VANCOUVER -- Just picture it: An Olympic Magic School Bus making its way across the country.
The idea would be to have Canadian Olympians travel around and tell their stories to school kids. The goal would not be to inspire the next generation of Olympic athletes, but to inspire kids to chase their dreams and, most of all, to get moving.
It's something that could happen in April, after kids are back from March break and the athletes have wrapped up their World Cup seasons and had a chance to de-compress.
This shouldn't just be about medalists, either. Every Olympian has their story to tell. Many who didn't make it this time also have some pretty compelling tales.
Just think of some of the messages these athletes have to deliver:
* Alex Bilodeau: It's about inclusion and being totally inspired by his brother Frederic, who has cerebral palsy
* Joannie Rochette: The courage to keep chasing your dream amid great adversity.
* Chris Del Bosco: Coming back from addiction to put it all on the line.
* Jenny Ciochetti and Ryan Blais, the bobsledder and aerialist who both fell painstakingly short of makng the Olympic team but still came to support their teammates
* Clara Hughes: How finding your passion can rescue you from a dead end path.
* Jasey-Jay Anderson: Never give up. Stay true to yourself.
* Brian McKeever: Refusing to let a disability define you. Handling a setback with class.
The possibilities are endless. It should definitely include Paralympic athletes. It should also include past Olympians.
This idea was borrowed from Olympic triathlon champion Simon Whitfield. He voiced it many years ago, but nothing ever came of it.
That's the problem in Canada. There's no vision in this regard, no creativity. The Canadian Olympic Committee sticks to the same old, same old and, of course, nothing ever changes.
The federal government doesn't even come close to understanding the opportunity that's at hand right now, how the magic of the last three weeks could be harnessed. They're not prepared to invest any more money in our sport programs and athletes, sounding as if they feel they've done their bit and corporate Canada needs to step up.
That last part is true, but what they don't realize is the opportunity for partnership here. Canada's Olympic athletes don't want a handout. They never have. They're wired to work for everything they get.
Hence, something like the Olympic Magic School Bus idea would be a great fit. Why not devise a contract with athletes and federations for a prescribed number of school visits? Why not have an Olympian or Olympic coach run a gym class here and there? You don't think that would jack the kids up? Why not create a book series that could be used in schools, promoting these athletes and the values their stories represent?
Prime Minister Harper and Sports Minister Gary Lunn, why would you let an opportunity like this slip by? You jumped on the opportunities for photo ops at the Games. You couldn't get enough of those.
Olympic champion kayaker Adam Van Koeverden, flagbearer at the 2008 Beijing Games, put it so well in a tweet:
“PM Harper makin' the rounds. LT SpeedSkating & Curling, sittin w/ CDN Oly Medalists. If you like it then you better put a ring on it, Steve.”