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 Vancouver Canucks
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:07 pm

Up with Kreek, Right To Play

The International Olympic Committee recently banned the international humanitarian organisation Right to Play from having a presence at Olympic venues.

Right to Play was founded by Olympic athletes and uses the power of sport to help children in developing countries learn life skills, break down cultural and gender barriers, promote peace and restore hope.
While president Jacques Rogge and other IOC wonks were attending ceremonies and photo ops around Whistler and Vancouver the last couple of days, Adam Kreek and a number of his colleagues were doing their own Olympic-related work.

Remember Kreek from Beijing? He's kind of hard to forget. Six-five. Hair like Harpo Marx.

He also won gold with the rowing men's eight, then provided one of the defining moments of the Games with his enthusiastic, if not particularly melodious, rendition of "O Canada".

As things turn out, Kreek, like so many Olympians, also has a relationship with Right To Play and, like so many of those Olympians, he was distressed to learn the IOC had severed relations with the humanitarian-aid organization over what amounted to a sponsorship beef.

News of this development broke about three weeks ago and, after some backlash against the IOC, both the story and the sense of public outrage petered out.

But Kreek, it seems, is not easily discouraged.

Today, a letter is being sent to media outlets and the IOC expressing the concern of over 70 athletes that the IOC's position on Right To Play is being confused with the athletes' position.

The athletes are reasserting their support for Right To Play while drumming up publicity for the cause, and if they can make Rogge and his posse reassess things, so much the better.

Now, that would be an Olympic miracle.

"Right To Play is exactly what the Olympics are supposed to be about," Kreek said from Victoria Thursday. "It's a shining light. One year out, we just thought this was the perfect opportunity to rally around RTP.

"The organization was conceived in the Olympics and it's been driven by athletes [on the RTP website there are names of over 100 Canadian athletes who signed on as ambassadors and over 300 from around the world]. I hope people understand how much Right To Play means to the athletes."

By now, they should be getting the idea.

This story has been in the public domain since October when VANOC first banned Right To Play from the Olympic Village for 2010 over a sponsorship conflict. GM has a deal with VANOC worth an estimated $53 million. Mitsubishi has a three-year deal with RTP worth $1.5 million and that made RTP's presence in the Athletes Village a violation of GM's deal.

At least, that's the way VANOC and GM saw things. And, in time, the IOC joined them, severing relations with RTP about six weeks ago after 15 years.

The decision was rightly hailed in the media as being -- pick one hypocritical, greedy or morally bankrupt. But the IOC's strategy seemed to be to wait out the storm.

Apparently, they underestimated the resolve of the athletes.

"I'm just going with my heart here," said Kreek. "That's all you can do. Right To Play is all about heart. We thought this was important. Someone had to take charge. It was my turn this time. Next time, it will be someone else's."

Finding someone to volunteer won't be a problem.

Kreek said the RTP controversy has been talked about in athletes' circles for some time now and with the media spotlight shining on VANOC and the IOC these days, they determined this was an opportune time to act.

There were over 70 signatories on the letter as of late Thursday afternoon and the number was growing. They include some of Canada's most decorated Olympians, concerned that somehow the public would think they endorsed the IOC's decision about RTP.

Now, if you've spent more than five minutes with any of those athletes, you know that's not possible but, meantime, ask yourself a few questions. Who's representing the Olympic ideals in this story? Who is working towards the goal -- a goal which is on the IOC website, by the way -- of building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport?

Finally, who is standing up for what they believe in, not because there's a buck to be made, but because it's the right thing to do?

There is something heroic in the young people who signed that letter; something Olympian.

And there's some irony in that.

CKA Uber
CKA Uber
Posts: 22594
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:19 pm

..because the IOC is all about money.

CKA Uber
CKA Uber
 Vancouver Canucks
Posts: 13928
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:32 pm

What he said [stupid]

CKA Uber
CKA Uber

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:38 pm

The jokes on them if GM isn't around in a short while.

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