Pass me the ball – 123,500 people play Volleyball on Olympic Day in Latvia
News from the National Federations
Riga, Latvia, September 23, 2016. Today more than 123,500 people all around Latvia took part in the annual Olympic Day, this year with a focus on Volleyball. At 10:00 all of the country united in a brief morning workout that continued with a series of sports activities, including Volleyball matches and various competitions involving Volleyball as well. It was all about Volleyball and embracing a healthy lifestyle in Latvia on September 23.
The European Week of Sport reached its climax in Latvia on Friday, September 23, when the annual Olympic Day welcomed everyone to a morning workout, whose routine had been previously disseminated on social media. More than 123,500 registered participants at 530 venues covering 96 cities and regions across Latvia took the opportunity of taking a break from their usual routine, focussing on sport and reminding themselves, that a proper morning routine is the best thing to start the day with. In schools and sports centres the workout was followed by Volleyball tournaments played among school children, as well as different relay competitions, including a number of Volleyball skills, so that the participants could familiarise with Volleyball. The motto of the day was “Pass me the ball!”
To support the event and make sure that even more kids would join in the game, the Latvian Volleyball Federation received 150 Mikasa balls from the CEV along with greetings from President Aleksandar Boričić. The balls were distributed across the major venues of the Olympic Day all over Latvia. To further promote the event, four ambassadors were appointed as well, and with their personalities and achievements they were asked to inspire kids and make Volleyball a sport known in every household. These ambassadors were Beach Volleyball stars, Martins Plavins and Haralds Regza, gold medallists at last year’s Baku European Games, and two-time Latvian champions Marta Ozolina and Alise Lece. In addition, some more well-known athletes and Olympians were invited to most of the venues hosting events to say a few words about the values of sport, thus providing children with an opportunity to see their idols in real life.
Representatives of the Latvian Volleyball Federation were present at several venues of the Olympic Day, joining in all activities and soaking in the sparkling atmosphere of kids who were truly enjoying the day. The Olympic Day in Jelgava, which was held at the Zemgale Olympic Centre, was opened by congratulating the Latvian men’s national team, currently in Croatia, on the victory they claimed on Thursday afternoon in a matchup with Slovakia in the second round of qualifications to the 2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship. After the Olympic workout, relays and a Volleyball competition were held to determine the best teams and schools in the city of Jelgava.
In addition to sports activities, local schools and the Latvian Olympic Committee organised various drawing and writing contests in order to promote the Olympic movement and the Volleyball game even more. For example, the lobby of the Zemgale Olympic Centre hosted a small drawing exhibition under the slogan “My dream ball”, where children were asked to create the image of their dream ball.
“The motto of the Olympic Day 2016 in Latvia is “Pass me the ball!”, because it is dedicated to promoting the Olympic sport of Volleyball,” said the Secretary General of the Latvian Olympic Committee, Olympic vice-champion in rowing (1980), Mr Zorzs Tikmers. “Volleyball is a popular sport in Latvia that has always contributed to outstanding results, including at the London 2012 Olympics, where our Beach Volleyball players, Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins won a historic bronze medal.”
The Olympic Day 2016 was organised by the Latvian Olympic Committee and the Latvian Volleyball Federation and it was a part of the European Week of Sport, whose primary aim is to promote physical activities, and everyone in Latvia was invited to take part.
In conjunction with its birthday, the International Olympic Committee is inviting all National Olympic Committees to organise such a day to promote the imperishable values of sport – friendship, honour and excellence.