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Mar 07 Olympism and the New White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sports

June 17, 2009, 4:52 p.m. (ET)

The White House yesterday announced the forming of the Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sports office. I sent out news of this last night to some friends and leaders with the correct phrasing in my opinion of the new formation of the Youth, Paralympic and Olympic Sports office. More than a few thought it was a joke at first, but it is real, and important to know more about...

The USOC had an individual Washington DC for years, who mostly problem solved visas for international teams coming in and USA Teams going out. For most other nations,  their Olympic team and movement are a government sponsored program. The White House announcement, and the USOC response, follow later, but I wanted to bring focus on two things most grassroots people do not know about growing the game through the Olympic and Paralympic movement.

The key thing to come is the process - and there we need to understand Olympism, not the Olympic Games. Most people miss the point and just think Gold Medals. That is why I have spent so much time in teaching new coaches about the Olympic motto of

Citius, Altius Fortius,

After all, most reading this are JUNIOR Olympic Volleyball and Beach Volleyball coaches and players. So these three words you MUST know and focus on in becoming the best player you can be. It is not about the gold - for the process of being Swifter, Higher and Stronger is good for all humanity and human development. It is about pursuing the "ER" for EACH person, NOT the "EST" of the gold medalist.  It is the journey, not the destination. The focus on being BETTER, not BEST is a pathway each and every one of your athletes can follow.   

What is Olympism?

Well visit, and indeed spend more time at www.olympic.org and learn about what the International Olympic Committee is focused on. For Olympism specifically you can go to.

http://www.olympic.org.nz/Article.aspx?ID=2997

There you see that the idea is to bring both sport into the areas of culture and education, such that Olympism promotes a way of life based on:

"The balanced development of the body, will and mind

The joy found in effort

The educational value of being a good role model

Respect for universal ethics including tolerance, generosity, unity, friendship, non-discrimination and respect for others. "

So what is ahead is too soon to be seen. There are several key areas in the announcement below, but the two that I am excerpting for your focus are:

  • Recommend federal policies and programs to the President to enhance opportunities and access for youth participation in sport, with particular focus on youth in urban areas
  • And work closely with the United States Olympic Committee and national sport governing bodies to increase access and opportunities for youth to participate in sports.

So, just wanted you all as leaders in our sport and in growing the game for others, to know of this historic announcement.  Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or emailing me at john.kessel@usav.org.  Almost time for the Father's Day Tournament in Vail this Sunday, to those of you dads reading this, I hope you all get time to be with your kid or kids doing things you both love as I will be by playing with Cody and McKenzie this weekend in a beautiful part of my home state....  John

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
__________________________________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          June 16, 2009

President Obama Announces New White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport

WASHINGTON - Today, President Barack Obama announced the formation of the White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport. 

This permanent White House office will promote the values of the Olympic Movement and encourage increased youth participation in athletics.  The primary function of the Office will be to enhance awareness of the Olympic Movement through promotion of its fundamental principles at the federal level. 

President Obama said, "It is an important goal of my administration to give our nation's children every possible tool they need to grow, learn and succeed in life.  A key part of this is increasing access to healthy, constructive activities like sports for our nation's children.  Too many American kids - particularly those in urban areas - have no access to organized sporting activities. Sports are an important way to instill values, judgment and teamwork in our nation's kids, and this new office reflects our commitment to giving all our children a chance to thrive.  As the International Olympic Committee moves forward with their selection process we hope that this new office can serve as a model for youth involvement worldwide."

The White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport will:

  • Recommend federal policies and programs to the President to enhance opportunities and access for youth participation in sport, with particular focus on youth in urban areas
  • Foster and encourage youth sporting, educational and cultural events involving Olympic values-based programs and the participation of U.S. Olympians and Paralympians

The Office will also work in coordination with appropriate executive departments and agencies, including the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, to:

  • Engage in outreach to state and local government officials, nonprofit organizations and the private sector
  • Coordinate federal resources, and act as liaison to, any organizing committee for an Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted in the United States
  • And work closely with the United States Olympic Committee and national sport governing bodies to increase access and opportunities for youth to participate in sports.

Then the U.S. Olympic Committee Reaction to President Obama's Announcement of New White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Statement from USOC Acting Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Streeter:

"This is a great day for the Olympic and Paralympic Movement in the United States. President Obama and Ms. Jarrett have shown great leadership and vision today in embracing the Olympic Movement by establishing this office in the White House. We embrace and welcome this high-level White House support and advocacy for the USOC, Chicago 2016 and the goals of the Olympic Movement. The USOC looks forward to working with the Obama Administration in collaboration with our National Governing Bodies, Multisport Organizations and other key partners to promote youth participation in Olympic and Paralympic sport. Together we will create new opportunities for America's youth and instill the values inherent in the Olympic Movement."

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