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Old 02-14-2006, 08:14 AM   #1
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Olympic Speed Skating Gold Medalist Donates Bonus To Children In Darfur

people.com

By Stephen M. Silverman

Olympic speed skating winner Joey Cheek has put his gold medal where his mouth is.

The 500-meter American champion declared during a press interview about his victory that he was donating his entire $25,000 U.S. Olympic Committee bonus from the event to help children in the war-torn region of Darfur in Sudan.

"I wanted to make it meaningful," said Cheek, 26, a former inline skater from Greensboro, N.C. "It's empowering to think of someone else."

He added, "I've been plotting this a little bit in my head."

On Monday, Cheek skated the two best races of his life, with a combined time 0.65 seconds ahead of the silver medalist, Russia's Dmitry Dorofeyev – considered an amazing margin in a furious sprint usually decided by hundredths of a second. South Korea's Lee Kang Seok took the bronze, the Associated Press reports.

Cheek challenged his sponsors to match his donation. He plans to visit the Darfur region, where some 180,000 people have died and 2 million forced to flee in a bitter conflict, and see how his money is helping.

"I have been blessed with competing in the Olympics," said Cheek, who recalled something his mother Chris told her two sons: "Not to have good intentions, but to do good things."
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Old 02-14-2006, 08:20 AM   #2
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Best story of the Olympics to date.
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Old 02-14-2006, 08:23 AM   #3
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Joey

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Old 02-14-2006, 08:24 AM   #4
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Re: Olympic Speed Skating Gold Medalist Donates Bonus To Children In Darfur

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
"Not to have good intentions, but to do good things."
What a great example of being a gracias winner and Olympic hero!

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Old 02-14-2006, 08:32 AM   #5
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Joey Cheek for President!!
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:17 AM   #6
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and he's cute, too ...
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:18 AM   #7
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Originally posted by Irvine511
and he's cute, too ...
I wasn't going to say that given the subject matter, but yes indeed
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:51 AM   #8
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That's fantastic--what a sweetie.
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:33 AM   #9
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What a generous thing to do. Good for him.
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Old 02-14-2006, 12:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Best story of the Olympics to date.
and is this the worst?

the United States has pressed the United Nations not to include Gosh on the list of people who should be subject to sanctions

should someone who masterminded the policy of arming the infamous janjaweed militias to burn the villages of non-Arab ethnic groups be feted and protected by the CIA? At least 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2 million displaced in Darfur in a struggle between the government and rebel groups.

Quote:
Our friend, an architect of the genocide in Darfur

The U.S. sacrifices moral leadership when it cozies up to killers for snippets of counterterrorism information.

By John Prendergast and Don Cheadle
JOHN PRENDERGAST is senior advisor to the International Crisis Group

(www.crisisgroup.org). DON CHEADLE was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in "Hotel Rwanda."

February 14, 2006

IT HAS BEEN 18 months since the United States concluded that genocide was taking place in Darfur. Yet President Bush, the only president to declare an ongoing genocide since the term was coined 50 years ago, has done little to stop this crime against humanity.

Why not? The answer may lie in the complex story of Salah Abdallah Gosh. Gosh isn't exactly a household name, but there are two groups of people for whom his name is exceedingly important: U.S. counterterrorism officials and victims of atrocities in Sudan.

Throughout his career, Gosh has specialized in undertaking spectacular missions beneath the radar screen. From 1990 to 1996, he was Osama bin Laden's main escort while the Al Qaeda leader lived in Sudan, helping him incubate the commercial infrastructure that would finance future terrorist strikes. From 2003 on, he helped plan, organize and execute the vicious counterinsurgency campaign in Darfur in his position as chief of Sudan's security agency.

Such a resume should have put Gosh on trial for terrorism or war crimes. Instead, the CIA has made him one of its favored interlocutors on terrorism, according to U.S. officials, even flying him by private jet to Virginia for a debriefing last year. Further, the United States has pressed the United Nations not to include Gosh on the list of people who should be subject to sanctions, with the expectation that Gosh will continue to provide information about Al Qaeda suspects. Gosh boasted to the L.A. Times last year that Sudan has "a strong partnership with the CIA. The information we have provided has been very useful to the United States."

Counterterrorism exigencies have understandably replaced Cold War calculations as the dominant paradigm for U.S. foreign policy. The moral quandary is omnipresent: Should you make deals with smaller devils to get to the bigger ones? Just as detectives on the street interact with all manner of miscreants to build a case, so too must today's terrorism fighters. But Gosh's sins are too serious to ignore, and they present three stark dilemmas for U.S. policymakers.

First, should someone who masterminded the policy of arming the infamous janjaweed militias to burn the villages of non-Arab ethnic groups be feted and protected by the CIA? At least 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2 million displaced in Darfur in a struggle between the government and rebel groups. There are plenty of canaries out there ready to sing. Gosh should not be allowed to be one of them.

Second, Gosh's story calls into question the U.S. policy of offering incentives, such as the lifting of sanctions, to mass murderers. Although the U.S. has pledged better relations with Sudan, it has been sticks, not carrots, that have produced real movement. The Sudanese government intensified its cooperation on counterterrorism twice in the last decade. The first time was in response to being sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council for facilitating the attempted 1995 assassination of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The second was in the aftermath of 9/11, when there was a credible threat of U.S. military action against the Khartoum regime over its support of terrorism.

Third, Gosh's story highlights the limitations of a counterterrorism policy that sacrifices other critical foreign policy objectives. It is in the interest of the U.S. to do all it can to oppose a regime conducting what Bush has called genocide. But the U.S. has not stood up to Khartoum or taken the lead in deploying a multinational force capable of protecting civilians in Darfur from further rape, murder and starvation.

The African Union force now on duty, with its inadequate troop levels and mandate, should be rehatted as a U.N. mission, with double the forces and a protection mandate. The U.S. has to lead the diplomacy in the U.N. — especially with China and Russia. And the Europeans must pony up more money.

Gosh is the tip of the iceberg of a disturbing policy that undermines U.S. moral leadership in exchange for drivels of information that could be had simply by squeezing Khartoum harder. How many more Darfurian lives must be sacrificed on the altar of expediency?
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:11 PM   #11
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No offense deep, but maybe you could start another thread on that subject so that this one doesn't become some argument/debate about Bush, etc. It is certainly a worthwhile topic but I intended this one to be a celebration of what Joey did. I don't mean to be argumentative or whatever..
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:15 PM   #12
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very cool
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
No offense deep, but maybe you could start another thread on that subject so that this one doesn't become some argument/debate about Bush, etc. It is certainly a worthwhile topic but I intended this one to be a celebration of what Joey did. I don't mean to be argumentative or whatever..
this is about what he did

and about Darfur

I think everyone will support his donation


but if we care really care about Darfur can we support keeping these corrupt people in power?
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:24 PM   #14
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I just don't want this thread to get nasty or something, that's all. It has happened to so many threads I have started here in an attempt to celebrate something positive, only to have them sidetracked and even closed as a result. We can have debates/discussions about many topics, but I find it nice once in a while to just acknowledge some good that exists in this world.
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:31 PM   #15
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Re: Olympic Speed Skating Gold Medalist Donates Bonus To Children In Darfur

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


Cheek challenged his sponsors to match his donation. He plans to visit the Darfur region, where some 180,000 people have died and 2 million forced to flee in a bitter conflict, and see how his money is helping.
"

Cheek brought the mass killings up.


I don't see anyone side tracking this.

Genocide is happening? These are real people dying.
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:33 PM   #16
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Yes I understand that deep, I know about the genocide, the rapes, the horror of what is happening there.

Nevermind, forget it
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Old 02-14-2006, 02:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Yes I understand that deep, I know about the genocide, the rapes, the horror of what is happening there.

Nevermind, forget it
Come on, now. It was clear that even through Cheek mentioned genocide, he really was talking about GWB policies regarding Gosh (even though most have never heard of him before).

What other angles can we shoehorn into this thread?
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Old 02-14-2006, 03:32 PM   #18
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Please, no politics in this thread.
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:13 PM   #19
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Well done. So nice to see someone giving back.
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Old 02-14-2006, 08:14 PM   #20
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WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
For Cheek, Gold Is the Gift That Keeps On Giving

American speedskater wins men's 500-meter race, then says he will donate his $25,000 USOC bonus to charity

By Bill Shaikin, Times Staff Writer


TURIN, Italy — Gold was on his mind. What good would a gold medal do, after all, when the applause died down?

So, two days before his race, Joey Cheek had coffee with Johann Olav Koss in the Olympic village, an American speedskater and his Norwegian inspiration. Koss won four gold medals in speedskating, then devoted his life to the children of the world.


Cheek did not ask Koss how to win the race. He asked how he could help others if he did.

"He was talking that he wanted to do something big," Koss said. "I was so humbled to meet such a person. The most important race of his life is coming up in a couple days, and he's talking about what he can do to give back."

Cheek did that, within minutes after he'd won the men's 500-meter race Monday. He announced that he would donate $25,000 so that children in African refugee camps might have a chance to play sports.

"For me to walk away with a gold medal is amazing," Cheek said, "and the best way to say thanks that I can think of is to help somebody else."

The $25,000 represents the prize awarded by the U.S. Olympic Committee to all gold medalists. Cheek donated his to Right to Play, the organization led by Koss that provides recreation programs to underprivileged children in 20 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Cheek, citing the U.S. government's finding of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, said he wanted to sponsor programs for what he said were 60,000 children forced into neighboring Chad. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) wrote last week in the Baltimore Sun that more than 2 million people had been displaced from Darfur over the last two years.

Cheek, who lives in Park City, Utah, also said he would ask his sponsors — Nike and Oakley — and "all of the Olympic sponsors that give hundreds of millions of dollars" to match his donation. And, if he wins the 1,000 meters on Saturday, he said he would donate that $25,000 as well.

In the traditional post-competition news conference, gold medalists generally describe the thrill of victory and the agony of previous defeats. But Cheek would not address that lighter side until he had made his announcement, well aware that the world might never again pay attention to him.

"I can take the time to gush about how wonderful I feel," he said, "or I can use it for something productive."

In a sport in which every hundredth of a second can be critical, Cheek won with almost laughable ease. He skated each of the two heats in under 35 seconds. No other skater has done so even once.

The margin between Cheek and silver medalist Dmitry Dorofeyev of Russia — 65 hundredths of a second — was greater than the margin between Dorofeyev and the ninth-place finisher.

"I don't know how I skated that fast," Cheek said.

After the first heat, his lead was so commanding that, he said, "I knew I had to not screw up and I would win."

Kang-Seok Lee of South Korea won the bronze medal.

American Casey FitzRandolph, who won gold in Salt Lake City, finished 12th, doomed by the momentary slip of a skate.

"It was my own fault," FitzRandolph said. "I caught the outside edge, and my day was over. That's sprinting for you."

Still, Cheek's victory gave the U.S. consecutive gold medals at 500 meters, last accomplished by West Germany in 1968 and 1972.

Cheek won bronze at Salt Lake City and won the world sprint championship last month, so in no way was his performance an upset. But no matter how good the cause, you could tempt fate by talking about what you might do when you win.

"A little risky, don't you think?" he said with a smile. "I just wanted to be prepared if the stars aligned. God blessed me."

His mother, Chris, said she had no idea her son would make such an announcement. His girlfriend, Eleanor Collins, said he had talked about working with Right to Play, but nothing specific.


"I just assumed it would be more like speaking engagements or volunteering his time," she said. "This is great."

And, when the two men met for coffee, Koss said he wasn't sure quite what Cheek meant by "something big." When a reporter called Monday night and told him the size of the donation, Koss sounded so stunned he had to repeat the figure to believe it.

"Was it $25,000? That's amazing," Koss said. "That's totally fantastic.

"He's an Olympic speedskater. He doesn't make money. This is absolutely incredible."


Background on U.S. speedskater Joey Cheek, who won the gold medal in the men's 500-meter race Monday.

• Age: 26 (date of birth: June 22, 1979)

• Place of birth: Greensboro, N.C.

• Career: Began speedskating in 1995, started to focus on sprint racing in 2000.

PREVIOUS OLYMPICS



• Bronze: in 1,000, Salt Lake City, 2002.

• Fourth: in 1,500, Salt Lake City, 2002.

• Sixth: in 500, Salt Lake City, 2002.

WORLD CUP

• Current rank: Second.

• Bronze: in 1,000 at World Single Distance Championships, Berlin, 2003.



• Bronze: in 1,500 at World Single Distance Championships, Berlin, 2003.

• Gold: in sprint combination at World Sprint Championships, Heerenveen, 2006.

MEDAL WINNERS

MEN'S 500 METERS

GOLD

• Joey Cheek, Greensboro, N.C.

SILVER

• Dmitry Dorofeyev, Russia

BRONZE

• Kang-Seok Lee, South Korea




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I can think of no better person for Valentine's Day than Joey Cheek!

Instead of taking his biggest moment in the spotlight for himself, he turned that moment around and spoke from his heart about the current situation in Darfur, especially the children of Darfur, and then goes one step further by not only donating his Olympic winnings to build a school for the children of Darfur but challenges the corporations who have sponsored him to join in the project and match his own contribution!


PURE BRILLIANCE !


Almost sounds like Bono's RED Campaign.


An amazing and inspirational man - and an example for us all to follow.


What a wonderful way to celebrate the true meaning of St. Valentine's Day!


Joey Cheek -
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