Sunday, February 8, 2009

Right To Play

Several Years ago I participated in a bike ride to raise money for Right To Play. I raised a little over $2000 by cleaning and repairing bicycles for friends and family. The ride was organized by Richard and Pam Craig, Jen Kirkwood, and Joan Bluethner. If memory serves, the group of 30 or so riders raised a little over $10 000 for Right To Play.
Winnipeg's own Olympian, Clara Hughes donated her $10 000 prize from winning Gold at the 2006 Olympics in Tu
rin, Italy. Clara was motivated by American Olympian Joey Cheek who donated his $25 000 prize to Right To Play several days earlier. In fact, Clara believes it was Cheek's donation that motivated her to win gold.
Right To Play is an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged, war affected areas on the planet. Right To Play programs target the most marginalized children including girls, children living with disability, children affected by HIV and AIDS, street children, child prostitutes, former child combatants and refugees. Right To Play is supported by hundreds, if not thousands, of professional and amateur athletes and sporting organizations world-wide.
The International Olympic Committee has been a strong advocate and supporter of Right To Play since its inception at The Norway Winter Olympics in 1994. The IOC has provided RTP with world exposure and has been a huge part of their success, that is, until now.
Right To Play won't be welcome at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, or the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia! Without explanation the IOC has pulled their support and have excluded Right To Play from their Athlete Village.
Call me cynical, but isn't the Olympics all about supporting amateur athletes at an international level? What happened to the Olympic ideals of sportsmanship and the celebration of human achievement? It would appear that the IOC are shifting these noble ideals to marketing and profit.
here to read what Clara Hughes has to say about what Right To Play means to her. It's a must read!
Happy trails, Mike

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