International Day of Sport for Development and Peace
The Peaceful Power of Sport
Sport is a universal language that crosses borders, cultures, and religions. The rules of the game, including teamwork, fairness, discipline, and respect for the opponent, are understood all over the world.
Although sport alone cannot stop or solve an acute conflict, it’s a fun and effective way to prevent conflicts, to build peace, as well as to relieve post-conflict stress. It’s a powerful tool to bridge gaps and strengthen social connections, to educate and promote ideals of peace, fraternity, solidarity, non-violence, tolerance and justice and contributes to a healthier happier world.
In 1978, UNESCO described sport and physical education as a “fundamental right for all” but the right to play and sport has too often been ignored or disrespected.
Sport’s value as an instrument for development and peace is not measured by resolutions, appointments and meetings, but by what happens in the field. That’s why The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) was initiated.
It is a platform that highlights the many initiatives that run every day in every corner of the world.
6 April: International Day of Sport for Development and Peace
Creating a historical link to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in 2013 as an annual celebration of the power of sport to drive social change, community development and to foster peace and understanding.
The IOC, in its capacity of Permanent Observer to the UN, has been supportive of this initiative, as it values its potential to recognize sports organizations’ role in and contribution to social change and human development. More specifically, it is an opportunity for the IOC to highlight how athletes and the Olympic Movement use sport to foster peace, reconciliation and development, and underline the power of the Olympic Games to promote tolerance and solidarity among the participants, fans and people all over the world.
“THE OLYMPIC GAMES SHOWED THE WORLD HOW TO COMPETE PEACEFULLY.
THEY SHOWED US THAT, DESPITE ALL OUR DIFFERENCES,
IT IS POSSIBLE FOR HUMANKIND TO LIVE TOGETHER IN PEACE, RESPECT, AND HARMONY.”
Olympism, a way of life
Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life, based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.
Contributing to building a peaceful and better world through sport is a Fundamental Principle of the Olympic Games.
The ancient Olympic Games date from 776 BC, honoring God Zeus.
According to the story, the dactyl Herakles and four of his brothers, raced at Olympia to entertain the newborn Zeus.
He crowned the victor with an olive tree wreath, which became a symbol of peace.
The other Gods that lived on Mount Olympus, also engaged in running, wrestling and jumping contests.
The modern Olympics Games started in Athens in Summer 1896, with 241 athletes from 14 countries.
Pierre de Coubertin, the IOC’s founder, was explicit in his desire to use the Olympic Games as a forum to promote harmony among individuals and nations. “Wars break out because nations misunderstand each other,” he wrote. “We shall have no peace until the prejudices which now separate the different races shall have been outlived. To attain this end, what better means than to bring the youth of all countries periodically together for amicable trials of muscular strength and agility.”
When he announced the forthcoming re-establishment of the Olympic Games in 1892, Pierre de Coubertin was applauded, but nobody at the time imagined the scale of the project that reviving the ancient Olympic Games, appointing a committee in charge of organizing them and creating an international movement would entail.
The International Olympic Committee was created on 23 June 1894 and the first Olympic Games of the modern era opened in Athens on 6 April 1896.It has now grown to a worldwide event, with ca. 10.500 competing sport professionals, representing 204 nations and 35 different sports.
The Olympic Games take place every four years. The Winter Games are smaller and follow two years after the Summer Games.
The symbolic fire was first lit in 1928 during the opening of the Olympic Summer Games in Amsterdam.
Since 1936 the torch is carried from Olympia to the Olympic host city, starting weeks before the opening ceremony.
His stunning victories and achievement of four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin have made Jesse Owens the best remembered of all Olympic athletes.
His outstanding performance during the Olympics not only discredited heinous claims of the dictator, Adolph Hitler, it also affirmed that individual excellence rather than race or national origin, distinguishes one man or woman from another.
At the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, at the Opening Ceremony, teams from the DPRK and the Republic of Korea, separated for decades by a military border, marched side by side.
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