The Best of (All) of Us

I am a huge fan of the Olympics and while I think in many ways it (i.e. the stewards of the Games) has lost its sports/moral compass, this is a great initiative that will hopefully engage young people and everyone else for that matter.

You can find the full article, “Olympic Challenge: Engaging Youths” by Stuart Elliott at, with an excerpt below.

We lead off with the trailer for The Best of Us Challenge

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Olympic Challenge: Engaging Youths

By Stuart Elliott, New York Times, October 13, 2009

THE International Olympic Committee is trying to keep young people around the world from uttering a dismissive “I.O.C.UL8R” with an online campaign that encourages them to interact with champion athletes.

Youth today have far more interests, and distractions, than in the days when the Summer and Winter Games every four years was eagerly anticipated. That threatens to damp their desire to participate in future Olympics — not to mention their ardor to watch the Games on television or buy the products sold by Olympic sponsors.

To help address all that before the 2010 Olympics, the committee has been sponsoring a global campaign carrying the theme “The Best of Us.” The campaign, by Cole & Weber United in Seattle, part of the United unit of WPP, enters a second phase on Wednesday with the introduction of what the committee is calling The Best of Us Challenge.

Young people ages 12 to 19 will be invited to create video clips in an effort known as consumer-generated or user-generated content. The clips are to show them responding to challenges from athletes like the beach volleyball player Natalie Cook, the pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, the snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, the gymnast Shawn Johnson, the tennis player Rafael Nadal, the swimmer Michael Phelps and the skier Lindsey Vonn.The challenges are not in Olympic sports. And they are not intended to encourage participants to take risks or act dangerously. In other words, cast members of “Jackass” need not apply — unless they clean up their act.

Rather, the dares are meant to be playful and lighthearted: How many clapping push-ups can you do in 30 seconds? How long can you balance a stick? In 30 seconds, in how many languages can you say “Hello?” How many tennis balls can you pick up in 30 seconds?

Rules will be posted on a section of the committee’s Web site ( The video clips from youths answering the athletes’ challenges — or issuing challenges of their own — are to be uploaded to the Olympic Web site. Prizes will include trips to the 2010 Winter Games, in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the first Youth Olympic Games, to be held in Singapore next August.

(The article continues at