2009 Program News

9/14/09: Speakers Embody the Mission of ICECP at Opening Ceremony

BridgewaterSeveral speakers from the USOC, the University of Delaware and a participant from this year’s program helped welcome the 2009 participants, thank everyone involved and establish the mission of ICECP at the opening ceremony Monday afternoon.

Speakers included Annie Grabarsky, project manager from the USOC, Dr. Patrick Harker, president of the University of Delaware, Dr. Matthew Robinson, UDel director of ICECP, Oscar Moreno, 2009 program mentor and Patricio Bridgewater, 2009 participant.

Each speaker commended the effort that the participants were making in joining the program. It is a huge undertaking to travel around the world and go through the intense course load, program schedule and projects that this endeavor involves.

President Harker welcomed the participants to the University and said, “Even though you’ll only be here for two weeks, after you leave here, you will be Blue Hens for life.”

Dr. Robinson noted the position these coaches were in to better themselves and the sport structures in their countries. The lessons they learn during ICECP and the projects they develop can be used to improve performance, structure and programming within their sport.

“The program doesn’t end when you go home in October,” Robinson said. “Actually, that’s when it starts. That’s when you begin implementing your projects.”

Moreno seconded that point. A Salvadorian national swim coach and 2008 program graduate, Moreno spent the first three days of the program interacting with the coaches, orienting them to the program, answering questions and explaining project planning.

He presented his ICECP project earlier in the day, which involved talent identification of swimmers in El Salvador. “My goal was to identify and train 100 swimmers by 2012. So far, I have 11. So the work has just begun,” Moreno said.

The 2009 participants were also addressed by one of their own. Bridgewater, the national volleyball team head coach in Curacao, embodied the mission of ICECP perfectly with two points in his speech.

ICECP is not just about international coaches coming to the US and learning the “American way” of coaching. It is a chance for an exchange of information, technique and tactics between the participants, as well as learning and interaction with subject experts.

“If you and I each have an orange, and we exchange oranges, we both still have one orange,” Bridgewater said. “But if you and I have an idea, and we exchange ideas, now we both have two ideas.”

The program also serves to enhance international relations through sport, and this fact was noted by Bridgewater.

“I don’t understand how we can have so much hate and violence in the world, when coaches from 27 countries can come here and on the first day, be friends.”

The camaraderie among the participants is obvious. They are sure to leave the US with new information, techniques, coaching plans and friends.