SFIA Applauds Industry Vet Doug Gordan's Cross Country Bike Ride to Get P.E. Back in Schools
“Anyone who knows Doug Gordon knows that his passion, energy and enthusiasm to help Americans live more active lifestyles is powerful and contagious. But this commitment to ride 2,678 miles coast-to-coast highlighting how physical education will improve our children’s health and academic achievement is truly superlative,” says Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO. “Doug’s initiative should spark our industry to reaffirm a commitment to do everything we can to reverse the inactivity pandemic.”
To draw attention to the need for daily P.E. in all U.S. schools and to raise funds for PHIT America’s GO! Grants program (which helps fund elementary school P.E. programs), Gordon is challenging other industry leaders to do their part by supporting his unique fundraising effort. Companies and fellow executives can financially support Gordon’s journey in one of three ways: access www.ridedougride.org, pledge a lump sum or a certain amount per mile or give directly to PHIT America.
“Doug practices what he preaches as much as anyone I know. He’s attended National Health Through Fitness Day on Capitol Hill for 10 straight years and has always been a huge advocate for daily P.E.,” says Cove. “Now, he is literally taking this message ‘to the streets.’ I hope his friends, colleagues and peers in the industry will get behind him in this effort.”
“At least 75% of all funds received for PHIT America from this bike ride will be used to fund more PHIT America GO! Grants,” states PHIT America Founder Jim Baugh. “We are jump-starting more activity for school children through school-based P.E. program grants. With GO! Grants, we are developing more PHIT Kids, who are healthier and smarter.”
Gordon’s bike ride starts today from the beach on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean near Charleston, S.C. He is headed for the Pacific Ocean near San Diego, Calif. He hopes to arrive in southern California by mid-April.
While Gordon rides his bike, his wife, Shari, will drive a Cruise America RV alongside him. Coming along for the ride in the RV will be their dog Chase – a three-year old golden doodle.
“A man, his bike, his wife, and their dog, together for two months, traveling across America,” adds Gordon.
“As the old saying goes, there’s no time like the present. This is something I believe in very much -- getting America, especially kids, more active and healthy. Riding my bike across America to benefit PHIT America is the perfect way to do this,” says Gordon, who left Speedo USA in late January, after having worked for the swimwear company since 2001. “I am excited about this experience and ready to go. I hope everyone in this industry can join me by supporting this ride and assist this great industry. After learning of the national decline of youth sports and physical activity, combined with fewer schools having physical education, I knew I had to do something to raise public awareness of this issue. And, PHIT America is the perfect charity to support.”
“Another way SFIA member companies can show support for Gordon’s journey is to attend SFIA’s National Health Through Fitness Day – March 15-16 – in Washington, D.C., when the industry will gather to lobby Congress for the passage of pro-physical activity legislation,” says Cove.
Gordon agrees with Cove. “I have attended National Health Through Fitness Day on many occasions and I will be there in spirit this year,” notes Gordon, who will be on the open road in mid-March.
The SFIA and PHIT America are working to generate more awareness of Gordon’s unique bike ride and to raise sponsorship support for Gordon’s journey. To date, Garmin, Trek, Under Armour, and Louis Garneau are helping support Gordon’s coast-to-coast ride.
Doug Gordon’s history in sports and fitness started when he walked on the Indiana University football team in 1972, which in turn, helped him get a college scholarship and, ultimately, secure a rewarding career in the sporting goods industry with a number of brands. Besides Speedo, Gordon has worked with Wilson, adidas, Fila, Mizuno, and Kappa Lanzera during his career in the sporting goods industry.