The patter of a few million feet will be heard around the planet this weekend
, running for fun in the latest celebration of Olympic Day, June 23.
June 23, the date in 1894 when the International Olympic Committee formed in Paris
, wasn't officially marked until 1948 when nine national Olympic committees noted the day. In 1987, 45 nations hosted a 10k run.
Since then the event has been expanded to include less rigorous activities, allowing participation to soar to nearly 1.75 million a year. While it might not be the biggest day on the calendar,
in a diverse world that notes religious and national holidays, few of these annual commemorations truly cut across boundaries and beliefs. When I began covering the Olympics 20 years ago, Olympic Day seemed a bit of a footnote.
Now, the news desk at Around the Rings begins hearing word of Olympics Day events months in advance. Encouragement from the IOC and in the past few years, local support from worldwide sponsor McDonald's, has helped the event to grow. For the many volunteers who labor in the vineyards of the Games,
the day can become a symbol to remember what the Olympics are all about. In the din of campaigns to win the Games, the crush of preparation for the Games and the political battles that tie federation or NOCs into knots, maybe June 23 is a good day to take a breath, and pause to consider the more elemental aspects of the Olympics, as described by Pierre de Coubertin: "Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of a good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles." Op Ed is a weekly column of opinion and ideas from Around the Rings founder and editor-in-chief Ed Hula. Comments, as well as guest columns are welcomed: firstname.lastname@example.org