The ad is okay. It is a stretch to say that democracy is spreading like a sunrise. We do have two other nations in the Olympic Family who are what they are. But, look at things a little bit further into history.
In 1976 South Africa was not permitted to send its athletes to the Olympics. Meanwhile, a young swimmer, Jonty Skinner, held the world record in the 100-free -- establishing the new mark in Phili of all place. Since I'm name dropping on the blog, Skinner's book, Tide Teamwork, was the first book I published. Now, South Africa's conditions are different. Plus, the men's 400 freestyle relay from South Africa is second to none. And, South Africa might be hosting the Olympics in the near future.
I think it is fair to celebrate the arrival of athletes into the Olympic Games -- from all the corners of the world where there are some serious hurdles for participation.
Should that celebration be part of a political advertisement is a good topic for debate among those with little else to worry about -- or -- for those of those nations mentioned. So, it is fair ground to ask the athletes from Iraq and Afganastan what they think about the add. But, humanity and sports questions should come first.
Not many words would need to change to get that ad positioned for Pittsburgh. In 1972 there were 40 democracies in the world. Well, we could turn back the clock in Pittsburgh and say there were 600,000 residents. Today we are half of what we were.
Then you could say, in 2003, Pitsburgh had 19 recreation centers. Today there are none. (whatever the number is as this is a moving target) And, in 2003 there were 32 swim pools in Pittsburgh, in the summer of 2004 we had 15. Mayor Murphy, we hired you to operate our facilites and manage our shared spaces. You shuttered them. Our chance for hope isn't re-opening Lord & Tayor nor Lazarus -- but working with communities, parks, parents, coaches and kids --- to make better lives for us all.