Now in its 40th year of operation, the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) draws from the time-tested Olympic values of Excellence, Respect and Friendship to demonstrate that solidarity is critical to surviving the COVID-19 pandemic.
Olympic Day 2021
In his Olympic Day message, ONOC President Dr Robin Mitchell also underscored the importance of sport and physical activity to human life and good health.
“Never have these two basic things meant so much as in this current time of the coronavirus pandemic of COVID-19. Never have we been tested so hard as people, families, communities, workplaces and countries,” he said.
“Never have we been tested for our Olympic values of Excellence, Respect and Friendship.
“We are now in the second year of the pandemic and through our engagement in sport and in the Olympic Movement, we have demonstrated that we can work in Hope and Solidarity.
“We can deliver together.”
Celebrating Australian support to Oceania athletes
Dr Mitchell added that, “we have athletes and teams from Oceania in various stages of preparation and travel to Tokyo. A year ago, the resilience of our athletes, our NOCs and indeed, of us as a whole family of ONOC, was tested with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the postponement of the Games. Now, we’re barely weeks away from meeting each other – but in a different way.”
He thanked the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian Government for its timely support through the PacificAus Sports program, which saw over 170 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from eleven Pacific nations to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The PacificAus Sports program is contributing toward an estimated 150 Olympic athletes from the Pacific Island nations of Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are looking to secure a spot on their respective Olympic Games’ teams. An additional twenty Paralympic athletes will represent Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands, PNG, Kiribati, Samoa and Tonga at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
40 years of Oceania promoting Olympic values
Dr Mitchell referred to ONOC’s 40th anniversary and the importance of sport. He said; “In 40 years, we have learned to stand for something much bigger than sport and that is probably the larger and deeper lesson for us. Sport is our life. But sport is now at the cusp of being elevated into recognition as key to human health and survival.”
He thanked all athletes, National Olympic Committees (NOCs), national and regional sport federations, sport leaders and administrators for their commitment to sport and for their joint contributions to healthy Pacific communities.
The ONOC member NOCs celebrated Olympic Day in various ways according to the COVID-19 status and restrictions in their respective countries.
Coinciding with Olympic Day, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is started its Olympics Unleashed TV with the airing of Episode 1, the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) is held its Olympic Day Fun Run, and the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) launched a video and its TikTok account.
Several countries held events prior to the date and these include the Guam Youth Sports Festival: Celebrating Olympic Day and Return to Sport held by the Guam National Olympic Committee (GNOC) from June 18 to 20, the Kiribati National Olympic Committee (KNOC) held school visits from June 14 to 17, and CISNOC held the Ability Olympics (June 15), Mini Olympics (June 21), and the Educational School Programme (June 22).