Olympic Day June 23, 2021 – #StrongerTogether

In the British Virgin Islands, in-person Olympic Day runs were hosted on Saturday, June 19 on the islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. Photo: BVIOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today launches “Stronger Together”, a global Olympic campaign that celebrates athletes by showcasing their journey to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and how they kept moving even when the world around them stopped. The story celebrates their strength, resilience and determination to bring hope, unity and inspiration to people around the world.

Timed to launch ahead of Olympic Day (23 June), the story features world-renowned athletes, including past and present Olympians Usain Bolt, Naomi Osaka, Andre De Grasse, Yusra Mardini and Nyjah Houston. Tony Hawk is also present, representing the skateboarding community as they enter their first-ever Games.

It focuses on a people-centric message of Stronger Together, emphasising the IOC’s message of solidarity and the belief that the world moves forward only when it moves together, and the irresistible power of the Olympic Games to unite people, communities and societies across the globe.

The film can be watched here.

The #StrongerTogether campaign has been designed to unite people around the world while building excitement for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Online fan engagement

On 23 June, a number of activities will take place on the IOC’s digital platforms to celebrate Olympic Day. People around the world will be able to connect, chat and get inspired by some of the world’s best athletes, including through a dedicated Olympic Day yoga session with Christy Prior, live chats with Usain Bolt and Japanese surfer Kanoa Igarashi, plus workout sessions and a Q&A with tennis star Venus Williams, to name just a few of the activities. These will focus on both physical and mental strength, and will include workouts as well as advice on mindfulness and well-being.

Olympic Day around the world

Some 110 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) around the world are also planning to encourage people to get active on Olympic Day. In-person activities around the world held where the situation permits, include Olympic Day runs, outdoor games for families, introductions to new sports, meetings with Olympians and workshops on the Olympic values. Digital initiatives, such as virtual Olympic challenges, online workouts, virtual live chats with Olympians, online quizzes and webinars on the Olympic values, will also be organised by NOCs. In the British Virgin Islands, in-person Olympic Day runs were hosted on Saturday, June 19 on the islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke and on Sunday, June 27, the BVI Olympic Committee will host the Territory’s first BVI Beach Games with sporting activities for all ages and abilities hosted by the National Federations for rugby, sailing, volleyball and football encouraging people to experience the Olympic Day message to Move, Learn and Discover”.

Olympic Virtual Series

The finals of the first-ever Olympic Virtual Series, the Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports, will be broadcast live on olympics.com on 23 June.

Virtual sports fans can choose if they want to watch the Main Olympic Live Broadcast or specific disciplines. The sports featured are: baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motor sport.

“Lausanne Capitale Olympique” run

On 23 June, the “Lausanne Capitale Olympique” run, organised by the City of Lausanne (Switzerland), where the IOC is headquartered, will be held digitally for the first time.

The organisers have devised a route of around 7km along the shores of Lake Geneva to discover some iconic places linked to Olympism and sport in Lausanne. Along the route, various personalities will provide comments and encouragement, including the IOC President, who will launch the run. You can take part here.

IOC President Bach: “Let’s celebrate the precious Olympic spirit”

“In this extraordinary Olympic year, celebrating Olympic Day is even more special than usual,” said the IOC President, Thomas Bach. “On this Olympic Day, when the entire world has been facing the same struggles and fears because of the global coronavirus pandemic for far too long, the power of sport to bring hope and optimism takes on an even greater significance. Solidarity, hope and optimism – this is what the power of sport is all about. This is why on this Olympic Day, let us stand together to celebrate the precious Olympic spirit,” he continued.

Olympic Day celebrates the revival of the Olympic Games

The idea of celebrating an Olympic Day was adopted at the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz in January 1948. The chosen date celebrates the founding of the IOC at the Sorbonne, Paris, on 23 June 1894, where Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games.

The first Olympic Day was celebrated that same year on 23 June 1948 and, 30 years later, in the 1978 edition of the Olympic Charter, the IOC recommended that all NOCs organise an Olympic Day to promote the Olympic Movement.

Over the last 20 years, Olympic Day has been associated with Olympic Day runs all over the world. First launched in 1987, the runs were about encouraging all NOCs to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport.

More information about Olympic Day can be found here.

BVIOC to host Olympic Day runs and inaugural BVI Beach Games

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC), in collaboration with member national federations will host the first community BVI Beach Games at Brandywine Bay Beach from 10:00am – 4:00pm on Sunday, June 27, 2021.

The BVI Beach Games is an initiative that was first introduced at the BVIOC AGM by the BVI Rugby Football Union as a potential community event following the successful beach rugby and CrossFit fundraiser they organised in November last year.

Working with the national federations for rugby, volleyball, football, sailing and triathlon as well as Castaways CrossFit, the BVIOC is facilitating a community-oriented event aimed at encouraging residents of all ages to try a sport and get active.

The day will feature mini tournaments, pick-up games and an opportunity for anyone to try the aforementioned sports.

“These inaugural games will feature sports that already have a beach version so we know that the land based events are suited to be played in sand,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We are excited to have a fun, healthy and physically active family-oriented event in a safe, outdoor space where the community can get together while maintaining their social distance in keeping with current protocols.”

The BVI Beach Games will include music entertainment, bouncy castles, food and ice cream for sale by Brandywine Estate Restaurant and Icy Treats as well as a bar. Recycling of disposables will be in effect and managed by Green & Clean VI Ltd. A collection table for the donation of non-perishable items for the Family Support Network will be set up as a charitable community out-reach element of the day.

The event will be the first of two annual beach games planned with the second beach games to be hosted in November 2021.

“The long term goal is to develop these disciplines that are already played as beach sports competitively at regional and international level with a view to inviting our neighbours in the USVI, St Maarten and Puerto Rico in the winter of 2022 and hosting the first Regional Beach Games possibly in the winter of 2023 provided COVID-19 travel protocols make it viable,” said Penn.

This event will take place the weekend after the traditional 1 or 2-mile Olympic Day run/walk on Saturday, June 19 in collaboration with the BVI Athletics Association and starting at 7:00am (registration at 6:30am) from the A.O. Shirley Grounds, Tortola and a 3-mile walk/run managed by the Road Runners’ Club and starting at 6:00am from the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Virgin Gorda. Cyclists are also welcome to join an Olympic Day ride in VG which will depart from the college at 6:00am.

Attendees at both the Olympic Day events and the BVI Beach Games will be required to observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand sanitising while at the event.

iFOREX partners with BVI Olympic Committee to support National Team’s journey to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

iFOREX – a leading global financial broker with offices in the BVI – announced its partnership with the British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (BVIOC) and will act as sponsors of the Virgin Islands (UK) Olympic team on its journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

A spokesperson for Formula Investment House Ltd, operator of the www.iFOREX.com website, said: “As a company licensed in the British Virgin Islands, we have first-hand awareness of the spirit and potential of this exceptional team and we are proud and excited to support the athletes in their remarkable efforts to bring home the Territory’s first Olympic medal.”

So far, those who have qualified include Kyron McMaster in the Men’s 400m Hurdles, Eldred Henry in the Men’s Shot Put, and Chantel Malone in the Women’s Long Jump.

It is believed that the partnership marks the first occasion an investment firm has sponsored a National Olympic Committee and iFOREX joins athletic brand PUMA as one of the BVIOC’s two official sponsors.

For over 25 years, iFOREX has remained one of the largest and most respected firms in the Fintech industry, emerging early on as an industry leader in technological innovation and with a dedication to trust and excellence.

“By lining up with PUMA, known for its history of performance and athletic support, we’re proud to help the BVI’s athletes to represent their country with devotion and determination,” said an iFOREX spokesperson.

Throughout the sponsorship, iFOREX will show its support for the BVI Olympic Team with online content chronicling the team’s journey from their training camps to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, as well as the team’s results, which will be available to both clients and staff all over the world at iFOREX News.

Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC commented on the partnership, saying: “The BVI Olympic Committee is very happy that a respectable and successful investment firm such as iFOREX has identified the potential of the BVI team for Tokyo 2020. We have a strong line up of athletes for these Games so far and the additional support is very much appreciated as the athletes prepare to bring their best performance to Japan continuing to make us very proud as a nation.”

Chantel Malone joins long jump 7-meter club, qualifies for Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games

Chantel Malone, winner of the Long Jump Gold Lima 2019 Pan American Games, qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics with a national record and PB leap of 7.08m, PHOTO: Todd VanSickle

With 4 months to go until the long jump qualifying round on August 1, 2021 at the Summer Olympic Games in Japan, British Virgin Islands national, Chantel Malone joined the long jump 7-meter club when she surpassed the Tokyo 2020 qualifying mark of 6.82m with a leap of 7.08m (23’ 2 3/4”)+1.4 wind at The Florida International Pro Addition Track Meet at IMG Academy in Bradenton on Saturday, March 27, 2021.

Malone won her first event of the outdoor season in her fourth jump after landing a 6.83m distance in the second round and fouling her third attempt. 2nd place went to Darla Klishina (7.05m 23’ 1 3/4” and 3rd spot to Akela Jones (6.58 21’ 7 1/4”).

“We’ve been working really hard these last 2 month. Mostly focusing on technical execution and my speed,” said Malone. “I’m pretty excited about what future holds. This season will be a good one once I remain healthy. I love being a part of the 7m club. I’ve been working towards it for a very long time. Finally achieving that goal is a testament to my resilience and determination. This is only the beginning!”

Chantel Malone joins long jump 7-meter club, qualifies for Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games
The mark, which currently is officially ranked the world’s second longest jump of the year, is a new national record beating Malone’s previous jump of 6.90m (22’ 7 3/4”) and is a personal best. She is the second Caribbean woman to jump beyond seven meters.

“This is a fantastic result on many levels and we congratulate Chantel on her record setting achievement in the long jump,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee, the body responsible for the nation’s participation in major Games including the Olympics. “These past twelve months have been an extreme challenge for our athletes who have had to continue to train and prepare for the re-scheduled Summer Olympic Games, working within the constraints of COVID-19 protocols and foregoing the regular competitions and qualifying events that would normally help them on the road to the Olympics.

“To break through the psychological barrier and stay focused on the goal to perform at world class levels is highly impressive and we commend Chantel for her grit and determination. We encourage our slate of athletes to keep their eye on the prize and continue with their excellent efforts.”

Malone joins Tokyo 2020 qualifiers Eldred Henry (shot put) and Kyron McMaster (400m hurdles) along with Elinah Phillip (50m & 100m Freestyle), a sophomore at Florida International University, who is making her mark at the recently resumed swim meets.

This will be the first Olympic Games for Malone and McMaster who each were respective gold medal winners at the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Both achievements were historic for the Territory as the first medals to be won by VI nationals in those Games. Malone is the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games silver medalist and also holds the OECS long jump record.

IOC, NOCs and Government of Japan reaffirm commitment to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games

Tokyo, Japan Photo: Yoshikazu Sekiguchi

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach spoke with all 206 NOCs including the BVIOC on Friday, January 22 and confirmed all are fully committed to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

With 6 months to go until the Games, President Bach reaffirmed the IOC’s commitment to the Games to be held on July 23, 2021. “Together with its Japanese partners and friends, the IOC is fully concentrated on and committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this year.”

BVIOC President Ephraim Penn and Secretary General, Lloyd Black took part in the virtual meeting.

“The IOC and organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games have been in continuous discussions on how to host the Games safely – both for the competing athletes and delegations as well as for the host country,” said Mr. Penn. “There is full commitment to seeing the Games through which is a message that must be made clear to all athletes who are currently training and preparing to compete.”

The BVIOC through Chef de Mission for the Games, Mrs. Tahesia Harrigan-Scott have constant contact with the elite track and field athletes slated to compete at Tokyo 2020. This includes Eldred Henry (shot put) and Kyron McMaster (400m Hurdles) qualified for their events in 2019 and Chantel Malone (long jump) and Tokyo 2020 hopeful Ashley Kelly (400m).

“All of our athletes are doing well,” said Mrs. Harrigan-Scott. “While their training schedules had to be adapted to meet with the COVID-19 restrictions and regulations, all four of the athletes are focused, working hard and are determined to be on their best form when the summer comes around. There’s no denying that the lack of competitions and a dead season can take its toll, but they each have a support network not just through their coaches and peers, but also through each other and a pro-active Executive at the BVIOC who ensure that their needs are being met so as to minimize any distraction from the task at hand.”

In addition to the elite athletes, Thad Lettsome (sailing) and Elinah Philip (swimming) are also hopeful of gaining a spot on the team through the Universality programme but this will not be confirmed until closer to the Games in July.

Mrs. Harrigan-Scott will be attending the Chef de Mission meeting on February 9 where updates on the preparations for the Games will be shared by the Tokyo 2020 organisers.

Rumours of cancellation “categorically untrue”
A statement issued by the IOC on January 22 also rebutted news reports which cast doubt on the support from the Tokyo Government quoting a statement made by the Japanese Government:

“Some news reports circulating today are claiming that the Government of Japan has privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled because of the coronavirus. This is categorically untrue.

“At an IOC Executive Board meeting in July last year, it was agreed that the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would be held on July 23 this year, and the programme and venues for the Games were rescheduled accordingly. All parties involved are working together to prepare for a successful Games this summer.

“We will be implementing all possible countermeasures against COVID-19 and will continue to work closely with the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in our preparations for holding a safe and secure Games this summer.”

Free Basketball & Baseball Camp underway in Districts 7 & 8

(Standing Front L-R) Ephraim Penn, President, BVI Olympic Committee and Milton McLean founder of the Basketball & Baseball (B & B) youth Summer Camp which this year was sponsored by the BVIOC and was launched at Greenland, East End, Tortola on August 17, 2020

A two-week, free Basketball & Baseball (B & B) youth Summer Camp, sanctioned by the BVI Basketball Association and sponsored by the BVI Olympic Committee was launched at Greenland, East End, Tortola on Monday, August 17, 2020.

The summer camp is offering coaching in both basketball and baseball to all boys and girls aged 8 – 12 years residing in Districts 7 and 8. The initiative – now in its third year of community engagement – is managed by Mr. Milton McLean and Mr. Raymond “Chi Chi” Fonseca of the Sea Cow’s Bay Basketball Club (SCBBC). Mr. McLean founded the B & B group in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria bringing in Mr. Fonseca to help with the baseball programme.

“After the hurricanes of 2017 there was little or no activity in sports on Tortola. This prompted me to create the B & B group as an affiliate to the Sea Cow’s Bay Basketball Club,” said Mr. McLean. “The first B & B clinic took place in District 4 in July 2018 and we teamed up with YEP to host the programme in District 3 in 2019. This year, we have partnered with the BVI Olympic Committee to introduce the clinic in East End/Long Look, where I actually grew up. We can’t thank the BVIOC enough for their support as we could not have offered the camp otherwise.”

Basketball and baseball (with an option of softball for girls) are both offered in the Greenland field in District 7 while basketball camp is offered in District 8. Children residing in either district can be registered to attend any of the camps. The camps run from 9:00am – 3:00pm Mondays through Fridays.

“We are hoping to cater for 30-40 children, helping them to release some of that pent-up energy,” continued Mr. McLean. “The idea is to train the participants in the skills of both sports and organize them into teams of 12. We will work with the participating coaches in the districts for a couple of months after the camps so that they can continue to run a district B & B club throughout the year.”

The intent is to offer the B & B summer camp in Districts 1 and 2 in 2021 with the hopes that the grass roots programme will take off and eventually lead to Territory-wide basketball and baseball youth teams that can compete against each other.

The mutual goal of the B & B group and the BVIOC is to encourage younger children to become physically active with a view to tackling the growing problem of childhood obesity made worse by the impact of COVID-19 on sports. Both organisations also recognize the inextricable link between endorphins released through cardio-aerobic exercise, emotional well-being, improved self-esteem and social attitude.

“The BVIOC accepted the invitation to support the B & B initiative because it speaks directly to the Long Term Athlete Development and physical literacy programmes that we have been championing in the Virgin Islands since we launched the community-wide workshops in 2016,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC.

The funding for the summer camps was sourced through Olympic Solidarity, which this year gave National Olympic Committees the discretion to support programmes that help to develop sports and encourage physical activity in the community.

“Typically, the bulk of the money from Olympic Solidarity is ear marked for national federation sports development and athlete or team activity in preparation for or participation in events and competitions that are part of the ladder to competing in major Games such as the CAC, Panam Games, and Olympic Games,” explained Mr. Penn. “With all competitions suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NOCs were invited to apply for funds to continue to build capacity and engage with the public to move and get physically active. As always, we are accountable to OS and are required to report on the activities which we fund.”

For more information on the B & B Summer Camps or to register a child, contact Mr. McLean on 345-0555 or Mr. Fonseca on 441-1435.

BVIOC distributes Panam Sports coach funding to national federations

BVIOC presents coach hiring funds from Panam Sports to its national federations
BVI National Federations receive coach hiring funds from Panam Sports distributed by the BVIOC

The BVI Olympic Committee distributed cheques totaling $100,000 from Panam Sports to 14 of its member federations on June 26, 2020. The funds are part of Panam Sports’ special project for the hiring of coaches in support of sports development in the Americas.

The 14 national federations which currently are active and which are recipients of the coaching funds include Archery, Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Football, Rugby, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Sailing, Softball/Baseball, Squash, Swimming and Volleyball.

“Coaching is a fundamental part of the success of any athlete or team and the development of sports,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The BVIOC applied to receive its allocation of $100,000 from Panam Sports which earmarked the money specifically for the hiring of coaches. The BVIOC and its national federations are very appreciative of the funding which is yet another demonstration of Panam Sports’ continued commitment to supporting the growth and development of sports across its 41 member nations which includes the Virgin Islands.”

The funding for coaches is one of the latest tangible resources Panam Sports has made available to the BVIOC and its member federations. Sports and athletes receive the direct benefits which the BVIOC apply for whether it’s through a donation of training equipment, funds for repairs to facilities – including the replacement of the Mondo track at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds or through development initiatives such as coach training sessions.

Panam Sports is also engaged with all athletes across the continent with its ongoing virtual support sessions featuring professional experts in all aspects of sports both physical and psychological. The virtual sessions were introduced as part of the organizations’ response to the impact of COVID-19 on athletes and their training and competition programmes in the lead up to the now rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

About Panam Sports

The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) was established on August 8th, 1948 and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the continental Association of the NOCs of the Americas. In 2017 the organization was rebranded as Panam Sports.

Its principal objects are the celebration and conduct of the Pan American Games and the promotion, development and protection of sport, as well as the Olympic Movement, in the Americas through its member NOCs. The current President, Neven Ilic, has held the post since 2017.

New date for BVIOC community walks to mark Olympic Day

The BVI Olympic Committee has rescheduled the community walks to mark Olympic Day to now take place on Saturday, July 4, 2020 with no changes to the original locations and registration time of 5:30am.

“The air quality forecast for Saturday, June 27 was cause for concern and after consultation with the Chief Medical Officer and the walk organisers, we decided that it was in the best interest of all participants to reschedule the Olympic Day Community Walks to take place at the same time next Saturday, July 4,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We realise that this may cause some disruption to plans but we would like to see more persons able to join in the walks in their neighbourhood and to move and stay active and encourage folks to mark the new date in their calendars.”

The BVIOC in collaboration with its National Federations and community groups will be hosting early morning community walks throughout the Virgin Islands to promote the Olympic Day message to #StayActive.

Registration for the walks in Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada will start at 5:30am in all locations apart from in Sea Cow’s Bay which will start at 6:00am and Brewer’s Bay which will start at 5:15am. Registration locations are as follows:
Basketball court, West End; Myett’s car park, Cane Garden Bay; Nichol’s Beach Bar, Brewer’s Bay; Manuel Reef car park, Sea Cow’s Bay; Tortola Sports Club, Road Town; YEP in Long Look and Trellis Bay car park in East End. Walks also will take place in Jost Van Dyke, registration in front of the Government Administration buildings, Great Harbour and at the HLSCC in The Valley, Virgin Gorda and the Claudia Creque Education Center in Anegada.

Walk managers include volunteers from the VI Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Rugby, Taekwondo, BVI Squash Federation, VI Softball/Baseball Association, YEP, TSC, Brewer’s Bay Action Committee, Jost Van Dyke Resilience Team led by Mr. Mark Morris, Mr. Milton McLean and Sister Island Coordinator, Ms Sasha Flax.

Staggered start times will be managed to keep walking groups to a maximum of 20 persons with 6ft distance between participating households. Walkers are requested to cooperate with the walk managers in their efforts to keep the activity safe for everyone.

Participants will receive a free tee shirts and Dasani Water and Powerade distributed by Road Town Wholesale on a first-come-first-serve basis. Walkers are advised to also bring their own water to ensure proper hydration. Organisers are requesting the return of the empty plastic bottles so that they may be properly disposed of in the recycling bins.

In the interests of public health and safety, potential participants are advised to stay home if feeling unwell, running a temperature or living in the same household as quarantined persons.

About Olympic Day
June 23 is marked in the international sporting calendar as international Olympic Day. Originally observed by just 9 countries on that day in 1948, the IOC launched the symbolic run in 1987 which encouraged all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport. From 45 participating NOCs in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to more than 100 participating NOCs.

Today, Olympic Day is built on the three pillars “move”, “learn” and “discover” integrating sports, education and cultural aspects to broaden the community reach and appeal. and to motivate and encourage people of all ages and abilities to engage in healthy, physical activity.

In 2012, the BVIOC was one of the few NOCs to host a celebration of all sports on Olympic Day at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The morning of activity started with a 2-mile run followed by a discussion panel featuring local sporting personalities and moderated by Mr. Rey O’Neal. The action continued with National Federations showcasing their sports and encouraging public participation and ended with a performance by the Lashing Dogs. This format of interactive engagement was adopted as the global template in 2017 at which time the BVIOC officially launched its annual Sports Festival to mark Olympic Day.

BVIOC organises community walks to mark Olympic Day

Simone Foster, an annual participant, celebrates the end of an Olympic Day walk in the Virgin Islands

The BVI Olympic Committee in collaboration with its National Federations and community groups will be hosting early morning community walks throughout the Virgin Islands on Saturday, June 27, 2020 to promote the Olympic Day message to #StayActive.

The community walks will take place in lieu of the annual interactive Sports Festival which officially have taken place since 2017 to mark Olympic Day.

“This year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the BVIOC to rethink its programme of an interactive discussion session and mini sports clinics planned for the 2020 Sports Festival and to organize an activity that would be compliant with the current local health protocols and social distancing measures” said Ephraim Penn, President, BVIOC. “With our low rate of infection and no current active cases, the proposal to host regulated walks in communities throughout the Districts met with approval from the Chief Medical Officer. The walks will start as early in the morning as curfew restrictions allow to try and beat the heat and will follow easy routes so as to be manageable by all ages and abilities.”

Registration for the walks will start at 5:30am in all locations apart from in Sea Cow’s Bay which will start at 6:00am and Brewer’s Bay which will start at 5:15am. Registration locations are as follows:
Basketball court, West End; Myett’s car park, Cane Garden Bay; Nichol’s Beach Bar, Brewer’s Bay; Manuel Reef car park, Sea Cow’s Bay, Tortola Sports Club, Road Town; YEP in Long Look and Trellis Bay car park in East End. Walks also will take place in Jost Van Dyke, registration in front of the Government Administration buildings, Great Harbour and at the HLSCC in The Valley, Virgin Gorda.

Walk managers include volunteers from the VI Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Rugby, Taekwondo, BVI Squash Federation, VI Softball/Baseball Association, YEP, TSC, Brewer’s Bay Action Committee, Jost Van Dyke Resilience Team led by Mr. Mark Morris, Mr. Milton McLean and Sister Island Coordinator, Ms Sasha Flax.

Staggered start times will be managed to keep walking groups to a maximum of 20 persons with 6ft distance between participating households. Walkers are requested to cooperate with the walk managers in their efforts to keep the activity safe for everyone.

Participants will receive a free tee shirts and Dasani Water and Powerade distributed by Road Town Wholesale on a first-come-first-serve basis. Walkers are advised to also bring their own water to ensure proper hydration. Organisers are requesting the return of the empty plastic bottles so that they may be properly disposed of in the recycling bins.

In the interests of public health and safety, potential participants are advised to stay home if feeling unwell, running a temperature or living in the same household as quarantined persons.

About Olympic Day
June 23 is marked in the international sporting calendar as international Olympic Day. Originally observed by just 9 countries on that day in 1948, the IOC launched the symbolic run in 1987 which encouraged all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport. From 45 participating NOCs in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to more than 100 participating NOCs.

Today, Olympic Day is built on the three pillars “move”, “learn” and “discover” integrating sports, education and cultural aspects to broaden the community reach and appeal. and to motivate and encourage people of all ages and abilities to engage in healthy, physical activity.

In 2012, the BVIOC was one of the few NOCs to host a celebration of all sports on Olympic Day at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The morning of activity started with a 2-mile run followed by a discussion panel featuring local sporting personalities and moderated by Mr. Rey O’Neal. The action continued with National Federations showcasing their sports and encouraging public participation and ended with a performance by the Lashing Dogs. This format of interactive engagement was adopted as the global template in 2017 at which time the BVIOC officially launched its annual Sports Festival to mark Olympic Day.

BVIOC secures IOC approval for Territorial Song to be played at Olympic Games and other institutional events

British Virgin Islands Kyron Mcmaster won the men’s 400m hurdles final in a time of 48.25 seconds during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 12, 2018. It was the Virgin Islands’ first medal at a Commonwealth Games and was the impetus for the BVI Olympic Committee’s request to have the Territorial Song, “Oh Beautiful Virgin Islands” registered by the International Olympic Committee to be played at sporting events rather than the National Anthem, “God Save the Queen”. The IOC confirmed the change in May 2020. .Photo credit: SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Marking another historic moment in sports for the Virgin Islands, the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) received approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the Territorial Song, “Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands” to be played at future editions of the Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games and other institutional events and official activities of the IOC and its Affiliated Entities. The permission was confirmed by the IOC via email sent on May 7, 2020 after the BVIOC started the process for approval in 2018.

“The BVIOC is exceptionally proud to attain this milestone not just for our nation but for our athletes, their coaches, parents and supporters,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The motivation and emotion that is tied up in representing your country at a major competition can’t be underestimated. Hearing your national song playing as you enter an arena or when you stand on the podium enhances the sense of achievement and pride and underscores all the sacrifices, time and effort that athletes, teams and their support base put in to qualify and compete.”

Prior to this date, the national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, was played at major regional and international competitions and events during opening, closing and medal ceremonies to acknowledge the participation and podium finishes of the VI’s athletes and teams.

The BVIOC launched the process for approval at the urging of the former Minister for Education and Culture, Mr. Myron Walwyn who enquired about the possibility after Mr. Kyron McMaster’s historic gold medal win in the 400m Hurdles on April 12, 2018 at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. The emotional occasion was made all the more poignant for it happening just 6 months after the devastation wreaked in the VI by Hurricane Irma and the tragic passing of McMaster’s mentor and national track and field coach, Mr. Xavier “Dag” Samuels. At that time, it became clear that the Territorial Song, which speaks to the VI’s national pride and identity, would have been the ideal accompaniment to the flag raising and medal ceremony.

Further noting that the VI was one of the few nations that did not have its national song approved to be played at major sporting events, Penn made the inquiries and acted on the requirements to change the anthem registered with the IOC from the National Anthem to the Territorial Song.

The initiative was closely followed and encouraged by Dr. The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, the current Minister for Education and Culture, and the BVIOC was able to secure the support required from the Government of the Virgin Islands to initiate the official request. The BVIOC worked with the Ministry of Education and Culture to “be duly authorized and/or licensed to use and to authorise and/or sublicense the use of the Territorial Song,” as set out in the IOC’s National Anthem Authorisation document.

“Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands” originally was composed in 2012 by Virgin Islanders, Ms. Ayana Hull and her brother, Mr. Kareem Nelson Hull in response to a competition for a Territorial Song launched by Walwyn, the then Minister for Education and Culture. The song, which was originally arranged by Mr. Howard John, was officially adopted as the Territorial Song by resolution of the House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands on July 24, 2012. As a British Overseas Territory “God Save the Queen” is the VI’s official national anthem.

The rousing, 80-second, orchestral version of the Territorial Song, requested by the BVIOC and approved by the Ministry for use by the IOC, was arranged by Mr. Alton Bertie, an Elmore Stoutt High School alumnus who graduated in the field of Film Scoring and Song Writing from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA.

Click to listen to the score for the Territorial Song by Mr. Alton Bertie.