Monday, October 6, 2008

The True Olympic Ideal

More money more more money

If you happen to be one of those simple souls who really buy into the Olympic sales pitch (most of you are too intelligent, but there are apparently some), you want to check out Ed Willes' column in the October 6, 2008, Vancouver Province:

"As bad as VANOC looks in the Right To Play story which broke last week, there are further details which make it look even worse. If that’s possible. For the uninformed, VANOC and Right To Play — a humanitarian organization which promotes play and sports for kids in underdeveloped countries — severed associations because of a sponsorship conflict.

Right To Play has a three-year deal with Mitsubishi worth about $1.5 million Cdn. General Motors signed up with VANOC to the tune of $67 million and, in the eyes of both VANOC and GM, Right To Play’s presence in the Athletes Village, where they’ve been a fixture in past Olympics, represents a rights infringement.

OK, if you’ve observed the International Olympic Committee for more than five minutes, you’re aware this kind of pettiness isn’t exactly unprecedented.

But that’s only part of the story. When they started negotiations with Right To Play, VANOC told RTP they’d have to drop their deal with Mitsubishi as a precondition to a partnership for 2010.

RTP then went to Mitsubishi and asked if they could be released from the final two years of their contract.

Mitsubishi agreed but, according to Right To Play, VANOC started making more demands. RTP sponsorships couldn’t conflict with VANOC’s Canadian sponsorships through 2012.

Their international sponsorships couldn’t conflict with VANOC through 2010. In the labyrinthine world of the global economy, this would have crippled RTP in Canada and severely limited its ability to raise money internationally.

At that point, RTP bowed out of discussions with VANOC, then had to go back to Mitsubishi hat in hand and asked if they could revive their partnership. The Japanese automaker agreed about three weeks ago. Then the spit hit the fan. We’re now left to wonder what VANOC and GM could have possibly been thinking. A million bucks, which represents the last two years of Mitsubishi’s sponsorship deal with RTP, means everything to some of the neediest children in our world. That was put at grave risk by VANOC's greed.
Remember this the next time someone from VANOC gets all moony about the Olympic ideal.
Remember, also, GM’s role in this and how Mitsubishi conducted itself."

VANOC and the IOC grubbing up a few more bucks at the expense of the poorest children in the world.
Truly, they have no shame.

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