OLYMPIC Day, held annually on June 23, is celebrated by millions of people in over 180 countries, commemorating the birth of the modern Olympic Games on 23 June 1894.
Olympic Day’s mission is to promote fitness, well-being, culture and education, while promoting the Olympic values – excellence, friendship and respect.
This year the event was celebrated one day late, as Saint Lucians and the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee, on Sunday 24th June, staged the event.
Close to 550 individuals of all ages, runners from member-federations of the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee, participated.
The walk/run took them from the Castries Market, along Jeremie Street, St. Louis Street, Micoud Street, Peynier Street, onto the John Compton highway, Mandela Drive, Mexican Embassy,and returning to the finish line outside the SLOC Headquarters adjacent to Massy Store in La Clery.
SLOC President Fortuna Belrose spoke to the VOICE after the event. She said, “As anything else, the Olympic Day celebration is about celebrating the best in all of us. What we did was to engage our members in a walk/run.
“We had over 500 participants. It’s all about encouraging persons to remain healthy and give of their best. It’s not about the distance and the speed.”
She continued, “The biggest issue for us, as an Olympic committee, is for people to embrace the Olympic values. It’s about being successful, about staying committed to a course, about giving of your best consistently — and that is what we want for our society.”
In terms of member federations participating, Belrose said, “All the associations were present.
“I am aware a couple of them are out of island, but some of their representatives were still able to turn up.
“What we want to see is the numbers growing.
“This is an event we have been doing for the last 10 years. We also had it open to members of the public. Perhaps we need to do a lot more publicity to pull more people to the event.”
The VOICE asked: ‘In the past, you had the various associations putting on displays, why haven’t we seen it for a while?’
Belrose replied: “There are challenges with it. Carnival is in the air; and last evening there were quite a few events across the country that impacted our numbers to an extent.
“It’s getting the commitment of the associations to stay right through the course when you have a packed scheduled.
“We have to be realistic when we are organizing events; we have to look across the country and see what is going on at the same time and see whether it is worth investing in events that will be a little challenging.”