Rowing Canada CEO backs women’s rowing leadership in wake of coach dismissal

VICTORIA — Five days after women’s head coach Dave Thompson was fired by Rowing Canada, chief executive officer Terry Dillon is backing the remaining leadership group.

Dillon would not get into the reasons for Thompson’s firing, calling it an “employment matter” and saying it was covered by a confidentiality agreement, but on Monday he endorsed former assistants Michelle Darvill, Phil Marshall and Lesley Thompson-Willie.

That trio will now be responsible for preparing the Canadian women’s rowing team for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, including possibly qualifying more boats for the Summer Games.

“We have an extraordinarily talented coaching team and we have a high level of confidence in the coaches that are in place with the women’s program,” Dillon said. “They bring a huge amount of experience to this group. They’ve been very much integral to the success that the program has had over the last several years. We feel really confident that that team is capable of taking the group forward.”

Dick Tonks remains in place as the head coach of the men’s national team.

Six Canadian crews have qualified for the 2020 Summer Games, five of them women’s boats that Thompson had coached with the help of Darvill, Marshall and Thompson-Willie. Thompson had been hired on Dec. 17, 2016 after a disappointing showing at the Rio Olympics when Canada’s rowers only earned one medal, a silver in the women’s lightweight double sculls.

Thompson earned a coaching excellence award in 2019 from the Coaching Association of Canada for helping Hillary Janssens and Caileigh Filmer to a bronze at that year’s world championships.

Dillon said he is confident in the team’s current leadership group and will only hire an additional coach if it’s deemed necessary for the preparation of the upcoming Olympics. Rowing Canada has no plans to hire a new women’s head coach until the start of the next Olympic quadrennial.

“This is definitely one of the most talented groups of women that Canada has probably ever had,” Dillon said. “We’re looking at how we move forward with that group and give them the best possible chance of success. We’re also looking to see whether we can qualify an additional women’s boat and three additional men’s boats.

“We’re feeling very positive about where we’re at and our prospects for Tokyo.”

Canada will participate in three World Cup regattas before the Olympics — Sabaudia, Italy, beginning on April 10, then Varese, Italy, starting on May 1 and a last-chance Olympic qualifier in Lucerne, Switzerland that will begin on May 22. The Canadians have also planned a pre-Olympic camp Sagamihara, Japan before the Tokyo Games begin in earnest.

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

Just Posted

Central Alberta woman receives North American award for leading Red Deer Regional Health Foundation

Manon Therriault at the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation has always embraced… Continue reading

Families displaced after Red Deer fire Sunday

A structure fire displaced two families in north Red Deer Sunday morning.… Continue reading

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

In its place is employment insurance, which the government says the majority of people will go on

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sept. 27

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00… Continue reading

WE Charity controversy prompts examination of group’s overseas footprint

On Sept. 9, WE Charity said it would wind down its Canadian operations

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Nearly 1M who died of COVID-19 also illuminated treatment

The nearly 1 million people around the world who have lost their… Continue reading

Toronto health officer closes 3 restaurants as result of COVID contact tracing

Toronto’s top public health official has ordered the closure of three downtown… Continue reading

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

CALGARY — Canadian ski resort operators planning for a season that begins… Continue reading

Tenille Townes, Dean Brody and Brett Kissel top nominees at tonight’s CCMA Awards

OTTAWA — Tenille Townes could be lined up for some major wins… Continue reading

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

TERRACE, B.C. — Health care in the era of COVID-19 took centre… Continue reading

Watchdog to investigate fatal Winnipeg crash that sent two kids to hospital

Winnipeg police say a woman has died and five others — including… Continue reading

The ‘relentless underdog’: Green Leader Sonia Furstenau ready for uphill battle

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau was driving Monday when she turned on the… Continue reading

Mi’kmaq power, inside and beyond Ottawa, stronger than in past fishery battles

HALIFAX — When Jaime Battiste was in his early 20s, cable news… Continue reading

Most Read