Olympic Day was Monday June 23, taking place this year during the World Cup, which generates a great deal of energy and excitement for the power of sport around the world. It feels that there is growing momentum for the role that sport has to contribute to educational and development outcomes. It feels that there is a growing awareness and understanding that sport can truly contribute to humankind on and off the field.
Olympic Day offers a tremendous opportunity to celebrate Olympism and the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence. Olympic Day is also an occasion to promote the Sport for All messages and ideals as put forth by the International Olympic Committee's Sport for All Commission. Olympic Day encourages participation and engagement by everyone.
"Sport for All is a movement promoting the Olympic ideal that sport is a human right for all individuals regardless of race, social class and sex. The movement encourages sports activities that can be exercised by people of all ages, both sexes and different social and economic conditions."
While Sport for All does promote an inclusive message, an important dimension seems to be missing from the Sport for All mission that lies at the core purpose of Olympic Day and Sport for All -- all abilities. The inclusion of all abilities into the mission of Sport for All would be a tremendous recognition of the "Unity in Diversity" message of IOC President Thomas Bach, and also would be inclusive of the more than one billion people worldwide with disabilities and their families and friends.
Further, the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes that sport is a human right for people with disabilities, so it would make sense to add All Abilities from this perspective as well. The inclusion of All Abilities would recognize, legitimize and value all people at all levels who participate and compete in sport, physical activity and play using their diversity of abilities.
Olympic Day is a wonderful day to celebrate Sport for All and the Olympic values. Young people of all abilities all over the world are watching the World Cup and falling in love with the power of sport. This is a great opportunity to celebrate diversity and embrace sport participation and involvement in all levels and all forms. An inclusive community is a healthy and vibrant community. Let's make Sport for All open to All Abilities!
Eli Wolff directs of the Sport and Development Project at Brown University, and also directs the Inclusive Sports Initiative at the Institute for Human Centered Design, and the Disability Sport Education Program at the University of Illinois. Follow Eli Wolff on Twitter (@eliwolff10).
Dr. Mary Hums is Professor of Sport Administration at the University of Louisville and Research Fellow with the Inclusive Sports Initiative at the Institute for Human Centered Design. Follow Dr. Mary Hums on Twitter (@mahums).