Jackie's IOA Journal: I Believe in Olympism

Today is my last full day in Greece. After a long bus ride we will arrive back in Athens this afternoon and perhaps get in some shopping and a meal before departing for places all over the world. Some people are going to stay and continue to vacation in Greece, others are off to visit friends and most are going home again.

Since we expected we would likely get spread out in various places in Athens tonight we knew that our time at a local pub last night would be the last one as an entire group. The party was not on the schedule, but everyone knew where to go and when – there’s only one choice in Olympia! So after dinner and a few last cultural presentations everyone made the 2 km trek to celebrate the time that we have had together.

It has been a meaningful two weeks with many new experiences. I had never been to Greece or Europe before, or left North America for that matter! I had not met so many people from so many countries or felt the pride of officially representing my country at an international event before. Wearing Canada on my shirt meant more than it ever had before. So many people I met told me of their friends or relatives that live somewhere in Canada. It seems everyone knows someone that is somehow tied to our great nation.

I also have so many places to visit now, and homes to stay in when I get there! I’ve been offered spare bedrooms in Aruba, Austria, Finland, Korea, Norway, and in New York and Los Angeles. There have been many plans made for reunions at future Olympic and Youth Olympic Games.

Yesterday I had an email from my Dad asking what was next for me now that this experience is almost over. I told him that I want to go to Sochi in 2014 and PyeongChang in 2018, not to mention Innsbruck 2012. I might even try to get to Rio in 2016! What a way to travel the world! I can’t wait to get involved in the next Olympic Academy of Canada and help the people who attend have an experience as meaningful as I did at the OAC in Montreal in 2006. I want to make sure OAC participants know to strive for the chance to go to the International Olympic Academy to learn from the world and teach it at the same time. Maybe we’ll have another Ontario Youth Olympic Academy again soon.

I believe in Olympism, which is “a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.” I believe in the Olympic values of excellence, fun, fairness, respect, personal growth, leadership and peace. I think that the Olympic Movement can achieve its goal of using the Games to teach these values and must ensure that the message doesn’t get lost in the glitter of medals and confusion of marketing. Now that I am an official member of the Olympic Family I am better equipped to help make this happen!

Thank you to the International Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Academy and the Canadian Olympic Committee for allowing me to add this to my life experience. I am forever grateful and at your service.