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144 days to go – 2010vanfan word of the day “Olympism”!

September 20, 2009

“Olympism” – I am embarrassed to report that I had not heard of the word before but today but now that I have I may make it my personal motto.  Something like “Live everyday with Olympism”!

What is Olympism??  Jeff Lee of the Vancouver Sun describes it as “the value of celebrating the best values in life”.  What a wonderful idea!  I hope that I already live this way and will keep trying to live up to this value that I believe in but that I had no idea had a name.  I’m pleased to say it also has stories.  Click the links above for a story but I’d also like to share a story I was told the other day.

Robyn - the Bay downtown's Olympic Torchbearer and embodiment of Olympism!

Robyn - the Bay downtown's Olympic Torchbearer and embodiment of Olympism!

I work at the Olympic Shop (soon to be Olympic Superstore) at the Bay in downtown Vancouver with Robyn.  Robyn has the wonderful distinction of being an Olympic Torchbearer!!  I have mentioned that part before, when talking about the Coca-Cola and RBC Torchbearers but what people that don’t know Robyn won’t know is that she really believes whole-heartedly in Olympism!  So does Herb, another co-worker of mine at the Olympic Shop/Superstore.

Robyn and Herb’s story starts in one of the new Canada Line stations.  A young man approached Robyn recently dragging his luggage and clearly distressed.  His story was that his parents had booked his plane tickets and somehow they hadn’t paid for the airport improvement fee and he needed $25 to pay the fees before he could catch his flight home.  He had no cash and no way to get any cash and he was really desperate as his flight left in just over an hour.  No money meant no way home!  Robyn called Herb to see if together they could think of a way to help the young man.  They came up with no other ideas than to give him the cash.  So Robyn did, and she and Herb split the cost of the $25 that this young man needed to fly home.  He was overjoyed at their generosity and gave her a big hug before hopping on the next train to the airport.

Now, like most of us, I really don’t think Robyn or Herb thought that they’d ever see the $25 again.  But this is a story of Olympism.  The young man got home and he sent a thank you to them.  And the $25 was repaid.  Twenty-five dollars may not be much in the grand scheme of things but it is a lot to give to one person on faith.  I guess faith was repaid as well.

I am sure many people ignored the pleas of this young man, but not Robyn and Herb.  And instead of the story ending badly for our Olympists it was a wonderful ending where a young man (and his family at home) left with a wonderful sense of the generosity and spirit of the people of Greater Vancouver, and where some of the people of Greater Vancouver had the joy of experiencing truly helping another.  I’m proud that both Robyn and Herb were brave enough to risk their own money and I’m proud that the young man and his family paid back the spirit and kindness they were shown.  Somedays the world that we live in can seem tough and rough, but if you look hard enough you can also find joy and friendship and all the other wonderful values that Olympism embodies.

To everyone that believes in the Olympic ideals “citius, altius, fortius” or “faster, higher, stronger”, keep believing!!  I really don’t believe that it is a bad, silly or useless thing to believe in the best values of human kind.  If you have another moment please comment and pass it on.  Also, please read this reply by Adam Kreek (Beijing 2008 Men’s 8 Rowing Gold Medallist) to criticism that the Olympic and Paralympic Games offer no good to the communities hosting them.  Adam does a fantastic job at giving his point of view as an athlete, a participant, and global resident as to the benefits of these sorts of endeavours.

Beijing 2008 Team Canada Men's 8 Rowing with their Gold Medals!

Beijing 2008 Team Canada Men's 8 Rowing with their Gold Medals! Adam Kreek is the blonde in the front middle.

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Tourism Saskatchewan contest

Tourism Saskatchewan contest

Contest!! – Tourism Saskatchewan is offering the chance to “Post, Tweet & Win“!  You could win a MacBook Pro, iPod touch, video camera with accessories or a cool Saskatchewan t-shirt by posting on Facebook or YouTube or tweeting on Twitter about your Saskatchewan experiences!  Sign up for their newsletter for chances to enter other contests!  Don’t forget – Saskatchewan House will be at Concord Place on north False Creek during Vancouver 2010!

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New story today!!  Canada Pavilion will be hosted at the LiveCity Downtown site on Georgia StreetThe Pavilion will help to promote economic opportunities in Canada as well as offer a place for Canada to celebrate our athletes, creativity and sustainability!  There is still more to be announced but I’m looking forward to visiting already!

Schematic of the LiveCity Downtown layout - Canada House will be hosted here!

Schematic of the LiveCity Downtown layout - Canada House will be hosted here!

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There’s always more to talk about, but I think I’ll leave it there for tonight.  A happy story, a contest and a new announcement are enough to think about for me anyhow, and I hope you like them too.  Maybe, possibly even feel a bit more “Olympism” flowing through your veins, heart and spirit!

Thank you, merci!  Take care of each other!

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