Mission Olympic recently held its grand finale in the Netherlands, drawing some 6,000 secondary school students to Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium.

Mission Olympic Inspires Active Lifestyles in the Netherlands 2- 300

Olympic ambassador Epke Zonderland tries shot put.

Mission Olympic Inspires Active Lifestyles in the Netherlands 3- 300

Mission Olympic is a highlight of the school sporting calendar.

The annual school sports competition is open to students between the ages of 12 and 19, who compete in 18 disciplines, such as badminton, tennis, street dance and swimming. Competitions take place during the school year and culminate in a big celebration of sport just before the summer break, in the iconic Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam.

The 11th annual edition of Mission Olympic reached 315 schools and more than 150,000 students, engaging an impressive 48 percent of all Dutch secondary schools.

Mission Olympic was founded by Coca-Cola Netherlands in 2003, in partnership with the Dutch Olympic Committee and KVLO, an organization representing physical education teachers.

An Inspiring Ambassador

Mission Olympic is a highlight of the school sporting calendar, giving thousands of students access to a wide range of sports for the first time. Participants are also inspired by the program’s high-profile ambassador, Epke Zonderland, Olympic gold medal gymnast.

Zonderland and two other Dutch Olympic athletes opened the final by lighting the Olympic flame, inspiring participants to give their all during the finale. A legend on the high bars, Zonderland became a household name in the Netherlands following his outstanding performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games. He will support the Mission Olympic program for the next four years, ensuring that many more students will be encouraged to take part.

“The atmosphere at Mission Olympic reminds me of the real Olympic Games," he said. "It’s fantastic to see the way that Mission Olympic inspires youth to discover sports, which is why I’m a proud ambassador."

Best Practice in Action

During this year’s edition of Mission Olympic a special delegation from the International Olympic Committee, the National Olympic Committee and nine Coca-Cola markets from around the globe attended a two-day Active Healthy Living workshop in the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium and also saw the grand finale.

Led by Thierry Borra, director of Olympic Games Management at Coca-Cola, the workshop gave the IOC and NOC representatives and Coca-Cola employees from Turkey, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, France, Norway, Sweden and other parts of Europe the chance to learn more about Mission Olympic.

“Mission Olympic’s aim is to help young people experience the joy of active lifestyles by discovering sport together. We emphasize that everyone who participates is a winner, as taking part is the most important thing. The combination of sports and entertainment is very appealing for youth and has strongly contributed to the strength of Mission Olympic,” says Guido van Alphen, public affairs and communications director, Coca-Cola Netherlands.

Borra added, “The issue of physical inactivity is already alarming in many countries, especially among youth... and the need for action is more than urgent. As we believe that happier, healthier people will have longer, better relationships with our business, we should definitively take a leadership role to help change this reality. Congratulations to the Dutch team for the 11th edition of Mission Olympic, which is certainly a very impressive program that just gets better and better.”