Olympic Hero

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America has produced a true to life hero in Turin. 26 year old speedskater Joey Cheek won the gold medal in the 500 meter competition.

In the Q&A following his performance, he used his 15 minutes of fame to call attention to the genocide taking place in Sudan and the plight of the refugees created by the situation.

Here is an excerpt:

I'm going to be donating the entire sum the USOC gives to me, which I think is around $25,000, I'm not sure, to the organization that Johann Olaf Koss either started or gave to in 1994. And I'm going to be asking all of the Olympic sponsors that give hundreds of millions of dollars if they will also maybe match my donation to a specific project.

So, as you know, there's been some media but not a ton, especially in the U.S., in the Darfur region of Sudan. There has been tens and tens of thousands of people killed. My government has labeled it a genocide, and so I will be donating money specifically to refugees in Chad where there are over 60,000 children who have been displaced from their homes. And hopefully, if the region ever gets stabilized, hopefully from pressure through the United Nations or from the U.S. government or from some other agency, then we can go into Sudan and start programs for refugees there.

For me, the Olympics have been the greatest blessing. If I retired yesterday I would have gotten everything in the world from speedskating and from competing in the Olympics. So for me to walk away today with a gold medal is amazing. And the best way to say thanks that I can think of is to help somebody else, so I'm going to be donating my money. I'm going to try and talk to the Olympic sponsors, and if there's anyone in particular in the U.S. or Europe who's going to be reading these articles, if you'd like, check out Right To Play. You can check out their web site, it's (http://www.righttoplay.com/)."

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on February 16, 2006 3:20 PM.

For the Chicago Peeps was the previous entry in this blog.

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