Action: 53. Time: 2 minutes. Level of difficulty: Easy.
When I was a kid, my favorite part of the Olympic Opening Ceremony was the Parade of Nations — the part where each country’s athletes walk through the stadium behind their national flag for all the world to see. I found the different costumes fascinating, and I also liked hearing the interesting facts and tidbits about each country.
Back in the day, if I wanted to reach out to one of the Olympians that I saw on TV to cheer them on, I’d have to write the International Olympic Committee for their name and address. And by the time the Olympian would get my letter, the Games would be over. So, my words of encouragement wouldn’t be relevant.
But today we live in digital times. Many of the 2012 Olympians are on Facebook and Twitter, and are updating their feeds regularly with their progress. The athletes that I’m most excited to reach out to this year are the African athletes most likely to win Olympic gold medals at London 2012, so I thought I’d share my list with you for this week’s ONE Act.
Join me in sending a Tweet and Facebook message to some of these African athletes and wish them luck. To make it easy, I’ve included sample messages for you to copy and paste. Simply fill in the fields and tweet or Facebook message away.
Twitter: [@TWITTERHANDLE] My name is [YOUR NAME] & I’m a @ONECampaign member from [YOUR CITY]. Best of luck at #London2012 & I’ll be watching you!
Facebook: Hello [NAME], My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m a @ONE member from [YOUR CITY]. I am so proud that you are representing your country for the London 2012 Olympics. More people need to see the success stories from Africa, and you are a shining example of that. All the best at the Games, and I hope you win a medal.
Zimbabwean swimmer Kirsty Coventry holds the world record for the 200m backstroke, and over her two previous Olympic Games she has won two gold medals, four silvers and a bronze. She has been voted African Swimmer of the Year five times.
Kenyan middle distance runner David Lekuta Rudisha is a world record holder in the 800 meter race with a time of 1:41.01. Rudisha holds five of the ten fastest times for this event.
Botswanan sprinter Amantle Montsho specializes in the 400 meter race. She represented her country at the 2004 and 2008 summer Olympics. A two-time African Championships gold medalist, she has won titles in the event at the 2007 All-Africa Games, the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup and the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
South African BMX biker Sifiso Nhlapo is an Olympic silver and bronze medallst and has represented South Africa at the World Championships a record nine times.
Nigerian Segun Toriola is Africa’s most-decorated table tennis player. London 2012 is his sixth Olympics – his first was Barcelona 1992. In Beijing four years ago, he became the first African so far to make it to the quarter-finals.
Benjamin Boukpeti is a canoeist from Togo. He is the first African to win a medal in a slalom event, and his Olympic bronze medal from Beijing was Togo’s first Olympic medal ever.
South African runner Caster Semenya ran into a storm of speculation at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009 over whether or not she was female. Despite the controversy, she has made it to London. This is her first Olympic Games.
Remember, you don’t have to copy and paste the exact message above — you can something more personal or talk about your work with ONE. Let us know in the comments below who you reached out to, and if we missed any Olympians, share their Twitter or Facebook handles with us.