OPEN LETTER: Equality in Broadcasting the Olympic Games

Subject: OPEN LETTER: Equality in Broadcasting the Olympic Games
From: Stephanie Olivia Duval
Date: 17 Aug 2016

Mr. Thomas Bach
President of the International Olympic Committee

Dear Mr. Bach

My name is Stephanie Olivia Duval and I am from Seychelles, an archipelago of a little of over a 100 small islands with a population of less than 100,000. Seychelles has been participating in the Summer Olympic Games since 1980. Our athletes have never won any medals but we are a nation that loves sports and our nations dream is to see one of our athlete one day stand on the podium at the Olympic Games.

I have been watching the Olympic Games on TV for as long as I can possibly remember and I am passionate about sports and the Olympics.

I write to you to express my sentiments about how the Olympic Games are aired by the media.
Being someone that has worked with our local athletes, where I have taught them during countless sessions about the Olympic Values and the Olympic Movement, We often talk about equality, Equal participation of men and women, and global representation. That is absolutely wonderful but I have learned during the last few months through some really incredible people from all over the world that equality comes only after equity has been achieved. So, as everyone will be fast to celebrate equality and global representation at the Rio 2016 Games let us keep in mind that not all athletes will be given the same attention by the media. For most of them, the world will not even get a glimpse of them.

I am aware that TV rights are sold and there are only some Broadcasting Networks that can afford such. It is in this context that I want to say how disappointed I am, big networks are only interested with big stars and people with stories that are exceptional. But what about us, the small countries, with a small delegation and no exceptional stories, don’t we have the same right to watch and cheer our athletes even if they do not have a chance of medalling? Isn’t the most important thing in the Olympic Games is taking part rather than winning? That is exactly what most athletes come to the Games to do; Medal winning chances are slim for most participants because to be fair if I may point out, not all athletes has access to high quality training, endless funding and have the luxury of training with the best coaches in the world. Most of them have to make do with what they get and have. But that does not make them any less of a participant than the elites. Of course we love watching elite athletes, because they inspire us to go further, push harder and not give up. I get that super star athletes attracts more viewers for networks and that is why they are being focused on more, but please think about the rest of the athletes at the games, they are also part of the games and they help make the games incredible.

These athletes are our friends, our families, our loved ones and above all, our people. We want to be able to see them on TV even if it’s for 1 second, because at the end of the day they are our local stars and local kids look up to them. For most of these athletes there fans cannot travel to the Games to see them live in action, So please Mr. President, when rights are being sold to networks, let them be aware that every country being represented are important and we help make the games universal.

I know how daunting it is to make oneself be noticed when participating in an event with a lot of people coming from developed and bigger countries and I know it takes a special energy to get noticed and that is why I wish the broadcasting of the Games to be more than just about the Stars.

Thank you for reading my letter.

Sincerely

Stephanie

c_stephd@hotmail.com

• IOA 2012 Youth Session Participant – Olympia, Greece
• UNOSDP Youth Leadership Programme’s International Sport and Social Summit 2016 Alumni- Florida, USA
• Member – Seychelles Women and Sports Association
• Volunteer – National Olympic Academy of Seychelles
• Miss Seychelles Petite 2016

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