LA 2024, the LA84 Foundation, the United States Olympic Committee & The Foundation for Global Sports Development today celebrated a record-breaking Olympic Day 2017 and hosted sports clinics for 500 young Angelenos at LA’s iconic Will Rogers State Beach. Reflecting a commitment to achieving the IOC Olympic Agenda 2020 goal of spreading Olympic values in society, a record-setting 2400 scheduled events in 1503 communities around the country engaged more than 600,000 Americans in celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements.
Joined by more than 30 Team USA Olympians and Paralympians, the young athletes at LA’s Olympic Day event participated in eight Olympic and Paralympic sport clinics including fencing, gymnastics, Paralympic sitting volleyball, rugby, table tennis, team handball, track and field and volleyball. In addition to LA 2024 Vice Chairs five-time Olympic medalist Janet Evans and 12-time Paralympic medalist Candace Cable, athletes attending the Olympic Day celebration included gymnasts Samantha Peszek and Raj Bhavsar and figure skaters Alex and Maia Shibutani.
LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said: “LA 2024 believes in the power of the Olympic values to unite our communities and to encourage youth around the world to play sports and pursue active lives. It makes me very proud to know that hundreds of thousands of people around the nation followed LA’s lead today in celebrating the power of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Days like today boost our belief that LA 2024 is the perfect partner to help the IOC strengthen and spread Olympic values in the US and worldwide.”
LA84 Foundation President and CEO Renata Simril said: “We were proud to provide young Angelenos the chance to learn, take part in, and be inspired by Olympic Day and the values it supports. Every day is Olympic Day for the LA84 Foundation, and this opportunity will positively change the lives of the youth that we serve. Along with LA 2024, we remain committed to channeling the Olympic and Paralympic Movements into a life-changing impact on generations to come.”
Olympic Day is held annually on June 23 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games in 1894 and is celebrated by millions of people in more than 160 countries. Its mission is to cultivate fitness, well-being, culture and education while promoting the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect as well as the three pillars of Olympic Day: move, learn and discover.
USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun said: “Olympic Day marks an exciting milestone on the sporting calendar each year, as it’s an opportunity to spread the values of Olympism to the next generation of Team USA athletes and fans. Olympic Day also brings together hundreds of inspiring Team USA athletes, National Governing Bodies and Multi-Sport Organizations, who join up to bring sport and the Olympic values to so many communities throughout the country.”
The sporting federations and organizations taking part in the LA Olympic Day festivities included USA Track & Field, USA Gymnastics, USA Volleyball, USA Table Tennis, USA Team Handball, Play Rugby USA and Avant Garde Fencers Club. The Foundation for Global Sports Development sponsored the event, while every participating youth also received a UNICEF Kid Power Band, a first of its kind activity tracker that encourages youth in the United States to adopt active lifestyles, with the incentive of unlocking lifesaving packets for kids in need worldwide by way of the number of steps they take per day.
The Foundation for Global Sports Development President David Ulich said: “We are honored to have supported such an inspiring event to promote the Olympic values in Los Angeles.”
Additionally, the event was made possible with the help of LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and her office staff. Also part of the day’s activities were remarks by a member of the LA84 SAMbassadors, a group of young athletes that serve as an advisory board to the LA84 Foundation, while volunteers from multiple Target locations also took part in and supported the celebration.
During the day, 43 local middle schools and over 3,000 students also hosted their own Olympic Day celebrations as part of the LA84-funded LAUSD Beyond The Bell program, a free-of-charge afterschool sports program in every LAUSD middle school.
This year’s event marks the second consecutive year LA84 and LA 2024 partnered to bring hundreds of aspiring athletes together to celebrate Olympic Day. Last year’s event was hosted at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, host site of the Opening Ceremonies for the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games and proposed site for the LA 2024 athletics competition and innovative dual ceremonies concept.
Endowed with the surplus of the 1984 Games and guided by the Olympic spirit and values, LA84 continues to work in underserved communities to ensure equal access to sport and structured play for all youth. In addition to Olympic Day, LA84’s Summer Splash and Run4Fun programs are among the many LA84 initiatives designed to keep youth active, healthy, and empowered through sport and play.