(When music, sports and good causes meet it's bound to be a good time; and our friend Laura Ferreiro from Music For Goodhad a quick take on this weekend’s Paralympics closing ceremonies’ featured performer...)
The London 2012 Paralympic Games are winding down, and this year’s games have hosted the greatest number of athletes since the event kicked off in Rome back in 1960.
As a culmination of the nearly two weeks of competition in sports including cycling, swimming, sailing and archery by athletes who have a range of physical disabilities, Coldplay will perform at the game’s closing ceremonies on September 9 at London’s Olympic Stadium.
"Being asked to play at the closing celebrations for the Paralympic athletes in London is such a great honor for us,” Coldplay singer Chris Martin said in a statement. “Kim Gavin and Misty Buckley are working hard to put on a spectacular Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony for the athletes and spectators in the stadium, and everyone watching around the world, and we are so happy to be involved."
What’s more, Rihanna will reportedly join Coldplay on stage to perform “Princess of China,” a song featuring the pop star on Coldplay’s most recent album, “Mylo Xyloto.” She’s been spotted at “secret” rehearsals” in London leading up to the big event.
The closing ceremony is titled “Festival of Flame,” and several details are being kept top secret. However, it has been announced that Coldplay’s hit “Viva La Vida” will be played simultaneously by several musicians at outdoor venues across the United Kingdom on the day of the closing ceremonies.
Interestingly enough, Coldplay was also asked to perform at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, but declined in favor of playing at the Paralympic Games.
Coldplay is no stranger to supporting great causes. The British band has actively supported Oxfam for several years, advocating for issues including making trade fair to end injustices against poor farmers, and Oxfam’s Hope for Haiti Appeal, calling for funds to help those affected by the country’s severe 2010 earthquake. They also are huge supporters of Amnesty International and worked with Mercy Corps on a benefit album to provide aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Laura Ferreiro is the founder of Music for Good (http://musicforgood.tv/), which promotes the connections between musicians and the good causes they care about most.
Social Enterprise is an emerging field and one that we believe can have a tremendous impact on the sports and social change landscape. Simply put, a Social Enterprise (AKA "Social Entrepreneurship" to some) is loosely defined as using business practices to address social issues. Within our own sports industry, there are several companies effectively using social enterprise strategies including Senda Athletics, One World Futbol, Janji and others who have found ways to use sports business to drive change.
And next week, we have the unique opportunity to lead the conversation in the sports and entertainment community at the Social Enterprise Alliance Western Regional Summit, Thurs Sept 13-14 in Los Angeles.This event is co-hosted by SEA Los Angeles, San Francisco & Denver Chapters and features nearly two dozen workshops, panels and presentations, plus site visits and conversations with some leading social entrepreneurs.
We'll be moderating the "Media/Arts/Entertainment" breakout session and will explore how the arts and entertainment community is combining Social Enterprise practices and strategies with digital media tools to drive change through music, sports, film, theater, photography and art. Joining me will be some very smart folks from the entertainment and Social Enterprise space in Los Angeles: Bridget Hilton of LSTN Headphones, Chris Brereton of PictureHealing and Filmmaker Holly Mosher.
This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in the Social Enterprise space to learn the ins and outs of business models, funding strategies and resources, and best practices from visionaries such as Jim Fruchterman (Benetech), Mike Hannigan (Give Something Back) and Carla Javits (REDF) who will share their strategies for success in keynote presentations.
- that which cannot be stopped or surpassed; unbeatable:
The team at Black Train Films chose this as their theme when profiling and following several Paralympic athletes on their journey to London for the 2012 Paralympic Summer Games. Here's one of their clips, which introduces Juanjo Mendez, a Spaniard who will be competing in Track Cycling at the games...
This short film follows one of our main characters, Juanjo Méndez, on his victorious day at the Spanish Cycling Championships in Majorca this year, which was just one step in his journey to the 2012 London Paralympics. We also get to know Juanjo, hear his inspiring story and find out how he overcame his challenges to become a real unstoppable.
The Olympic flame in London is out and the summer games are closed. So many great stories and moments over 17 days that it's hard to wrap it all up in a few paragraphs.
I've spent the past week digging a little deeper to find some of the "stories behind the stories" of these games that showcase how sports can drive change - on a personal level, a national level and even a global scale. Some are about athletes that were heavily featured on the broadcast coverage, while others flew a bit more under the radar. But in all, these were "glorious and happy games" as IOC President Jacque Rogge said. Hopefully, that spirit will carry on for years to come...
"Inspire a Generation" was the theme of the London 2012 games. Perhaps no one personified that more than Oscar Pistorius. He broke barriers, showed what was possible and represented his country with ultimate class and sportsmanship. And hopefully, he's opened everyone's eyes to what the Paralympic movement and adaptive sports are all about. The Paralympic Games start on Aug 29th and this could be the sea change moment to bring adaptive/disabled sports into the public eye.
Without question, these were historic games simply for the fact that for the first time, every competing nation sent female athletes. For Team USA, the women out-numbered the men, also a first. And the successes speak for themselves: The women of Team USA took home more Gold medals than the men. Team sports victories in Soccer, Water Polo and Gymnastics, and individual medals in Boxing, Judo, Fencing, Cycling, Rowing and Tennis well outclassed their male teammates. And a new World Record by the Women's 4 x 100 Relay team on the final weekend put a nice cap on the overall accomplishments of women at these games.
UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke noted “There were a number of notable occasions and initiatives before and during these 17 days of competition that contributed to the legacy that these Games will have in the long run. In particular, the inclusion of female athletes in all delegations, including Saudi Arabia, will help change mentalities and is a very encouraging step in the fight for gender equality and women’s empowerment in and through sport.”
At the same time, there were still moments where athletic achievement took a back seat to the stereotypical "guys like to watch hot chicks" mentality which put NBC in a bit of a bind. Athletes are often beautiful people, with well crafted physiques. However, the Olympics are a chance to showcase abilities rather than "attributes," and for women's sports to truly be viewed on par with men's, we as a viewing public - and those who feed us the content - have to get past this.
With the Paralympic Games only a few days away, this ad from the Canadian Paralympic Committee gives some perspective on what many of these athletes have gone through to get to London. The clips shows a runner with a prosthetic leg as he sprints through the challenges he's had to overcome, through physiotherapy, surgery, back to the horrible traffic crash that injured him. He is truly, "unstoppable."