Monday, July 30, 2012

The Olympic uniforms, Politicians and disrespecting athletes

As news that the uniforms for the athletes representing the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London had been assembled in China broke some people, including politicians, expressed indignation over that decision. I have given some pause since that time for an opportunity to hear what is most important -- support for the athletes. That has yet to come.

As a former trainee at the United States Olympic Training Center [OTC] in Colorado Springs I was fortunate enough to be seen as a potential Olympic athlete and receive training at no cost to me. The lessons I learned about nutrition, physiology and sports psychology I still use to this day in my life coaching. Unlike others who attended,my career was cut short soon after returning from Colorado when I was hit by a truck and nearly killed.

One of the athletes that was also invited to train at the OTC in the same session I attended was Lance Armstrong -- eventual seven-time Tour de France champion. The OTC provides opportunity for hundreds of athletes each year to receive training and be evaluated by the coaching staff. We trainees are often the seedlings from which the crop of eventual Olympic participants are harvested. It is because of the generosity of individual and corporate contributors that I and many of our Olympic athletes had this opportunity.

It is therefore very unfortunate that narrow-minded, self-serving politicians get involved to further their political objectives. They have likely never made the sacrifices or commitment that we athletes have done in our pursuit to represent our country in the Olympic Games. In 1980 and 1984 governments showed great disrespect to athletes by forbidding them from competing in the Olympic Games. Now, although indirect, we have politicians who would again deny some athletes from competing in the Olympic Games by having their opportunity to attend training camps cut off.

The US Olympic Committee has a finite set of funds to further our pursuit of Olympic victory. One of the ways this is done is by funding training camps at the OTC. If we can have more athletes receiving training because the Olympic Committee saved money by purchasing clothing from China then I am all for it as I would rather support the athletes than low wage seamstresses in the US.

If politicians truly cared about the real purpose of the US Olympic Committee, supporting athletes, then they wouldn't try to divert attention from the accomplishments of these dedicated athletes and instead make it a political issue. They should be ashamed but these despicable opportunists have no shame.

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