(I’ve done quick modifications but this article may not perfectly reflect the post-edit version which went up on Technorati first here. Thanks, editors! I’m new to “journalism” and the praise felt great!)

Panasonic is using a blog called “One Winter, Five Dreams” as part of its 2010 Winter Olympics sponsorship efforts. By focusing on lesser-known athletes who overcame various personal obstacles just to participate at all, this blog presents a human component to the Olympics that is usually drowned out by media attention on international rivalry, the big stars, and the future¬† multi-million endorsement deals at stake for the more famous athletes. These are the kinds of stories that make for a compelling human drama:

  • Robel Teklemariam, a cross-country skier from Ethiopia and his trials and tribulations as he trains in Switzerland during a cold snap.
  • Katharine Eustace, a women’s skeleton racer from New Zealand having a video debate with herself on whether boiling an egg in a kettle is inappropriate as she eats before a race on a tight budget and in sparse accommodations.
  • Kazuhiro Koshi, a men’s skeleton racer from Japan racing in -16C (3.2 degrees Fahrenheit) weather in Germany, chilling his 44-year old frame and contributing to an 18th place finish.
  • Tugba Karademir, a ladies’ figure skater from Turkey whose parents were not given tickets to attend the Games until a corporation stepped up to the plate to donate some after an article in the Globe and Mail about her plight. Here, she responds to sympathetic fan comments about how the matter should never have come to this point.
  • Clyde Getty, a freestyle skier from Argentina, originally from the U.S., who apologized for initially blaming the China Ski Federation for not arranging a visa for him to enter China to compete, having simply misunderstood the process; China, not the ski federation thereof, gives out the visa, and had to be dealt with directly. He thanks all those who worked hard to make him able to compete.

Beyond bringing these touching human stories to the public, Panasonic is further encouraging public support of the athletes with its “Gold Blogger” program: the person supporting athletes through this site who does the most to promote the blog through social media will present messages of support to the athletes, in person, all expenses paid. This is icing on the cake; connecting the athletes with the public through blogging is itself a wonderful and timely idea. After all, these athletes are the true soul of the Olympics: individuals battling all odds to compete for the love of their sports.

May others follow¬† their – and Panasonic’s – examples.