Michael Phelps’ Final Lap for Charity, Right to Play at Olympics, And an Inspiring Baseball Book for Kids
Yesterday, five members of Students for a Free Tibet lit up the skies near the National Stadium and spelled out ‘Free Tibet’ with blue LED lights in English and Mandarin. It took the police just 20-seconds to intervene…three other protestors were detained as they attempted to use lasers to spell out ‘Free Tibet’ on a Beijing landmark. Students for a Free Tibet Exec Dir Lhadon Tethong said “more actions were planned” in Beijing in the coming days…(NY Times).
PHELPS TAKES LAP FOR CHARITY
While protestors were busy raising awareness for Tibet, Michael Phelps enjoyed meeting some of our NBA’s hotties before taking his final lap-number 6,250- of the ‘Hilton Swim to Beijing Relay.’ The charitable event contributed $100,000 to the USA Swimming Foundation to fund swim education programs across the U.S. Hilton Hotels is one of Phelps’ sponsors, and in celebration of the Olympics, they partnered with the USA Swimming Foundation with each of the 6,250 laps symbolizing one of the miles between Los Angeles, the relay’s starting point, and Beijing.
“After representing my country and competing in the Olympics, Hilton gave me another great reason to get back in the pool,” said Phelps. “By being a part of this campaign I’m able to help support swim education programs across the nation and give young people the chance to experience the power of the sport. Swimming is much more than a fun activity and great form of exercise. It teaches self-discipline and dedication—two important qualities that one can draw on to succeed both in and out of the pool.”
More love came from the Olympians yesterday as more than a dozen current and former athletes hit up the corporate hospitality pavilion to support the Right to Play. The humanitarian organization landed heavily on the map after the 06 Turin Games when speed skater Joey Cheek donated his bonus money to them. This time, its different though- thanks to IOC sponsor Johnson & Johnson, donations are being made on behalf of the athletes. J&J is donating $20,000 per gold medal, $15,000 per silver and $10,000 per bronze won by those who have signed up to be Right to Play athlete ambassadors. “There has been a lot of criticism for having the Olympic games here,” said U.S. swimmer Natalie Coughlin, “but it has made a wider audience aware of issues that they otherwise might not have known about.” (Coughlin with her six medals won here, is responsible for $80,000 for the organization.) Any athlete can become an ambassador, yet only about 40 Olympians representing 13 countries and 25 sports have signed up, notably absent as an ambassador for Right to Play? Michael Phelps.
Coughlin said she spoke to Phelps about it last week in the Olympic Village, “He wants to do it,” Coughlin said. “He’s going to do it. I have mentioned to him that his eight gold medals would mean 52,000 children would be enrolled in the program and 1,600 coaches would be able to get involved.” If Phelps does indeed become an ambassador, it would bring a whopping $160,000 donation from J&J to Right to Play.
FOR THE KIDS
Ya’ all know I don’t cover many baseball related events, but there is a little book coming out that I gotta give props to. The book, ‘A Glove of Their Own’ has already got some endorsement love from several players: Craig Biggio, Sean Casey and Jack Hannahan have all stepped up to support the children’s book aimed at teaching kids the value of sharing what you have with those in need. Charity partners include Good Sports, Sports Gift, Pitch In For Baseball, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Cheerful Givers, and the Sunshine Foundation. From the back cover: “Few things in life are ever as good as the smell of your own glove, the crack of the wood. Or being with friends at that one special spot and sharing what you have… with those who have not.” The picture book personifies the “paying it forward” mentality via a group of underprivileged boys’ childhood experience, and how their love of the game is not defined by the equipment they don’t have but rather the passion and dreams that they do have. The book was inspired by a birthday party held for one of the writers’ kids- in place of gifts, guests were asked to donate baseball equipment for children who normally do without. A Glove of Their Own comes out in October, and those wishing to get their hands on a copy need to reserve now! Go to the website to reserve your copy.
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