October 24, 2005

We're Slicker Than You

Late last week I received the latest issue of the Olympians Canada newsletter in the mail. That's the first time I've been sent a hard copy, and the eight-page bilingual foldout was noticeably slicker than previous issues. I scanned it through once before I noticed the subtitle: The Most Exclusive Club in the Nation.

Olympians Canada newsletter, Vol. 2, Issue 3

In case you don't know — and I am guessing that most of you poor excluded sods do not — Olympians Canada is sort of the COC's alumni organization for Olympic athletes. In the interests of full disclosure, I should admit that I have played a small role in (unsuccessfully, so far) trying to get the local chapter of this organization off the ground. The obnoxious slogan, however, is new.

Leaving aside the dubious factual basis for the claim (fact: Canada sent more than a thousand athletes to just the five summer Olympics between 1988 and 2004), this is simply very bad P.R. Now, I know that Olympians Canada is a very athlete-centred organization, and of course I understand that Olympic athletes love being reminded how special they are. (Otherwise, I wouldn't have mentioned it, would I?) But even if public outreach is not your primary mission, is this really the best way to keep the "Olympic spirit" alive? Hello there, I'm an Olympic athlete, and you're not, eh?

Just for fun, I did a Google search for other groups that might lay claim to the title of "most exclusive club in the nation". Of course, a really exclusive club would probably not be boasting about their exclusivity on the internet, but I was curious more about the perception than the fact. My search turned up three unique hits, all of them referring to a single body: the 100 elected representatives of the US Senate.

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