Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fueling Olympic Families


It's been barely a month since saying goodbye to B.C. Canada Pavilion in Beijing, my Edelman Olympic assignment during the months leading to and during the 2008 Games.

But after spending a month with dozens of Canadians day and night, night and day, I can't help but keep an eye on news from the Great White North on all things Olympic (and other news, such as this Canadian newspaper blog asking whether Sarah Palin's ever visits Alaska's eastern neighbor with which her state shares a 1,538-mile border -- posing an interesting question about Palin's so-called international relations experience).

So this week, when an Edelman colleague mentioned our firm's work with Petro-Canada, it was fun to read about the company's new initiative to help the families of Canada's Olympians and Paralympians travel to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in British Columbia in just 495 days from today.

The program -- Petro-Canada's Canadian Athlete Family Program -- will help 500 athletes' family members see their loved ones compete live at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (in the interest of disclosure, Edelman also works on a pro-bono basis with the International Paralympic Committee).

This was not the first time I heard about Petro-Canada's support of the Olympic Movement.

Back in 1988, the only way to experience the Calgary Winter Olympics was via ABC Sports' broadcasts live from Alberta (including the spectacular daytime Opening Ceremony live on the day before Valentine's Day, which won't soon be forgotten as it was nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit -- in February -- where I lived in Oklahoma at the time).

But back to Petro-Canada.

As a souvenir of that marathon TV watching experience, and for the sake of learning more about Olympic torch relays, sometime around 1995 a garage sale yielded a copy of the book "Share The Flame: The Official Retrospective Book of the Olympic Torch Relay" presented by none other than Petro-Canada. It's a book filled with great photos and personal stories of how they got the flame across Canada, and a great companion piece to a similar book published after the 1996 Atlanta Games. By today's standards, this was an old-school Torch Relay (and one of the best, thanks to the support of Petro-Canada.

Earlier this year I also read about the company's Totem Pole Legacy Project, which is so cool, and in Torino in 2006 the Petro-Canada pin was one of the most popular on my lanyard.

Now if we could just get some of their fuel stations down here south of the border (where I've been walking to work on-again-off-again the last two weeks since the gas stations are out of fuel to sell), we'd be all set, eh?

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