Olympic Day Celebrations 2022

Olympic Day Celebrations 2022 – Independence Square & Olympic House – Colombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka

“Sharing, friendship, joy in effort and always doing your best”

In our ever-changing world, we are all adjusting to the new normal and here at the IOC it is dubbed as “Together, for a better world”. The new normal has deep meaning and significance mainly owing to the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and dicey political situation that has engulfed the whole globe.

Chief Guest HE Eric Lavertu the French Ambassador to Sri Lanka quite philosophically spelled the significance of June 23 and the Olympic Day Run and added “We are gathered today in the NOC of Sri Lanka, more than 10,000 kilometers from France and 85 years after the death of Pierre de Coubertin – father modern Olympics. Could Coubertin have imagined that one day his will and his heritage would be celebrated in Sri Lanka?

His ideas have indeed crossed the planet. The sport values he wanted to promote are universal and timeless: sharing, friendship, joy in effort, always doing your best… Of course, it would be easy to refer to Duncan White and his silver medal in 400 meters hurdles at the Olympics Games of London in 1948, or Susanthika Jayasinghe and his silver medal in 200 meters at the Olympic Games of Sydney in 2000. They are, of course, great athletes.
But for me, an athlete represents those values perfectly: Ranatunge Karunananda and his race in the 10,000 meters event and his state of mind after the race gave him this nickname: “The most spirited loser in the Olympics history”.

I am aware that the Commonwealth Games are coming soon and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Sri Lankan athletes a good luck and a good competition. But I would like to conclude this speech by introducing the Olympic Games of Paris 2024.

These games are supposed to be fantastic and unique. For the first time of Summer Olympics, the opening ceremony will take place outside the stadium. It will be a parade, on the Seine with 10,500 athletes, 120 heads of State or governments, 160 boats… It will become the largest Olympic ceremony in the world. These games are also ambitious and revolutionary. They are particularly committed to protecting the environment and want to neutralize their carbon impact.

I deeply hope that these games will be a moment of sharing, joy and peace. I hope that the situation in Sri Lanka will improve and Sri Lankans will be able to fully follow the Olympic values and encourage their athletes with passion; even if cricket is still not an Olympic sport.”

President of the National Olympic Committee Suresh Subramaniam said that they were gathered at this venue to celebrate the symbolic anniversary of the birth of Modern-day Olympics. He Said “Today the word together, is the latest addition to the Olympic motto. By adding the word together defines ‘Reach higher, faster, together’.

We are striving achieve togetherness and move towards a better Sri Lanka through Sports and Olympism. IOC President Thomas Bach explained his commitment by changing the original motto ‘solidarity fuels our mission to make this world a better place, through sport. We can only go faster, we can only aim higher, we only become stronger by standing together”.

The day got underway with the lighting of the traditional Olympic Torch by the President and the Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee Mr. Suresh Subramaniam, Maxwell de Silva and HE Eric Lavertu the French Ambassador to Sri Lanka, respectively. Joining the Torch igniting ceremony were the Secretary to the Ministry of Sports Anuradha Wijekoon, Olympic Silver Medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe and Olympian Niluka Karunaratne.
Another significant feature of the programme was the ODR quiz programme under one of the Olympic Day pillars of Move, learn and Discover. There were 275 participants altogether. The winners of the contest were — 1. Rahul Jeyanthan, 2. Akarshana Premkumar and Lemuel Pathmapuvanendran.

Report / Photos courtesy NOCSL Media