Saturday, February 2, 2008

Jim Parrish is in the Chattanooga Olympic Zone on Tuesday, February 5th

When I retired from competitve canoeing after the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens, there were a few things I was sure that I would NOT miss:
  • Freezing rain-filled winter workouts on the Ocoee River
  • Travelling on long, crowded flights with fragile racing canoes in tow
  • The "shadow" of performance enhancing drugs that is cast upon the Olympic Movement
While I still do not miss any of these points, I feel for the thousands of "Drug-Free" U.S. Olympic-hopefuls preparing for the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer. Performance enhancing drugs are THE "Top of Mind" issue heading towards Beijing and the constant media coverage of denials/admissions from past Olympic stars and Capital Hill hearings all take an emotional toll on our young athletes trying to represent the U.S. with pride and dignity.

But there are good people in the Olympic movement who believe this is an issue in which we can not be wrong and can not give up. Such people raise standards and offer hope. I met one of them recently - Chattanoogan Jim Parrish produced all of the drug testing kits for the U.S. Olympic Committee between 1992-1998 and is the subject of our newest profile in the "Chattanooga Olympic Zone."

When you first meet Jim, you immediately feel a sense of honor, decency, and clarity about him. He comes across very balanced, purposeful in his thought, and values health and wellness in his own life. He works out at Chattanooga's Sports Barn five mornings each week, which is an important part of his "can-do" approach and outlook to living well.

In our conversations, the complexities of performance enhancing drug issues became less complex - as in, "why is choosing to do the right thing so difficult?" For Jim, it isn't and he is resolute in his belief that the Olympic movement is already heading in a better direction.

In the time we spent together for this story, I began to think about the many dedicated people that support the U.S. Olympic Team, its values, and traditions. While such individuals want to be a part of a winning team, I believe they really want to a support a clean and honest process that is capable of producing victories for which we can all be proud. The athletes who will make up Team USA this summer at the Olympics Games in Beijing need these supporters more than ever before - supporters like Jim Parrish.

1 comment:

richard said...

great story;very inspiring