Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Olympic Day Marked in Portland

Rabin Man Shakya
Advisor, Nepa Chhen, Portland, Oregon, USA

Yesterday June 23 marked the World Olympic Day - a celebration of the creation of the first modern Olympic Games. According to news reports, Olympic Day was celebrated across the world including in Nepal and at various cities of the United States. Olympic Day  is celebrated by thousands of people in more than 160 countries.

Commemorating the birth of the modern Olympic Games, Olympic Day is not only a celebration but also an international effort to observe the Olympic values of Fair Play, Perseverance, Respect and Sportsmanship. It is also a day to celebrate the International Olympic Committee's three pillars: Move, Learn, Discover. Actually, Olympic Day is a chance for us to wave the flag for fair play and sportsmanship.

In the chronicles of the Olympic movement, the name of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French pedagogue, is written in the golden letters. It was de Coubertin who realized the moral and educational value of sports and on June 23, 1894 began the task of reviving the Olympic Games.  He constituted a panel in charge of organizing the first games and created an international Olympic movement. Hence, the first Games of the modern era were organized in Athens in 1896 and the International Olympic Committee was officially established.

Meanwhile, in Portland, Oregon, USA too, Olympic Day was marked with great enthusiasm and fanfare by International Open Friendship Taekwondo Championship (IOFTC) . A number of events including a soccer match, Olympic Peace Walk, Taekwondo Demonstration and live music and dance were organized on the occasion.

At a function organized at the Wilshire Park, different speakers threw light on the importance of Olympic Day. They said Olympic Day was an opportunity to renew our commitment to observe the Olympic values of fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship. The function was attended by local dignitaries as well as by one Olympian each from the US and Nepal.

It goes without saying that the Olympic Peace Walk should become a catalyst for participants and others to defend Olympic values and principles. The Olympic peace rally, palpably, was a candid occasion  for participants to embrace with the Olympic ideals. Me and my spouse Naveena Shakya also asked for a half-day-off at our work place to take part at the peace walk which kicked off from Wilshire Park at 4 PM and wound up at IOFTC headquarters on Sandy Blvd.

More than 100 men, women and children (both Nepalese and Americans) from different walks of life covering a broad spectrum of ethnicities participated at the Olympic Peace Walk. One of the distinctive aspects of the peace walk was: All the Nepalese women participants were attired in Haku Patasi Saree ( traditional dress of Newars for women). All the peace walk participants were provided with free Olympic T-shirts and  certificate of participation signed by IOC president Thomas Bach and NOC president Lawrence Probst III.

Eventually, a live music program on the occasion was presented by a Nepali rock group in Portland at the Nekusingh Memorial Theater where Indian cuisine was served as dinner  to the participants. Last but not least,  kudos  to Diwakar Maharjan and Sunil Rajkarnikar for efficiently organizing different events to mark Olympic Day in Portland. Keep it up, guys.

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