Monday, April 30, 2012

It Takes More

I sit next to the woman who books every single ticket for the athletes and staff going to London this summer. If you figure that tickets cost an average of $1500 and that between the Olympics and the Paralympics, we send almost 2000 people, that's a tab of approximately $3 million bones. And unlike every other country in the world, not a penny of that money will come from the US Government. Team USA is 100% funded by sponsors and donors.

Friends, I know that in the course of your lives, the Olympics have inspired you. I just know they have. You've had a personal experience watching the Games and you remember where you were when Michael Phelps won that eighth medal, or when Kerri Strug stuck that landing. Or when Greg Louganis hit his head. Or when Dan Jansen fell again. And then when he finally won gold. The Olympic Games are one of the last events in our insanely paced and highly specialized world that we still manage to experience all together. I think that is one of the reasons I love this movement so much. There is a TON of BS involved in the modern Olympics. Sometimes it honestly feels like the athletes are an afterthought. But in the end, the stuff you remember, the moments that give you the chills, those have nothing to do with who the sponsors were or what the athletes were wearing-it's sons of illegal immigrants like Henry Cejudo winning gold medals or gracious losers like Lolo Jones who come back stronger the next time.

And for you as an American, those Olympic moments have been free. You just get those. And you probably sort of think that Nike and McDonald's and Coca-Cola take care of the team. You likely don't know the average Olympic athletes makes about $20K a year and in plenty of sports, even Olympic gold isn't going to bring you much fame and fortune. The USOC provides funding that allows these athletes to train and maybe only have to have ONE odd job to keep food on the table.

So when I tell you that we have a fundraising program called RAISE OUR FLAG going on right now, I hope you will look at the amount of Olympic memories you have had in your life and that you will consider buying a stitch in our flag. It's a $12 donation and you get to own a stitch on the flag the athletes will carry to the Games. It's pretty cool and it's pretty important. The rest of the world continues to dump government money into Olympic programs and we just aren't going to do that. We're going to keep asking our kind friends and neighbors to chip in. And I like it that way. I like thinking that we're all working together to make sure our best and brightest get to London to represent all of us.

You can learn more about the program here. Come on America, let's do this together.

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