Canada should be ashamed

We Canadians like to think of ourselves as good sports: honest and fair to people of all races, religions and creeds, etc. But could it be that we’re really no better than anyone else?

We Canadians like to think of ourselves as good sports: honest and fair to people of all races, religions and creeds, etc. But could it be that we’re really no better than anyone else?

It seems so, judging from recent accusations that Canada is unfairly restricting foreign access for training at venues for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver.

Apparently, Canada is trying to boost its chances for success on the podium by giving its own athletes plenty of access to training facilities while granting minimal opportunities to athletes from other countries.

That’s dirty pool — to put it mildly.

American speedskater Catherine Raney, who spent more than seven years living in Canada and training with the Canadian national team, says she’s shocked by the approach taken by officials here.

“They’re playing nasty,” says Raney, now living and training in Utah. “I think every one of us would love to prove to them that what they did wasn’t right, and we’re ready to show it on the ice.”

Raney notes that Canadian athletes were granted equal access to training facilities prior to the Winter Olympics held at Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2002.

Remember, those were the Games at which Red Deer skier Deidra Dionne captured a bronze medal in freestyle aerials.

One wonders if Dionne had been treated the way Canadians are treating Americans and others, would she now have an Olympic medal to call her own?

Canadian officials say they are following the rules of access to competition sites, as set by each sport’s governing body.

And, to be fair, they appear to be living up to the letter of the agreements — although they certainty don’t appear to be behaving with any generosity toward foreign athletes.

One wonders if this Olympic scandal will forever taint the 2010 Games the way financial shenanigans marked the Games in Utah.

Canada’s recent tactics stink of desperation based on this country’s failure to ever win an Olympic gold medal on our soil.

“We’re the only country to host two Olympic Games and never have won a gold medal at our Games,” explains Cathy Priestner Allinger, the executive vice-president for sports of the Vancouver Organizing Committee, referring to the summer of 1976 (Montreal) and the winter of 1988 (Calgary). “It’s not a record we’re proud of.”

Well, maybe Canada is not so proud of that, but at least in the past we were good sports.

Now, it seems, we’re no better than anyone else, and likely worse than many countries that have hosted the Olympics.

Lee Giles is an Advocate editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kenney pledges $100M toward Red Deer hospital improvements

Premier Jason Kenney has committed $100 million toward improvements at Red Deer… Continue reading

RDC athlete apologizes for racist slur

A Red Deer College athlete has apologized for using a racial slur… Continue reading

Innisfail man killed in single-vehicle collision

RCMP said car hit a pole just northwest of Innisfail early on Wednesday

Sylvan Lake senior injured when ambulance gurney flips at Red Deer hospital

A Sylvan Lake senior suffered a number of injuries on her way… Continue reading

VIDEO: Grumpy sea lion resists help back to water in Washington state

Crews were able to coax her into a crate to carry her back to water

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

David Marsden: Finally, a healthy prognosis for our hospital

The announcement of $100 million toward improvements to Red Deer Regional Hospital… Continue reading

Police intervention in Kahnawake would be act of provocation, First Nation says

Protesters reinforced a rail blockade on the Kahnawake Mohawk territory south of… Continue reading

Alberta must juggle sluggish economy, big deficits, lost jobs in upcoming budget

EDMONTON — Alberta is to bring in its new budget Thursday while… Continue reading

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

OTTAWA — Health Minister Patty Hajdu is encouraging Canadians to stockpile food… Continue reading

New Brunswick maintains position on abortions and Canada Health Act

FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government is standing firm in its position… Continue reading

Bolder actions, words from protesters behind Quebec and Ontario rail blockades

Protesters behind rail blockades in Quebec and Ontario ramped up their actions… Continue reading

Most Read