Commemorated annually on June 23, the City of Los Angeles held festivities at Will Rogers State Beach to celebrate Olympic Day 2017.
Commencing in more than 160 countries and celebrated by millions, the mission of Olympic Day is to promote the fitness, well-being, culture, and education necessary to excel sports and beyond.
Joined by more than 30-team USA Olympic and Paralympic athletes, hundreds of young kids from LA84 Grantee Programs participated in eight Olympic-style events including fencing, gymnastics, sitting volleyball, table tennis, rugby, handball, volleyball, and track and field. The LA84 foundation, in conjunction with LA2024, along with the Foundation for Global Sports Development, created an atmosphere which captured the values of the Olympics.
For more than 30 years, the legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, LA84, has supported youth sports organizations and educated coaches throughout Southern California. The foundation strives to level the playing field and elevate youth sports in all communities, through events such as Olympic Day.
The LA84 Foundation works with LA2024, the Los Angeles Olympic Bid Committee for the 2024 games, to connect the Olympic spirit to the future by preserving the movement for years to come.
One of LA24’s key members, vice-chair Janet Evans, assists in leading the charge to create a fresh Olympic experience for a new era. A five-time Olympic medalist herself, Evans carries an emphatic message about what landing the games in 2024 would mean to the city of Los Angeles.
“It would be the third time hosting the games, and would inspire a whole new generation of young people to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic games.” She added, “we have incredible sports venues that host sold out crowds and the best fans in the world.”
Olympic Day 2017 encompassed the values and standards of all involved, as hundreds of young Angelenos from across the L.A. community arrived throughout the morning by bus to participate in engaging activities.
One group of young athletes for example, the Southern California Falcons, arrived at Olympic Day as an established community organization. Founded in 2005, the Falcons run youth football teams and feature a character development program.
Shortly before the young Olympians began play, all involved gathered along the shore for some opening remarks from Evans and LA84 SAMbassador Sarajoy Salib. Salib, a recent graduate of Venice High School, described the SAMbassador program as “Student Athletes in Motion,” serving as an advisory board for the foundation.
A dedicated swimmer herself, Salib described LA84’s impact in the community through sports.
“The goal of LA84 is to make sure that students get involved with sports early so that they really understand the importance of what sports are,” she said. “It’s more than just being active, it also has to do with building character and becoming who you are.”
After dozens of Olympic and Paralympic athletes gathered for a group picture, the hundreds of young Angelenos broke off into eight different events. Olympic Day 2017 featured every unique aspect of Los Angeles’s Olympic legacy, while providing connections to a new era in the city’s Olympic movement.
This story was produced through the HS Insider summer internship program which is supported by funding from LA84 Foundation.