Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh, Donna

Backtracking now to August 7, the eve of Beijing's spectacular Opening Ceremonies. B.C. Canada Pavilion played host to the first of many Olympians who crossed under the Canadian hardwood arches.

The event du jour involved international organizations Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDP IWG) and Right To Play, on site to announce a new report titled "Harnessing the Power of Sport for Development and Peace: Recommendations to Governments." I've not had time to dive into this report, but it sounds very interesting and is available for review.

It seemed that at almost every turn that evening there was an Olympic great with whom to speak.

Right To Play's President and CEO Johann Olav Koss (four time gold medal speed skater) was among the evening's presenters, sharing the stage and press conference with U.N. representatives and sports officials from several continents.

Then 1960 Olympic Champion and former ABC Olympic commentator, Donna de Varona, walked in to show her support and meet with other officials. Donna was keen to talk about Right To Play, and to introduce our team to her family, including her husband, John Pinto (who said to say 'hello' to one of my fellow Edelman bloggers), and their daughter, Joanna, an aspiring filmmaker whose first project involves Right To Play (more on her film to follow in a future blog entry).

We also got introduced to the attending International Olympic Committee members, including Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (an pro-bono Edelman Sports client).

The event -- and hearing the personal stories of the Olympians first-hand -- was an inspiring evening and prelude to the Games.

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