Lori Thomas, NAIA Senior Vice President for Membership Services and Character Initiatives, is in Shenzhen, China, for the Federation of International Sports University (FISU) 2011 Summer Universiade…she’s checking in with the NAIA during her stay and sharing a bit of her experience with us. Thanks Lori!
Check-in from China #3: As I sit here this morning getting ready to head to the airport for my return home I am amazed as to what an incredible experience I just had. There are moments when it is indescribable, moments of disbelief.
The facilities Shenzhen built just for the World University Games are many and all of them are incredible. I sat with the USA men’s water polo team yesterday to cheer on the women’s water polo team take on Great Britain to gain advancement to the semi-finals. They won! I then went over to the track and field stadium to watch the finals of high jump and the women’s 400. I took one last trip over to the athlete’s village to see the smiles, the laughter and the joy of so many great athletes from across the world.
Out of the all the competition I saw over the last nine days, one thing I noticed is that all the fans (no matter where they are from) just want to see great competition. They cheer when something good happens for either team and there is no one yelling at the officials or booing athletes.
Signing off from China – humbled and proud.
Check-in from China #2: The FISU conference concludes tonight and I gave my presentation this morning. Most presentations during this conference related to physical education and the overall well-being of youth and college students/athletes. The idea of intentionally teaching character was well-received by everyone with wonderful feedback.
On a side note, I had the opportunity to see the United States basketball team beat Korea by 40 points yesterday and then went over to the natatorium to witness the United Stated swimmers reach gold medals in two events. The USA men’s volleyball team will play this afternoon on the campus of Shenzhen University (where the conference is taking place).
As far as the overall games; roads, lanes on highways and the metro all have “designated lanes” for officials, athletes and staff traveling between venues. It is very smooth to go from one place to another.
I once again can’t speak enough about how wonderful the people are here. I believe my favorite moments are when young children are intrigued by how I look and they want to speak but I usually have to say hello to get them started. A little girl was on the metro last night and once I said hello, she (along with her family) was so excited. Before I got off the metro, I handed her a USA pin and the look on her face was priceless!!
I continue to be humbled……………….
Check-in from China #1: Upon arrival to the country of China, I was first overwhelmed with the amount of people that wanted to help me – 10 people approached me to make sure I was taken care of at any given time. This was the first sign of how proud Shenzhen is to host the 2011 World University Games. Out of 10 million people in the city, 1.2million people are volunteers.
Thousands of volunteers are college students attending Shenzhen University and they are so proud to be a part of this amazing eventThe opening ceremonies were held on Friday evening and every time I begin to think about it – I am speechless. The opportunity to walk with the student-athletes representing the United States was amazing and humbling!
The conference I am attending began yesterday and what I learned very quickly is that it does not matter what country we live in, what culture surrounds us; we all believe that the development of young people, whether psychical or mental, is crucial for the future.
I look forward to sharing the NAIA Way with educators from all over the world on Tuesday morning (Monday night your time) as I will present “Character-Driven Athletics” to approximately 400 people…stay tuned! – Lori Thomas, NAIA Senior Vice President for Membership Services and Character Initiatives, will travel to Shenzhen, China, for the Federation of International Sports University (FISU) 2011 Summer Universiade.
Lori heads to China!
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Summer Universiade, held August 12-23, 2011, is an important international sporting and cultural festival staged every two years. Governed by the FISU, the aim of the Universiade is to promote international peace and cultural exchange among young people through sport.
The word Universiade comes from university and Olympiad, and means Olympic Games for students. The event is only second in importance to the Olympic Games and consists of 12 compulsory sports. The record figures are 7,805 participants in Izmir, Turkey in 2005, and 174 countries in Daegu, Korea in 2003. This year Texas Wesleyan University will have a team competing in Table Tennis.
Thomas serves on the board for the United States – International University Sports Federation responsible for promoting the general objectives of the federation through international university sports competition, international understanding and communication and professional seminars and conferences concerned with international collegiate sports and physical education.
Thomas, who has been nominated to serve on the FISU committee for University Sports Study, will join a distinguished group of presenters during the FISU Conference which will tackle topics relating to the different aspects of sport and physical education. Thomas will present the NAIA’s Champions of Character program and opportunities to advance character-driven athletics.
“This is a tremendous opportunity and honor for Lori,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President & CEO. “She has worked hard and I am happy that she can share her knowledge on the world stage. Lori is a wonderful advocate not only for the NAIA but college sports in general and we are extremely proud of her and wish her well during her time in Shenzhen.”
Following the conference, Thomas will serve on the United States staff during competition for the 2011 Summer Universiade. Numerous Olympic Games athletes have participated in Universiades and the events share much in common – the communal Village, a Games Mascot, sporting conferences and cultural festivals that take place while the games are in progress. Thomas will join the nearly 500 United States athletes for the opening and closing ceremony.
“I am excited and honored to represent the United States, the US-IUSF board and the NAIA at the 2011 Summer Universiade,” Thomas said. “This is a huge honor and I recognize that such a task is a tremendous privilege. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to talk about the NAIA’s commitment to advancing character-driven athletics to people all over the world.”
To learn more about the 2011 Summer Universiade visit http://www.sz2011.org/.
Photos: The official website of the Universiade 2011, www.sz2011.org.