July 21, 2012

UPU’s 41st International Letter-Writing Competition

Greek boy's letter to Roger Federer wins gold : Talking about the Olympic spirit came easy for Greece’s Marios Chatzidimou, 14. His letter to tennis champion Roger Federer captured the hearts of the international jury to win the gold medal in the UPU’s 41st International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People.

The 2012 edition asked young people to write a letter to an athlete or sports personality they admire to tell them what the Olympic Games mean to them. 

In a brilliantly written letter, Chatzidimou places the world’s top-seeded tennis player in in ancient Olympia alongside athletes such as Diagoras of Rhodes and Polidamas and creates a dialogue with him. “Participation, entering the contest, is already a great victory, regardless of the trophy. A victory against fears, insecurity and difficulties, of yourself, against your own vanity and selfishness.” That’s how Chatzidimou has Federer describe the Olympic values to him. Chatzidimou criticizes the sometimes absence of fair play and the use of drugs in modern-day competitions, adding: “But for me the first Olympic Games mean neither anabolic [steroids] nor championship, nor financial benefits, economic crisis nor hate. They do mean joy for participating, fair play, friendship, peace and, I hope, this meaning will apply to this year’s Olympic Games.”

The jury complimented his simple and creative writing style. “The composition is original, very personal and stylistically creative. The modern and historic Olympic values come out very strongly,” it said. 

Kenya takes home the silver medal, while Ukraine and Trinidad and Tobago tie for the bronze. 

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