Olympic Centennial Jubilee
Edition of the Games: 1912 Olympic Summer Games
Description of the Project
Stockholm Olympic Stadium and Olympic Games Centenary 1912-2012
The Olympic Centennial Jubilee was a yearlong festival held in the City of Stockholm to mark the 100 years since the hosting of the 1912 Summer Olympic Games.
The celebration contained a packed programme of over 115 events which took place across the Greater Stockholm area. This encompassed events of all types and sizes. Cultural and educational events including museum exhibitions, historic city tours and introductions to new sports – many of which were free of charge – were offered to locals and visitors in the City. Similarly, many sporting events were held as part of the celebrations, ranging from mass participation events such as the Jubilee marathon to elite competitions and world championships.
The purpose of the project was to highlight to the citizens of Stockholm the rich Olympic history of the City. The organisers wanted to generate an atmosphere of enthusiasm and energy, reviving the Olympic flame and spreading the Olympic values amongst the entire population of Stockholm.
The City of Stockholm works to ensure that all its residents are, and continue to be physically active, especially young people. That was one of the most important goals with the project.
The programme itself was run by the City of Stockholm and more specifically the Sports and Recreation Administration. However, there was a significant level of support and involvement from other stakeholders including local sports clubs, various national federations and the International Olympic Committee itself.
The event was received extremely positively and many of the events and features of the 2012 programme still remain today. Much of the skills and knowledge that was generated in hosting such a variety of events in the City have assisted in the continued development of Stockholm as a world-class destination for elite international sporting events.
Celebrate Olympism and its values
With the Games having been hosted so long ago, one of the primary aims of the Jubilee celebrations was to reignite the Olympic flame among the citizens of Stockholm. The 1912 Games were a pivotal moment in the history of the Olympics as they were the first to bring the Games into their current concentrated format, prioritising the spectator and serving as a model for all subsequent Games. This contribution to the modern Olympic experience was at the heart of the Jubilee messaging which aimed to connect with this proud past and boost the collective moral of citizens as a result.
Promote a healthy and active lifestyle
Local sports clubs and federations were strongly encouraged to get involved in the various events. A huge number took this opportunity and were heavily integrated into the marketing and promotion of the celebrations. This was particularly the case for Sunshine Week, a 7-day sport extravaganza with multiple sports demonstrations and introductions for the public. This was deliberately designed to highlight to the public the various sporting opportunities on offer to them in the City. With a growing population, this helped to inform many of the previously unaware citizens the various options open to them.
Evaluation of the Jubilee was done on both a formal and on an informal basis. A huge amount of knowledge and experience was generated by the organisers and the various City departments involved in delivery which has already begun to be used in hosting further international sporting events. The Jubilee celebrations are seen as having been key in this success.
Key indicators have been used to measure the success of the event: 115 events; 25 international competitions; 65 arenas or venues, 10 municipalities involved; 130,000 participants; 20 Olympic historical markers displayed; 10 exhibitions; 68,000 web visits from 101 countries; 55 countries represented in competitions.
In addition to these figures, longer-term projects have been generated thanks to the Celebration of the Centenary: Sunshine days (Olympic days; constant preservation work on the Stadium; Permanent Stadium 1912 OG exhibition; discussions on a potential bid for the 2026 YOG, etc.).
Reviving the Olympic Flame
The task of reviving the Olympic flame so long after hosting the Olympic Games was not easy. The organisers found that there was a lack of awareness and understanding about the great importance about the 1912 Stockholm Games amongst the local residents except the Olympic Stadium and some long-living human touch stories such as “The Japanese who disappeared”.
The educational and cultural aspects of the programme aimed to address this by informing the citizens of the City of the marvellous Olympic history all around them and the important contribution that the Stockholm Games made to the modern version of the Games.
Getting the whole City involved
One of the fundamental goals of the Jubilee was to ensure all areas and all communities across the City felt involved in the celebrations. The 1912 Games took place in a particularly concentrated area within the City and Stockholm has grown hugely since that time. This presented a challenge in trying to balance the connecting with the physical element of the City’s Olympic past and involving the wider communities from across Stockholm.
To do this, a special effort was made to host additional events in targeted areas outside of the centre of the City to involve more people. While many of the activities and events were based at Olympic sites, these were complimented by others that were dotted evenly across greater Stockholm.
Key Learnings & Recommendations
Bring the past to life
When trying to connect people with an event that has long since passed, it is important to integrate a real and human element into the approach. The Jubilee organisers managed to do this through a number of innovative ideas. For example, relatives of some of the star athletes of the 1912 Games from all over the world were invited to various events, bringing them to the very sites where their ancestors had triumphed. Similarly, the Jubilee Marathon was fully themed in the style of the beginning of the last century. Vintage cars lined the streets and traditional clothing were worn by many of the organisers, athletes and spectators in attendance.
Start as early as possible
In order to organise a succession of events as big as the Centennial Jubilee, a huge amount of planning and organisation is required. This was particularly the case when planning the hosting of major sporting events as part of the celebrations, the bidding process for which often began years in advance. Work on the project commenced in 2007, a full five years before the centenary year. This early start also had the advantage of allowing the organisers more time and scope to come up with creative and innovative ideas for the yearlong festivities, a factor that contributed hugely to the ultimate success of the project.
The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal.
In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details.
The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional resources can be found through the following links: