Olympic Spirit for Young and Old

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) held its annual Olympic Day Run at Maphanzela Primary school, in Thokozaon the East Rand on Saturday. 

Learners and parents from five surrounding schools participated in the event, which was held as a 5 kilometre fun run/walk. Overcast skies provided welcome protection from the summer sun, and the perfect weather for the event.

SASCOC president Moss Mashishi opened the event with a message from International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge on the spirit of Olympism, and encouraged the learners to aim for London’s 2012 Olympics.

The budding young athletes could not contain their excitement any longer and bolted at the sound of the starting gun, and volunteers handed out water sachets to the tired runners at designated water points along the route.

Parents and grandparents as old as 75 participated in the event, and each participant received the commemorative Olympic Day Certificate of Accomplishment from the IOC on completion of the run.

The personalised Olympic Day Certificate was presented with an Olympic Day Run T-shirt to the runners as they crossed the finish line.

The IOC requested National Olympic Committees (NOC’s) worldwide to plant olive trees as part of a project to restore hope at Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games.

A terrible fire wiped out acres of olive trees and threatened to destroy the ancient city itself just three months ago. It was in this spirit that SASCOC planted an olive tree at the host school, and presented more trees to other participating schools as part of the project.

In an effort to encourage all NOC’s to commemorate Olympic Day, which celebrates the creation of the IOC on 23 June 1894 in Paris, the IOC Sport for All Commission launched the Olympic Day Run concept.

The objective is to the practice of participation in sport by men, women and children from all corners of the world and all walks of life, regardless of athletic ability. The first Olympic Day Run was held in 1987, over a distance of 10km, with 45 participating NOCs.

The Olympic Day Run was supported by McDonalds as its worldwide event partner, and with the support of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality in SA.

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