welcoming increasing numbers of people each time — athletes as well as civil society.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin brought together various parties involved in international sport at the Sorbonne University in Paris on 23 June 1893 with the intention of reviving the Olympic Games. He succeeded and the Games, abandoned since antiquity, at last took their modern form in their birthplace, Athens, in 1894.
The IOC and the spirit of sharing
The IOC therefore chose to commemorate the founding of the Olympic Games by launching the first edition of Olympic Day in 1948. Since the creation of the Sport for All Commission by the IOC in 1987, the event has been based on three pillars: “Move”, “Learn” and “Discover”. The date of 23 June has therefore become a symbol of sports and Olympism. It was, for example, the day that Paris 2024 announced its bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games back in 2015.
The Paris 2024 Olympic Day
Paris 2024 has been working to promote these three pillars since 2017, teaming up with the French National Olympic and Sports Committee and the French Ministry of Sport in 2019 to hold a joint celebration.
Olympic Day marked a turning point in the Paris 2024 Olympic bid in 2017, summed up by the image of parties in the streets of Paris and on the banks of the River Seine. The striking image of a floating athletics track in Paris’ famous river travelled all over the world.
In 2019, Olympic Day marked a new step in the public’s involvement in the Paris 2024 adventure. At the end of 12 races held all over France, 46 lucky runners won tickets to take part in the marathon for the general public at the Paris 2024 Games. In Paris, the race went past the obelisk at Place de la Concorde, opening a huge party that transformed the famous square into an urban sports venue in the heart of Paris. Fans of all ages rubbed shoulders with athletes, getting acquainted with over 30 different Olympic and Paralympic sports and watching spectacular demonstrations.
For Yannick Agnel, two‑time Olympic champion, showcasing Olympism at these events is essential to drum up public anticipation, “It’s an honour to pass the torch on to others in this way and hold a party for sport, for all sports.I think it’s important that we athletes are involved with this special day, and get other people excited ahead of the Paris 2024 Games.”
Events all over France
Olympic Day has continued to grow since 2019 by partnering with Fête du Sport, a celebration of sport established by the French Ministry of Sport, as part of a collective movement to promote involvement in sport and Olympic values. In 2019, over 700 projects were carried out in every department of mainland France and French overseas territories, reflecting how the Games will be shared throughout the country. Members of the public were able to meet athletes from their regions locally and get acquainted with Olympic and Paralympic sports. The events therefore contributed significantly to the Paris 2024 objective of increasing the reach of sport in the daily lives of the people of France.