Entries in Athletics (3)


American Indian Olympian

Billy Mills and Adam Bad Wound

Tonight I joined people from across the world for the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXX Olympiad. With absolute delight, I gazed in awe of the athletic luminaries of our generation, as they celebrated one another, as resilient individuals, from sovereign nations, and as a global affirmation of the human spirit.

I love the Olympics! And well done, London!

The Parade of Nations is always a real life lesson in geography, politics, nationalities, and languages, among many other noticeable observations of global diversity. As I watched one country after the next, I felt proud to be an American and proud to be an American Indian. Even from my tribe, the Olympics always make me think of my most significant Olympic hero, Billy Mills.

Billy Mills, also known by his warrior name, Makata Taka Hela, is the second American Indian to win an Olympic gold medal after the other Lakota Olympic hero and the first American Indian gold medalist,  Jim Thorpe. Billy accomplished this feat in the 10,000 meter run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, becoming the only American ever to win the Olympic gold in this event. His 1964 victory is considered one of the greatest of Olympic upsets. A former United States Marine, he’s a member of my tribe, the Oglala Lakota Sioux.

In 2005, I was honored to meet Billy Mills as a supporter of his nonprofit organization, Running Strong for American Indian Youth. As a member of Team Running Strong, I ran the U.S. Marine Corps Marathon to raise money in support his important mission: to help American Indian people meet their immediate survival needs – food, water, and shelter – while implementing and supporting programs designed to create opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-esteem.

Meeting him and running the marathon were both moments that I will never forget. In the end, we were featured together in a Washington Post article, Olympic Legend Billy Mills: One Man Is Still Going the Distance for Two Nations.

As a living Lakota legend, Billy Mills continues to share his message of triumph and courage. Checkout this Human Highlight Reel from the Running Strong website:


I Support Sustainable Sports

Tonight, as a member of the environment circle at Full Circle Fund, I met Jill Savery, Head of Sustainability at America's Cup Event Authority. Jill is a Bay Area native, author, Olympic gold-medalist, and inductee of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. She spoke to us about the sustainability plan for the 34th America’s Cup, which will be in San Francisco next summer (2013).

(L) Melanie Nutter, Director, San Francisco Department of Environment, (R) Jill Savery, Head of Sustainability, America's Cup Event AuthorityJill explained to us how sustainability planning for an event differs from sustainability planning for the ongoing operations of a commercial enterprise, institution or community. For example, unlike a business, an event takes place in a finite and short time period, and planning can involve considering potential impacts of an event with little or no useful historical data to reference.

The America’s Cup has never been held in San Francisco or so close to shore, so organizers must predict factors such as the number of spectators that might attend, transportation requirements, and quantities of waste generated.

The Sustainability Plan provides information on how the event delivery organizations intend to achieve sustainability objectives. The following five sustainability themes provide focus for the event management:

  • Energy and Emissions
  • Resource Efficiency
  • Natural Habitats and Wildlife
  • Inclusion
  • Engagement

For the America’s Cup Event Authority, sustainability means optimizing the social, economic and environmental impacts of our activities in delivering the 34th America’s Cup, to enrich the communities we visit and protect natural ecosystems.

Healthy Oceans Project

Jill further explained while there are numerous issues affecting ocean health, the America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project will highlight the following three areas where the project partners believe its stakeholders can have a significant direct impact:

  • the establishment of marine protected areas as reserves of marine biodiversity;
  • the reduction of the amount of plastic debris going into the ocean; and,
  • increasing consumer demand for sustainable sea life (sustainable seafood).

The America’s Cup Sustainability Plan was developed by the America’s Cup Event Authority, in consultation with the San Francisco Department of the Environment, various City Departments, the America’s Cup Organizing Committee, and other relevant event delivery partners, for the events taking place in San Francisco.

You can download the plan to learn more!

As a member of the board of directors of the Educational Tall Ship Project, I am getting excited for this event as an opportunity to promote the health of our oceans, a thrilling connection to the natural world, and a friendly international competition in my community.


Giving with Game

My friends over at the One Percent Foundation are constantly coming up with good ideas. This time, they’ve found a way to mix good + games + grants.

Grant Madness 2012

Join us for FREE beer, basketball, and music on Sunday, March 11 from 1-4 PM at WIX Lounge in San Francisco.

Donors that sign up for Grant Madness (in advance or at the event) are entered into a raffle to win fun prizes courtesy of WIX Lounge, ScoutMob, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Fundly!