Last weekend was the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Cup event in Huatulco, Mexico. It was a well run event in a beautiful resort city on the south western coast of Mexico. This was the last Team ITU event for 2012 and many of the team members were racing to secure London Olympic starting line spots.
This program was designed to align with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Solidarity Mission and World Program. One of the goals that the IOC program is aiming for is to organize assistance so those with the greatest needs can gain autonomy. While autonomy is one goal, a fantastic result of the way ITU leadership has organized their particular program is unity.
What I mean by unity is that athletes from different countries, and regions, around the world are united through Team ITU. Athletes (and coaches) in the program support each other in ways that would be impossible if it weren’t for past team events and coaching programs. Of course I could talk about accomplishments in hard numbers (which I’ll likely do at some point) but what I want to emphasize is the intangible results of global programs like this one.
- A better understanding for different cultures
- A desire to learn about other countries and lifestyles
- The willingness to help others on the team, though their homes may be half a world away (including sharing of equipment and tips for success)
- The open arms of “once Team ITU, always Team ITU”– so past team members feel welcome and part of the team
- Shared happiness for the success of others and shared disappointment as well
I could go on and on with examples.
When I was on the flight home reflecting on the trip, I wondered if solidarity programs like this one can help unite a world divided by autonomy? While autonomy is a goal, and a good one, I think if you read between the lines of IOC solidarity framework that there is also a goal of unity.
Kudos to ITU leadership for designing a program that helps people be both autonomous and united at the same time.
If only world leaders could accomplish the same.
(More photos are available on my Facebook pages.)