A former Olympic champion has become the driving force behind an international organization now engaged in a bit of sports memorabilia fundraising.
Launched by former Norwegian speedskating icon Johan Olav Koss, Right To Play has launched an online auction of athletes’ Olympic memorabilia and sports gear from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Olympians are donating Games-worn gear and other items they hope will raise money in support of Right To Play programs. Right To Play is an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills and foster peace for children and communities around the world.
"Right To Play was founded on the idea that every child should have the right to play, and that when children play, the world wins," said Koss, President and CEO, Right to Play.
"With our extensive roster of Athlete Ambassadors from over 40 countries, we wanted to tap into the power of the Games to connect people in support of our programs that bring sport and play to children all over the world. We are delighted that Lenovo has joined us in this effort to raise funds."
"Lenovo wants to create new ways to help fans experience these Olympic Games," said Deepak Advani, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Lenovo. "The Right To Play Olympic memorabilia auction is a great way to make connections between fans and athletes. Athletes are supporting a worthwhile cause, inspiring fans to do the same thing, and giving them a chance to own a piece of Olympic history."
Olympic athletes from around the world, including Canadian Kayaking champion Adam van Koeverden, U-S track and field star Lauryn Williams, British swimmer Mark Foster and Spanish basketball sensation Jose Calderon, are just some that are getting involved. Athletes are visiting the Right To Play booth in the Olympic Village to learn more about the auction. Some of the athletes are filming short video clips i describing their journey to the Olympics. Video clips are then posted online with the visual, description of the auction items and starting bid.
"I had the opportunity to experience what Right To Play does first hand when I visited Liberia in 2007," said van Koeverden. "I was so moved by the positive impact that Right To Play programs had on children and their communities. Being around these children and seeing the difference that sport can make in their lives was a life-changing event. I hope that as 2008 Olympians, we will rise to the challenge and make some valuable contributions to this great initiative."
"Like the Olympic Games, Right To Play and Lenovo are dedicated to putting teamwork and sportsmanship into action," said Kerri Walsh, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist in Volleyball, as well as medal-contender and Lenovo Champion for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. "They’re using the Olympic Games as a platform to do some really great work. The auction is a worthwhile cause that I’m happy to be a part of. Don’t miss your chance to bid now."
The Right To Play online auction runs through August 25 aand items will be added daily. Some of the items online will include:
1. Canadian Olympic baseball player Stubby Clapp’s signed jersey
2. Canadian Flag bearer and Olympic kayaker, Adam Van Koeverden, donated his Flag Bearer’s sash, signed by the Canadian Olympic team present at the Beijing Opening Ceremonies.
3. 2008 Olympic Handball Pennant/Flag has been signed and donated by the Chinese Handball Team
4. Left hand prints on rice paper with signatures from a variety of Olympians in celebration of International Left-Handers’ Day
5. Signed Olympic Tennis Uniform (Swiss) donated by Timea Bacsinszky
6. Signed Olympic Badminton uniform (Ukraine) donated by Larisa Griga
7. Numerous and multiple athlete-autographed shirts
Right to Play Auction Live Listings