FEATURES » A brief history of OGI from 1978 onwards

A brief history of OGI from 1978 onwards



Over a period of three days youngsters come together, make friends and compete in a very
special event: O.G.I. (Olimpiadi gioventu italiana).

The O.G.I.has always been reliant upon the goodwill and generosity of the Italian
community to ensure that it can continue to provide a platform for all
youngsters from the Italian community and their friends (regardless of their
ethnicity and origins) to take part in a sporting spectacle irrespective of
their ability.

Let’s retrace the history of O.G.I.

The idea of staging a sporting event for Italian youngsters and their friends within the UK in
which to take part, regardless of their sporting ability, was suggested at a
meeting of the St. Peter’s Italian Youth Club by Tony Tozzi in 1978.

Vittorio Heizzl and the committee took up the challenge and set about inviting all the
various Italian Clubs, Associations and Italian Schools within the UK to
compete.

In 1980 the first Olimpiade della Gioventù Italiana (UK) was held on the last bank holiday
of May at Barnet Copthall Stadium. Over 900 youngsters between the ages of 9-21
from as far afield as Scotland competed over three days in a variety of
athletic and sporting events ranging from track & field, boxing, rugby,
football, netball and swimming, with Scotland being crowned overall champions.

Following the success of these games, St Peter’s Italian Youth Club decided to repeat them
again every two years on the last bank holiday of May.

In 1984 The Sportsmanship Trophy was introduced. St. Peter’s continued to organise and run
the games in 1982 and 1984 but then decided that it would be better if a
separate committee with members drawn from the wider Italian community, with
its own constitution was established, with the sole aim of running O.G.I.

In 1986 the first OGI games organised and run by an independent O.G.I committee took place
with Les Rickard as President. The new committee rationalised the age groups
and removed some events such as boxing, rugby and football from the games.

In 1988 following the untimely death of its President, the Les Rickard Trophy was introduced.

In 1990 The O.G.I. games moved from the Barnet Copthall Stadium to The New River Sports Centre in
White Hart Lane.

In 1995 O.G.I.sent a team of 30 athletes ranging from the ages of 14-15 to Rome to represent
the UK in the bi annual giocchi Della Gioventù, which attracts competitors of
Italian descent from all over the world.

In 2002, with the help of the Associazione Parmigiani, Val Taro O.G.I. secured sponsorship
from the Casa di Risparmio di Parma through their charitable organisation
Cariparma who continued to sponsor the games in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

In 2004 the team “Oratorio” from Rome took part in the games.

In 2010 Associazione Parmigiani Valceno, in collaboration with the Mazzini Garibaldi Foundation,
held a dinner and dance and secured more funds for O.G.I. thus guaranteeing its
future.

In 2010 Londra Sud sent a team for the first time since 1994 to compete in O.G.I.

In 2010 O.G.I. celebrated 30 years.

In 2011 the Console Generale D’Italia Uberto Vanni d'Archirafi was made Patron of O.G.I.

In 2012 Ass. Parmigiani Valceno continued to offer support for O.G.I. and with their help
and that of the Ass. Parmense secured more funds from Cariparma.

The aim for the future of O.G.I. is to try to encourage more Italian communities within the
UK to send a team to compete. There are massive Italian communities in Bedford,
Hoddesdon and Woking and they are just the ones surrounding London who have
either never competed or once did, who O.G.I. would like to encourage and help
to start up, even if only on a small scale initially, as it happened with
Londra Sud, who joined O.G.I. in 2010 sending only 30 competitors and then in
2012 they arrived with almost 80 competitors and finished 3rd.

Currently there are approximately 540 competitors taking part over the three days with
close on 2,000 spectators visiting the games. The aim for 2014 is to have
another team to join O.G.I. and then hopefully by 2016-2018 have one of the
teams further afield from London joining O.G.I. Ultimately O.G.I. hopes to
celebrate 40 years of O.G.I. in 2020 with close on 900+ competitors as competed
in the very first games. 

A special thanks to Adriano Morini and the O.G.I. committee for all the information
provided.

Giulia Lombardo

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