The New Zealand Olympic Committee has celebrated Olympic Day and New Zealand’s contribution to the founding of the Olympic Movement 125 years ago with an Olympic Sports Day in Auckland today.

More than 100 children gathered at Barfoot and Thompson stadium to have a go at Olympic sports such as basketball, football and karate.

Olympians including rugby sevens player DJ Forbes, boxer Alexis Pritchard, weightlifter Richie Patterson and swimmer Melissa Ingram were on hand to provide additional encouragement and inspiration to the 10–13 year old students.

Alexis Pritchard says getting children active and having fun through sport is the perfect way to celebrate Olympic Day.

“It’s brilliant to have so many kids trying Olympic sports, celebrating the Olympic values and making new friends, bringing people together is what the Olympic movement is all about."

There are definitely some budding Olympians in this bunch so I’d say New Zealand’s Olympic future is in good hands!”

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The sports day forms part of the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s commitment to engaging young New Zealanders with sports, education and the Olympic Games.

“Getting kids to try a variety of sports is hugely beneficial,” said New Zealand Olympic Committee Education Manager Rob Page.

“We see them really light up and get involved with the activities and make the most of the chance to meet Olympic athletes. This kind of opportunity is great for their fitness and also really makes a difference with goal setting and motivation.”

We celebrate Olympic Day every year, but this year it’s extra special as we acknowledge New Zealander Leonard Cuff who was one of thirteen people to sign the founding documents of the Olympic Movement in 1894.”

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The pioneering sports administrator represented New Zealand in athletics in the late 19th century and first met the creator of the modern Olympic Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin in Paris in 1892.

Inspired by de Coubertin’s message of sport, education and peace, Cuff supported the fledgling movement, becoming one of the world’s first IOC Members and a signatory to the Movement on June 23, 1894.

The first modern Olympic Games were held two years later in Greece in 1896 before New Zealand, together with Australia marched into an Olympic Games Opening Ceremony under an Australasian flag at the London 1908 Olympic Games.

New Zealand has continued an almost unbroken tenure of IOC membership with a total of thirteen IOC Members including most recently Olympic medallists Barry Maister, Barbara Kendall and Sarah Walker.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee is active in more than 1000 New Zealand schools with curriculum based educational resources supporting teachers with values-based teaching across a number of subject areas, Education resources are supported by the Olympic Ambassador programme which sees Olympians regularly engage with and inspire New Zealand school children.

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