British Team Donates Goods to Vancouver Kids

Thanks to the Britsh Olympic Association, MoreSports, a Vancouver non-profit that organizes sports programs for disadvantaged inner-city youth, scored gold of their own during this year’s Winter Games. The Vancouver Sun’s Jeff Lee reported that the Brits donated “everything from flat-screen televisions to bar fridges to irons and chairs” to MoreSports.

British Olympic Association CEO Andy Hunt issued a statement saying, “As an organization responsible for the development of the Olympic Movement, it is particularly rewarding to be able to support a project such as MoreSports, which aims to spread the Olympic spirit through sport, developing mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. It’s great to give something back to the people of Vancouver after staging such a superb Games.”

The donation of about 500 items included 28 three-week-old flat-screen TVs, 25 bar fridges, 42 irons, chairs, office furniture, printers, scanners, and other items. Woldring noted that “some of the donated material will be kept but most will be auctioned off” (Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun, 3/6).

Usain Bolt Participating in Charity Cricket Match

Usain Bolt 275The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, has agreed to play with some of his Caribbean cricket heroes in a 15-over charity tournament that begins on Sunday at Discovery Bay in Jamaica.

“I grew up watching cricketers like Courtney Walsh take the West Indies to new heights and I am a big admirer of Chris Gayle for his power batting and calm attitude; he is my favorite player right now,” said Bolt. “So, to have the chance to play with these guys is a dream come true for me.”

Bolt will join the likes of West Indies greats Walsh, Richie Richardson and Curtley Ambrose and current stars Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Jerome Taylor in the four-match, one-day invitation event (AP, 10/15).

Chicago 2016 Donates Millions to Charity Group

World Sport Chicago 150Chicago’s attempt to host the 2016 Olympic Games brought an outpouring of private money, the remainder of which will be diverted to World Sport Chicago, a non-profit arm of the City of Chicago’s Olympic bid delegation.

World Sport Chicago was founded in connection with the 2016 Olympic bid to promote youth sports programs in Chicago’s parks and public schools.

Chicago 2016, which organized Chicago’s Olympics bid, raised $72.8 million in cash, slightly more than it expected.

The bid team expected to spend all but $13 million in its pursuit of hosting the 31st Olympiad, with the balance going to World Sport Chicago. [Read more…]

Usain Bolt’s 9.58 SuperParty Has Charity Tie

Usain Bold 9.58 SuperParty 150To celebrate his amazing accomplishments on the track this year, Jamaican speedster Usain Bolt is hosting a two day series of activities ending with a one-of-a-kind 9.58 SuperParty, December 4-5 in Jamaica. While the event will be heavy with celebrity guests, it also takes the opportunity to raise funds for charity and community activities. One focus will be on Bolt’s hometown of Sherwood.

“Currently the medical centre in Sherwood is built on leased land,” said Bolt’s manager, Norman Peart, in a press release. “There is the possibility that they may be forced to move as the land may go for sale. We want raise funds that can go towards helping with the purchase of the land, so that the centre can have a permanent home, and also be refurbished. Depending on how much we are able to raise we will also funnel funds through the United Way to other worthy charities.”

News Bytes: Catching Up On the Week’s Stories

Golf takes the top this week, with the Mike Weir Foundation being named an official charity of the RBC Canadian Open. Plus, Tiger’s foundation announced a matching donations effort. Also after the jump, bytes on Michael Phelps, Athletics for Kids and reader suggestions from the West Coast.

Mike Weir Foundation

Mike Weir: RBC and the Royal Canadian Golf Association announced the Mike Weir Foundation as a national charity partner for the RBC Canadian Open. The inaugural Mike Weir Charity Classic will be added to the lineup of tournament week activities for the July 20-26 RBC Canadian Open in Ontario.

RBC President & CEO Gordon Nixon: “A critical component of our being title sponsor of the RBC Canadian Open is to ensure we are generating charitable legacies in our communities. Creating the Mike Weir Charity Classic during tournament week is an important step towards this objective and will help improve children’s wellness across Canada.” [Read more…]

Canadian Olympic Athletes Supporting Right to Play, Which Was Cut From 2010 Vancouver Games

Jenn Heil with Right to Play

In Toronto, Randy Starkman writes that about 70 Canadian Olympic athletes “sent a message to the officials who booted the charity Right To Play out of the athletes’ village for the 2010 Winter Games: We still believe in doing the right thing, even if you don’t.”

The statement, which was released yesterday, stated in part: “As we, the athletes, have been talking to each other, we found something felt … violated by the IOC’s ruling.”

Rowing Gold Medalist Adam Kreek, a leader in the campaign, said, “We can communicate our sense of outrage and our disappointment and see if the IOC is up to living up to the ideals the athletes have committed to. We see this as something that is intuitively wrong, looks wrong, feels wrong and doesn’t sit right in our stomachs. As athletes, we want to stand up for what’s right.”

How It All Began: Starkman noted that the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) “made the original decision to bar Right To Play … because the charity’s sponsors conflicted with their own.” The IOC “later cut its ties to the humanitarian group.”

Gold Medal-winning moguls skier Jenn Heil: “It’s an amazing story how this organization was born from the Olympics with so much energy and power. It’s a success story and it’s important to make the organization accessible to athletes. It’s what’s made it successful in the past. It takes the Olympics further as a celebration of sport and what it can teach us all about sharing” (Randy Starkman, Toronto Star, 2/14). Read Starkman’s entire Toronto Star piece

Photo credit: Right to Play

Olympic Cyclist Chris Hoy Tapped as Scotland’s First Ambassador for Mental Health

Chris Hoy

In Scotland, Angus Howarth reports that Olympic Gold Medal-winning cyclist Chris Hoy has been named named as Scotland’s first ambassador for mental health.

Hoy “will give his backing” to the mental health charity SAMH. The organization hopes Hoy “will help break down the stigma that surrounds mental health issues.”

Hoy: “Mental health and physical health work hand in hand. While achieving three gold medals in Beijing was made physically possible by years of training, my mental health was critical to realising my dream. Everyone needs to appreciate the importance of good mental health, and know how to stay mentally healthy” (Angus Howarth, The Scotsman, 2/12). Read Howarth’s entire piece from The Scotsman

Photo credit: Chris Hoy :: The Official Website

Original Copy: Did Kellogg’s Miss a Golden Opportunity When it Dumped Michael Phelps?

Original Copy

Michael Phelps' Corn Flakes Box

I’ve been paying close attention to the reaction to the Michael Phelps story that broke this week. So far, the November photo of Phelps smoking marijuana has only led to a three-month suspension from USA Swimming and the loss of his Kellogg’s endorsement deal. The issue of “Is it fair?” is still being discussed in sports media, and the response has been varied.

Let’s be honest, Michael Phelps made a mistake.

Phelps already understood his position of influence and embraced his opportunity to be a role model. He demonstrated this by starting the Michael Phelps Foundation to help children become involved in swimming on a recreational or competitive level. If Phelps wasn’t concerned about the next generation, his namesake organization wouldn’t exist. Now one of my fears is this situation could derail the good work Phelps’ foundation was established to do.

However, the photo of Phelps and his bong isn’t being ignored, and it probably shouldn’t be. This image may leave people – young and old – disillusioned about Phelps and the influence he could have on the sport of swimming and his fans. By most accounts, our Olympic hero has fallen.

One of the biggest reasons this subject has been widely covered is because it resonates deeply with all of us. Who hasn’t failed, made a mistake or just plain screwed up? Who hasn’t been dumped, abandoned or left out? We’ve all had those moments in some way, shape or form. Granted, it may not have included a corporate sponsor, but we can still relate. Have we all learned from mistakes? Mostly. Will Phelps learn from this mistake? Probably.

So, is it fair that Kellogg’s dropped Phelps? Probably. Responsibilty comes with the territory of corporate sponsorship, and there are consequences for actions. Generally speaking, if you get caught speeding, you’ll probably get a ticket; if you cheat on your girlfriend, she’ll probably dump you. This issue shouldn’t be too complicated.

It should be noted that Kellogg’s isn’t voiding Phelps’ endorsement contract. The company has simply chosen not to renew the current contract that expires at the end of this month. The only reason the company is offering is the bong photo, which is “not consistent with the image of Kellogg.”

Missed Opportunity? Still, I think Kellogg’s missed a golden opportunity in all of this. Beyond its superficial PR value, it’s an opportunity that can really make a difference. How about this?

I’m asking Kellogg’s (and hopefully their PR folks will read this) to at the very least consider moving a portion of the funds that had been earmarked for Phelps to the Michael Phelps Foundation. Together, Kellogg’s and Phelps can make a positive impact on kids.

Next, I’d ask USA Swimming to donate a portion of the financial support they’re withholding. – Tim Glase

Snowboarder Hannah Teter Donating 2009 Earnings to Kenyan Town of Kirindon

Hannah Teter

In Vermont, Joe Milliken reports that Olympic Gold Medalist Hanna Teter, just 21 years old, “recently announced that she will donate all her snowboard earnings from the upcoming season to her charity, Hannah’s Gold, and the organization World Vision.”

Through World Vision, sales from Hannah’s Gold “helps provide funds to sponsor Kirindon, a town of 56,000 people in Kenya.”

Teter: “I decided to donate my contest earnings to charity after spending two years battling with a recovery from an injury and three surgeries that kept me off snow. I felt that because I was so blessed to heal up and be able to return to competing on a professional level again, there needed to be a higher purpose involved with my work.”

Teter’s goal for 2009 “is to raise $100,000 for Kirindon through the sales of Teter’s Gold, combined with any snowboard earnings she may earn.” Meanwhile, “Team Teter” is also “looking into marketing their own Specialized Goodness wrist bands and shirts, made from healthy, organic products” (Joe Milliken, The Message of the Week, 1/20). Read the entire article from The Message of the Week

Photo credit: Hannah’s Gold

Hamm Discusses Celebrity Soccer Challenge

Mia Hamm Foundation Soccer Benefit

MLSnet.com’s Dylan Butler profiled the Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge, which takes place Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Hamm, on last year’s event raising more than $150,000: “I think we were surprised at just the enthusiasm of everyone involved, from the soccer community (in Los Angeles) to the celebrities that were in the area. They just came out and said whatever you want us to do we’re willing to do, from participation to signing autographs.”

Butler adds that “the most rewarding part of last year’s game, though, was learned recently when a bone marrow transplant match was made from the donor drive held” throughout the event.

Hamm, who lost a brother in 1997 “after complications from a bone marrow transplant,” said, “Our family struggled financially to find out how we’re going to fund the procedures he had to go through and all that stress and strain. All these things we went through we wanted to alleviate the stress and strain on people’s lives. It definitely hits close to home.”

The soccer match benefits the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation (Dylan Butler, MLSnet.com, 1/15). Read the entire article from MLSnet.com

Kurt Warner and Michael Phelps Being Honored at This Year’s Celebrity Fight Night

Celebrity Fight Night

Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner will be honored with the Muhammad Ali Sports Leadership Award at the 15th Celebrity Fight Night annual gala on Saturday, March 28 in Phoenix.

Warner will be joined by Olympian Michael Phelps, who will be presented with the Muhammad Ali Sports Achievement Award. The evening will be emceed by Reba McEntire with Jon Bon Jovi serving as the headline entertainer (Celebrity Fight Night).

Athlete Notes: Omar Gets His Liver Transplant; Dikembe Advocating for Congo

Zo's Fund for Life

Miami Heat C Alonzo Mourning and his Zo’s Fund for Life campaign reports some good news in the effort to help three-year-old Omar Ferguson get a life-saving liver transplant. A donor liver became available on Saturday, December 13 and was flown in from California to Miami where doctors immediately performed a successful transplantation on little Omar who was clinging to life. Omar will need ongoing post-transplant care and several immunosuppressant medications to help fight against organ rejection in addition to the current transplant-related expenses, which are all a part of the overall $300,000 goal to be raised. Zo’s Fund for Life has donated $50,000 of the $300,000 needed to “Give Omar Life” and has raised a total of $142,000 to date (Alonzo Mourning Charities).

Dikembe Mutombo: NBA.com’s John Hareas noted that free agent Dikembe Mutombo is advocating support for Congo. Mutombo: “By text-messaging ‘Congo’ to 90999 on your cell phone, you can raise awareness for $5. We are trying to receive international support for the people of the Congo who are suffering daily from deadly diseases such as HIV, AIDS and Malaria. More than five million people have died and that number is growing. Last year, more than 1.4 million children have died from Malaria alone.”

Mutombo also noted that “50 to 60 percent of the patients at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in the Congo, named after his late mother, are dying from Malaria” (John Hareas, NBA.com, 12/15). Read the entire article from NBA.com

LeBron James: The AP reports that The LeBron James Foundation”is cutting its staff and some of its charitable work.” The organization “will produce the King for Kids Bikeathon next June with consultants instead of staff to lower administrative costs.” Last year’s bikeathon “raised $50,000 each” for the Akron Area YMCA, the Akron Urban League and the LeBron James Family Foundation (AP, 12/17). Read the entire article from the AP

Usain Bolt: Ecorazzi reports that Jamaica Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt “has launched a fashion line” to support charities “that better the island nation of Jamaica, including the Jamaica United Way.” The merchandise “will be divided into three lines to target different markets: a souvenir line, an Urban Line, and a line of Signature Polo shirts featuring the ‘To the World’ pose he became known for at the Beijing Olympics” (Ecorazzi, 12/17).