Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stitch a Flag for Team USA

Raise a flag, wave a flag for Flag Day. Credit: braveheartsports
A month's worth of groceries for an athlete: 15 stitches. A full set of weights: 1,600 stitches. Starting blocks for the USA Swimming Team: 125 stitches. A month of prepared meals for an athlete: 40 stitches. The stitches aren't priceless as the Mastercard commercial might suggest, but they do help to put a symbolic value on the fundraising needs of Team USA in an Olympics year and make fun, social and virtual. Each stitch costs $12, a small price to pay for helping to weave together an American flag that will accompany the U.S. Olympic Team to London this summer.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) launched this creative fundraising program on April 18, back when the London Games had 100 days until their opening ceremony. Nearly 60 days later, more than 10,000 stitches have been made to Raise Our Flag, which helps equip Team USA with some of its training essentials. When you get as excited as I do for the Olympics--please don't ask me to choose which one I like more, winter or summer, because it's tougher to decide every year--you can't help but love the chance to be more actively involved than simply watching on TV and following the results online.

"The Raise Our Flag campaign gives every American the opportunity to show their support for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams in a meaningful way while having a direct, positive impact on the athletes," said Scott Blackmun, chief executive officer, USOC. "Unlike many of the teams our athletes will compete against in London this summer, the U.S. Olympic Team receives no government funding and our athletes rely on individuals donations and corporate support. This program invites every American to become a member of the team behind the team."

Considering I don't stand a chance of ever qualifying for the Games unless I gained a dual citizenship to a country that needed swimmers or skiers, or I finally try a sport like biathlon or archery and it turns out I'm a natural, I'm digging the opportunity to be a behind-the-scenes team member. I guess you could say I want to be the water girl of Team USA? But anyway, enough about my Olympics dreams.

Here's how Raise Our Flag works:
  • Each stitch costs $12, and you can buy as many or as few stitches as you want.
  • Donate your stitch(es) to the flag by July 12, which you can do online.
  • Every purchased stitch receives a number and is honored on the Raise Our Flag's Donor Wall.
  • Stitches can be dedicated to a friend, family member, Team USA athlete.
  • You can share your stitches through Facebook and Twitter.
  • will feature a running total of all stitches donated, totals of stitches made by U.S. state (California is currently leading the charge with 1,396 stitches), and a library of images and videos featuring Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls.
"The London 2012 Olympic Games are going to be an amazing, memorable event and there is no better time to help connect our great athletes with the fans who support them," said Lisa Baird, chief marketing officer, USOC. Yeah, I'm a fan who believes that, and I'm also a fan who's now wishing she booked tickets for her first trip to London to try to watch the action live or simply be immersed in Olympic fever.

Want more details about Raise Our Flag and Team USA? Check it out here.

Photo grabbed from braveheartsports at

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