First, the athlete-powered humanitarian organization Right To Play learned they were being shut out of the athletes village for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Now, it looks like they could get booted out of the Olympic movement, too.
Andrea Shaw, vice president of marketing for the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), told the Star as much in a late night email she sent yesterday. This was after an interview earlier in the day in which she explained how Right To Play would not be allowed to set up a booth in the athletes village as done in the past because they had conflicting sponsors with VANOC.
"It is VANOC’s (our) understanding that the IOC has raised the same concerns on conflicting sponsorships with Right To Play and has taken the position that Right To Play can no longer be associated with the Olympic Games," said Shaw.
This could be a huge blow for Right To Play, which has been an integral part of the Olympic movement, although the organization has incredible support from its athlete base, which is primarily made up of Olympians.
Right To Play started out as Olympic Aid, created in 1992 for the 1994 Lillehammer Games in an effort to put more heart and soul into the sports extravaganza and try to spur an Olympic truce where all wars ceased during the Games.
Its greatest champion early on was Norwegian speed skating great Johann Olav Koss, who donated all his prize money in 1994 to Olympic Aid and leads the Toronto-based Right To Play to this day.
Koss made it clear in a statement to day they’ve not given up hope of remaining a part of the Olympic Games, despite VANOC’s statement.
“Right To Play is currently in discussions with the International Olympic Committee,” said Koss, President and CEO of Right To Play. “The Olympic Games are part of our heritage and always will be, thanks to the support of hundreds of Olympic athletes worldwide who share our vision of a healthier and safer world through the power of sport and play.”