Liberia & the International Olympic Day

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Today is an important day for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was exactly this day on June 23, 1894 that the Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin succeeded in the reactivation of the modern Olympic Games.

As a tradition, known as Olympic Day, it is held annually in more than 160 countries, including Liberia, to commemorate the revival of the games; and to also promote fitness, well-being, culture and education, while promoting the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

So normally, an Olympic Day Run is organized, with the participation of residents of the host city and with brief lectures on the values of the games.

At the end of the race, certificates of participation are awarded; for in the Olympic Movement, the value of effort in the ancient Greek ideal gains momentum here.

In every country, national Olympic committees, as it is being done today, are executing Olympic Day Runs to honor that responsibility. What about Liberia? LNOC officials have said that due to the August Olympic Games in Brazil, the Day will not be celebrated since people’s attention is already focused on Brazil. And officials are yet to announce Liberia’s fate in the Games, for an amount of US$151, 000 requested from the government to ensure Liberia’s participation was turned down by the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning.

Though the rest of the world, including Brazil, will honor the Olympic Day arrangement, one would have thought that Liberian Olympic officials would have seen the importance of this Day, and used the opportunity to host it since it is one of the few important events the LNOC carries out every year.

Now to return to the Olympic Day, it is one hundred and twenty two years ago as of June 23 1894, when the First Olympic Congress was organized by Baron de Coubertin to “revive” the Olympiads and host the first Games of the modern era.

The Games have been held 30 times along with 14 Paralympic Games, and they take place for the first time in South America. It is important to stress that sport federations and associations who are members of the Olympic family must be able to demonstrate their willingness honor their responsibilities in developing their respective sports, and be consistent with their objectives to live by the principles that are honored by the Olympic Movement.

It is true that winning is not the sole objective at the Olympic Games, which does not suggest that federations and associations should engage in perpetual conflicts that go against the objective of sports and the values of the Olympic Movement.

Federations and associations should note that the NOC promote the fundamental principles of Olympism within the framework of sports, and are committed to the development of athletes and support the development of sports for all programs.

Another objective of the National Olympic Committees is to ensure that athletes from their respective nations attend the Olympic Games. Only an NOC is able to select and send teams and competitors for participation in the Olympic Games.

National Olympic Committees also supervise the preliminary selection of potential bid cities. Before a candidate city can compete against those in other countries, it first must win the selection process by the NOC in its own country. The National Olympic Committee can then name that city to the IOC as a candidate to host the Olympic Games. Hence the important role of the Liberia National Olympic Committee is linked to the development of the overall athlete.

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