Olympic Day celebrations in Germany

“Never change a winning team” – following this tactic, the German Olympic Academy (DOA) organised its Olympic Day at the German Sport & Olympic Museum (DSOM) in Cologne for the ninth time. Around 500 children from 11 schools came together on 18 June for the first of many national events to mark IOC Foundation Day. Talks with five athletes from the German Olympic and Paralympic Team, nine sports and exercise programmes and museum tours provided an interactive setting.

“Let’s move and celebrate”

At the opening ceremony, a dynamic breakdance performance set the stage for a warm welcome to the pupils from 15 school classes. DOA Chair Prof. Dr. Gudrun Doll-Tepper and Deputy Chair Prof. Dr. Annette Hofmann addressed the students and explained the event’s rich history and its connection to the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

During the athlete talks, Lisa Bergenthal and Thomas Reier (wheelchair basketball), Thies Prinz (hockey), Jonas Reckermann (beach volleyball) and Stefanie von Berge (boxing) answered the students’ questions and gave insights into their everyday lives and their experiences at the Olympic Games. The 2012 Olympic beach volleyball champion, Reckermann, impressed above all with his spontaneity by stepping in at short notice for a talk, although he had originally only travelled as a teacher with his class.

Inspiring Talks And Challenging Activities

In addition to the talks, a sporting programme awaited the pupils: activity stands, including those of the German Hockey Federation, the German Handball Federation, Baskets for Cologne and the German Disabled Sports Youth, encouraged the schoolchildren to get moving. At the “Et Toi” Challenge organised by the North Rhine-Westphalia Disabled and Rehabilitation Sports Association, for example, they experienced the fascinating world of para-sport and were able to test their skills at rowing, table tennis and a tapping challenge for para-athletics. The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) was present with an information stand and the dialogue initiative of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) answered questions about the efforts to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games back to Germany in the future.

Finally, DSOM employees guided the classes through the permanent exhibition, which had been expanded to include a presentation on the Olympic Oath on the occasion of Olympic Day. “This year’s Olympic Day was once again a complete success,” summarised Gerald Fritz, Director of the DOA. “With our wide range of activities, we got the pupils moving and put a smile on their faces.” Further events will take place around Olympic Day at universities and schools in the cities of Bayreuth, Ludwigsburg, Mainz and Bonn, which the DOA supports strategically in the planning and realisation.

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