Thursday, October 11, 2007

Torch Bearers

The Olympic Torch, from Dick Tricks

That was just to catch your attention. Probably not too wise to try it at home. Unless you really, really want to. In which case, stop reading here because you're probably too dumb to be trusted with a vote, even one that just has to do with a promotional contest to pick three 'new thinkers' to participate in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay. For the rest of you here's the scoop...

Which New Thinkers Should Carry the Torch?

From among 6,000 entries Lenovo - PC maker and Beijing Olympic relay torch designer - selected 18 people from 8 countries who they determined exemplified a 'new thinker,' i.e., someone who 'finds creative solutions to bring about global change.' As a big corporation, Lenovo was required to develop catch phrases to further convey what the hell they mean by that. Specifically, new thinkers:

  • Inspire the community to achieve goals and conquer obstacles
  • Disregard traditional boundaries in carrying out difficult endeavors
  • Think 'outside the box' of national and cultural limitations
  • Demonstrate independence in both thoughts and actions
  • Seek new ways of doing and achieving

It's now up to the public to whittle the finalists down to three winners. Of course, originally there were supposed to be 20 finalists and there are only 18. And the voting was supposed to open yesterday and it didn't open until today. But that doesn't necessarily mean Lenovo doesn't have its act together on all this. Or maybe it does. But, whatever, the voting website is up now so I can finally post about it. (The suspense has been killing me.)

For purposes of the popular vote finalists created short videos around the theme, 'As a New Thinker, how would you run the torch relay?' Rumor has it finalists were given only 24 hours to create their videos. Having watched all 18, I can say that it really shows. While the quality and content is highly variable - clearly some contestants have better video equipment and editing skills than others - none of the videos totally blew me away. But most did at least keep me interested for their full 30-second run time.

After thorough review of all contestants and much consideration (or not - this isn't exactly the Presidency I'm voting on here), I picked my three...

#1: Dariusz Slowik. The dude throws washing machines! Sure, other videos were more polished, but this guy struck me as genuine. Mind you I'm a terrible judge of character so no guarantees on that, but I'm sticking with my initial gut feeling. (Though I do wonder why he needs a free trip if he's competing in the Olympics himself. Is Canada so poor they can't send him?)

#2: I had to go with one of the teachers (Linda Bilak, Rodney Johnson, Thales Ma, Deborah Williamson) because teachers never get enough respect for the tough yet important job they do. Out of fairness, I decided to pull a name out of a hat. But I didn't have a hat so I just picked Linda Bilak because she teaches español.

#3: Tough decision. It was a toss up between Rajib Maitra who's going to save all the starving kids in India; Mateus Laurito Del Conte based on sympathy vote and my huge weakness for Latinos (defined broadly to include Brazilians); and Lisa Ely because she can walk on water (almost). I went with Lisa Ely because she's so peppy she could probably run the whole torch relay by herself.

You can either just second my votes or check out all the videos (alternate link) and decide for yourself. Voting ends October 24th.

The Finalists, by Country
Argentina -- Diana Mondino **
Brazil -- Mateus Laurito Del Conte **
Brazil -- Thales Ma
Canada --
Dariusz Slowik
Canada --
David Porteous
Canada -- Erin Roy **
Germany --
David Kamanda Ngugi
Germany -- Jessica Kurz
India -- Rajib Maitra
Italy -- Valentino Stabile
Japan -- Miyuki Saito
Japan -- Rodney Johnson
US -- Amy Elizabeth Coffey

US -- Carissa Beatty
US -- Deborah Williamson
US --
Kimi Puntillo
US -- Linda Bilak
US -- Lisa Ely

(I'll add more links if I find them. I mean, everyone has a website these days, right?)

Update: The winners were selected and are marked with **


Meloncutter said...

Right after reading this. I am going in and shaving the nether reigons. I do not want the spouse to stumble across this and get any ideas.


Later Y'all.

A fan! said...

Vote for Carissa Beatty! Her video is excellent!

Lisa Ely said...

Wow! Thank you so much for your vote!! I am peppy, outgoing, enthusiastic and try to have a lot of fun with everything I do!! And you are right about the short amount of time to create the videos. We were sent an email Friday and had to have the :30 clips turned in by midnight (ET) Sunday. It's been a lot of fun being part of this. If you have any suggestions on where else to go to try to BEG for votes please let me know!
Lisa Ely

Anonymous said...

Hi There - Thanks for taking the time to comment on the Olympic Torch Relay this is an amazing event! I would liek to share an aspect of my bid to run with you.

If chosen to win I would like to dedicate my relay run to my uncle Robert Plunkett. Constable Robert Plunkett, an Ontario Officer with York Region Police Services, was a leader in both the community and to the Special Olympics organization. Constable Plunkett was involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for over 15 years and the 1997 World Winter Games. Through his long standing support of our organization he also served as the Chairman for the 2000 Special Olympics Ontario Provincial Games. Through his leadership over $1 million was raised for the Special Olympic Games. In addition, as a result of his devotion and support the Law Enforcement Torch Run has grown significantly in Ontario raising funds and awareness for athletes with an intellectual disability.

> My uncle Rob was killed in the line of duty on August 2, 2007, while making an arrest in conjunction with an automobile air-bag theft. Rob is an inspiration to myself, my family and the community. I would like to honour his legacy with this once in a lifetime chance to carry the Olympic torch.

I hope this story can become more widely known. Rob was an outstanding indivdual!

My Best, Erin Roy, CANADA

Carissa Beatty said...

Hey all!
To be chosen among a field of such interesting and impressive people is an honor in itself. I'm a 25 year old student, so I consider myself an up-and-coming new thinker. I am studying Public Health in an effort to make an impact on health care on a broad scale (politics aside, I believe the way heath care is delivered can be made much more efficient and effective)..

I have to agree with Lisa, coming up with a creative video concept over ONE weekend was definitely a challenge, and the quality of videos varied based on what resources people had available! Best of luck to everyone in the contest!

Anonymous said...

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