Early this morning the announcement came down that President Obama is the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. He becomes the fourth U.S. president to be honored with this coveted award. The first two – Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson in 1919 – were well into their two terms in the Oval Office prior to receiving such esteemed recognition. Carter, meanwhile, was removed from the White House more than a quarter of a century before being bestowed for a lifetime of achievement in 2002.
The 2009 prize is for accomplishments prior to February 1st, which means Mr. Obama was inaugurated just 11 days beforehand. Thus, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is honoring what he did prior to becoming Commander-in-Chief. “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” said committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland.
It is clear that our dynamic president is a powerful speaker who has the ability to engage a global audience. That’s why stadiums filled to capacity wherever he appeared during the campaign – and why the inauguration events were so must-see-TV. It is my hope his decision-making, policy setting and leadership in the next three years live up to the lofty expectations and suddenly glowing recognition.
As someone who spent 15 years working in and around college and professional sports, I’ve seen up close and personal that games aren’t won in the first half or early innings. Being president is a marathon, not a sprint. There are many miles ahead for Mr. Obama, and he needs to start making moves and executing actual initiatives to help our struggling citizens. Only then will he be worthy of all the overwhelming praise.