August 8, 2008

What makes a GREAT athlete??

“.... my philosophy toward sports is a cliché: it isn't so much the result that makes me proud of an athlete or a performance; it's the effort. It's how an athlete handles wins and losses, it's attitude. And it's about understanding that being great at a sport doesn't make you a great person.” Excerpt from TIME magazine by Dan Jansen 4/30/06

Today I read the wonderful comment Dan Jansen made in an online TIME article about Joey Cheek. It expressed what I have not been able to put in words for years. Truthfully I have been a critic of professional sports figures and have often times missed all the wonderful men and women out there who have used their talents to give back to their community and world. Stereotyping is a bad thing most of the time, so I want to give a shout out for Joey Cheek. He put his money where his mouth was when he gave his bonus medal winnings, earned at Torino for speed skating, to the Darfur cause. Since then he has co-founded TeamDARFUR, an international coalition of athletes committed to raising awareness about and bringing an end to the crisis in Darfur Sudan.

In a country where the average fan idolizes sport figures, will buy endorsed shoes and clothes but could not even afford a ticket to a game or the Olympics, it is wonderful to know there are people like Joey Cheek and many others who will set an example and give back to the community and world.

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