Who knew that whitewater slalom is an Olympic discipline?
I did, of course, but many people do not.
Being semi-unknown is kind of cool. Amateur sports have a certain purity that big-time sports often forget in the age of hyper-commercialism. But there is a down side; lack of money.
Right now, Olympic athletes on the U.S. Team are working odd jobs, teaching kayak/canoe lessons, anything it takes to earn enough money for plane tickets to London this summer. They are as committed to earning their way as they are to their year-round training that rivals any major league sport you can think off. These men and women of whitewater slalom are not million dollar athletes of the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB who's big-league teams allow them to take a couple of weeks off to go play in the Olympics. The women and men of whitewater slalom train all year, work full time jobs that have nothing to do with their sport, and compete against each other in weekend events that have entry fees, hotel rooms, gas money, and other expenses that come out of their own pockets.
Every $20 helps. Give what you can. Even better. Pass the links along to people you know. Everyone can participate. Everyone can be a part of the Olympics. Money donated goes directly to the athletes. This is not some big corporate ad campaign that donates a few bucks to the Olympic Committee so that they can say the "support" the athletes. This IS the athletes. This is direct help, just like giving a family member a couple of bucks when they are sooooooo close to finishing a goal.