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  • Two Dozen NOCs Celebrate Olympic Day


    In Beijing, some 1,000 runners took to the streets for an Olympic Day race. Chinese Olympic Committee president and sport minister Liu Peng led the pack. (BOCOG)  
    USOC Honors Athletes for Olympic Day

    Olympic gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Bart Connor were the highlights of the U.S. Olympic Committee celebrations June 23.

    Now husband and wife, the two were the speakers at a special reception for USOC and national governing bodies staff., as well as other members of the U.S. Olympic family.

    The pair discussed their Olympic experiences, both in and out of competition.

    A public event was also held at the USOC campus. Members of the public were able to get autographs from Olympians and Paralympians as well as see sport and sponsor displays.

    NOCs Host Fun Runs

    Olympic Day Fun runs were held in: Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei Darussalam, China, Cuba, Fiji, the Gambia, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Lagos, Malta, Nigeria, the Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Thailand, Uganda, and Vietnam.

    The fun run has become a traditional way to commemorate Olympic Day. Worldwide Olympic sponsor McDonald’s provides support to many of the national fun runs.

    More than 1,000 runners took to the streets in Beijing to celebrate Olympic Day with a jog. Chinese Olympic Committee boss Liu Peng was one of the runners. School children in Huaibei made Olympic Rings out of drawings of children’s faces.

    In Cuba more than 3,000 runners took to the streets of Havana for the city’s run. There were fun runs held in every Cuban municipality.

    The Prince of Brunei started the run in his country, and then later joined the other runners.

    Vietnam had the largest celebration. More than 70,000 people raced in four different events in Hanoi. Vice chairman and Secretary General of the Vietnam National Olympic Committee Hoang Vinh Giang said: "the Olympic Day Run has become an indispensable sporting event in the world and the annual Run for Peace has been an essential sporting event in the capital for over 35 years."

    Olympic Cities

    Sochi marked its first Olympic Day as an Olympic city not with a run but with a swim festival. Some 400 school children and city residents attended the festival; elite athletes swam a 2014 meter relay.

    Bid leader Dmitry Chernyshenko says the childrens' participation proves Sochi is already delivering on its promise to get more young people into sports.

    London 2012 is partnering with the British Department for Children Schools and Families on a project that asks what it means to be "British". Paralympic Champion Tanni Grey-Thompson joins Schools Minister Jim Knight at a London school for the inaugural program. The program uses the Games to frame questions of national identity and asks young students to consider which national Olympic and Paralympic team they support and if athletes should be allowed to switch their nationality and team.

    Olympic Day starts a week long schedule of similar programming at several British schools.

    Vancouver 2010, with just over one and a half years before the Games, held no Olympic Day program.

    Written by Ed Hula III and Maggie Lee

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