LOS ANGELES (June 23, 2016) – Five hundred young athletes participated in Los Angeles’ Olympic Day 2016 celebration Thursday, hosted by the LA84 Foundation and LA 2024. Inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the main site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, youth from across LA took part in nine Olympic and Paralympic sports while learning from Olympians, LA84 grantee programs, and local sport and adaptive programs.
The event was cosponsored by Nike and the Foundation for Global Sports Development, and saw the participants take part in a celebratory ceremony and lighting of the Olympic flame before proceeding onto the Coliseum field to rotate through the sports stations. The ceremony featured LA84 President & CEO Renata Simril, LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman, LA 2024 Vice Chair and Director of Athlete Relations Janet Evans and five children symbolizing each Olympic ring.
“LA84 was excited to provide young athletes in Southern California the opportunity to participate in and embrace a variety of sports during Olympic Day,” said Simril. “These youth can take the experiences and lessons of Olympic Day to empower themselves in all their endeavors. The spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the values they instill have provided countless young Americans with lifelong growth through the power of play, and this event continues that tradition.”
Archery, badminton, fencing, gymnastics, rowing, rugby, soccer, volleyball and Paralympic sitting volleyball were the nine sports set up inside the stadium. The youth also expressed their spirit by writing letters to Team USA athletes taking part in the Rio Olympic Games in August.
The celebration was a part of Olympic Day 2016, which saw a record-setting 2,120 events across the nation according to United States Olympic Committee projections. The event encouraged young athletes to promote the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect while carrying out the three pillars of Olympic Day: Move, Learn and Discover.
“It’s awesome to be here giving back to the kids,” said three-time Olympian in badminton Howard Bach, who led an on-field workshop. “Seeing the smiles on all the kids’ faces makes it worth every minute.”
The LA84 Foundation has proudly carried out the Olympic spirit, working in underserved communities to create equal opportunities in youth sports as a testament to the 1984 Games and Southern California’s commitment to Olympic sport.
“The Olympics are in LA’s DNA,” LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said. “Eighty-eight percent of Angelenos support bringing the Games back to the City of Angels in 2024. As a city and as the committee working to bring back the Games to the US for the first time in 28 years, we are thrilled to have had the opportunity to host the US flagship celebration of the Olympic Movement at the iconic LA Memorial Coliseum.”
“As a city with a ready-made connection to youth culture, Olympic Day is a unique opportunity to get a taste of what it means to inspire the next generation around the positive and powerful values of sport and Olympism,” LA 2024 Vice Chair and Director of Athlete Relations Janet Evans said.
About the LA84 Foundation
As a legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games, the LA84 Foundation continues to be a nationally recognized leader in support of youth sport programs and elevating the importance of sports in positive youth development. LA84 seeks to provide an opportunity for every child to participate in sports and experience the wide range of positive outcomes associated with youth sport participation. Since its launch in 1985, LA84 has invested millions in the communities that supported the Games, reaching more than 3 million youth throughout Southern California, from Santa Barbara to San Diego County. The LA84 Foundation continues to promote the spirit of the 1984 Olympic Games by convening and engaging local, national and international audiences about the role of sport in society, and the impact of the Olympic Games on host cities, especially as we look ahead to the 2024 Games. LA84’s headquarters is located in the historic Britt House near downtown Los Angeles, where it houses meeting facilities and the world’s premier sports library. For more information, please visit www.la84.org.