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Thanks to the US Olympic Team (2008 Summer Olympics Gifts – Day 16)

August 24th, 2008 · No Comments · US Olympic Shop, USA Olympics

Throughout the Olympics, I’ve been highlighting gifts from the US Olympic Shop. A portion of all gifts purchased through that great site goes directly to helping present and future athletes training for the Olympics. If you visit the site now, you’ll notice that they’re slashing the prices on 2008 Beijing Gifts, so hurry and grab what you can before it’s gone! One of the products they offer is the official Polo Shirticon as worn by Team USA during the closing ceremonies! And for a limited time, use promo code LKS38LFN to save an additional 15%.

usolympicshop.comAs I write this at 5:30 AM Sunday morning, it’s 5:30 PM Sunday night in Beijing and the last competitions have officially concluded, with France winning the gold medal in Handball, Hungary winning the gold in Water Polo, and the US winning the gold in Basketball and Volleyball in dramatic fashion.

The closing ceremonies came and went, and they were as spectacular as the opening ceremonies. Like many, I felt a twinge of sadness to see the flame go out.

All in all, these were the most memorable games I can remember for a long time. Team USA certainly did itself proud, from the thrilling performances of the first medals in fencing, to women’s gymnastics, to the surprise run by the water polo team, to the way the men’s volleyball team came back from a tragedy to win gold, to the amazing run by Michael Phelps and USA Swimming, to the way USA track and field started with disappointment but ended with some thrilling victories.

You may notice in the medal count that while the US was tops in overall medals, China completely dominated, for the first time in gold medals. And most experts believe that they are just going to grow stronger and stronger.


As a totalitarian state, China’s government pours tremendous amounts of money into molding elite athletes, often from childhood, through government-run programs. Ultimately, what the government gets out of it is gaining prestige in the world’s eyes, which China certainly has done with these Games.

In the United States, it doesn’t work that way. We don’t have a government controlling our athletics. Rather, our athletes develop passion and a natural talent in their sport, and they pursue their dreams and achieving individual excellence. Our country is great because of our athletes, not vice-versa.

So how do athletes in the United States compete against other countries where a machine is in place to provide them all the resources they need?

Enter the United States Olympic Committee. The USOC is the non-profit organization that provides training centers, funds, and staff to athletes for the Olympics. It’s been in existence since 1894, and while it’s chartered by the US Congress, it receives absolutely no funding from our tax dollars. It’s funded entirely by corporate sponsors and contributions from individuals like you and me.

When you think about it, corporate sponsors are only going to sponsor those sports which they feel have commercial appeal. So far too often, our gifted athletes in lower profile sports are left with nothing. In most cases, they need to pay their own way for equipment, training, and even travel to competitions and the Olympics.

What can you to do help ensure that Team USA athletes of all sports are provided all they need to succeed in 2010, 2012, and on?

You can always purchase gifts from the US Olympic Shop, particularly gifts to help you remember 2008 Beijing. But more importantly, each year, consider making a generous donation to the USOC, which is tax-deductible. And give our future athletes a chance to keep up the great tradition of victory.

Congratulations to all of Team USA during these Olympics for their spectacular performances, and for making us so proud as a nation.


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