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Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

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  • Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

    Led by the indefatigable MJD, seems to be a very heavy Canadian presence weighing in on the drug issue. I won't get into the whys and wherefores of that, but I am curious, as the USA heads down the road towards a Dubin of its own:

    You guys think track (athletics, if you prefer) has a better image in Canada since the great public cleansing?

    Does track have teh same significance it used to?

    You think Canadian track is any cleaner that it was pre-Ben?

    I ask these questions because of the old saw of "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" as it relates to those who think that these balco revelations are somehow going to make the sport better.

    From this side of the border looks to me like "cleaning up the sport" pretty much killed it in Canada.

    ???

  • #2
    Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

    All Canada has is miler Kevin Sullivan.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

      you must have missed their World Champ 100 hurdler, and Mark Boswell who won a bronze, and their distance ladies who did quite well in Paris.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

        Also living south of the border, I can't necessarily speak for the Cannucks. But I would guess that there's a sense of poetic justice to this in the great white north.

        The Canadians whose opinion I'm most interested in hearing are Charlie Francis and Ben Johnson. I'm surprised no one has talked to them yet (or maybe they have -- better check out google news).

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

          Actually, a search on news.google.com brings up this recent article from the UK:

          http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=109883

          "Ben Johnson's drug scandal is worst sporting cheat of all time, says British public"

          It was dated October 13th. If only they'd have waited three more days...!

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          • #6
            Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

            There are some interesting questions raised and as a Canadian fan of track and field I can only offer my own observations and sense of things from this side of the border.

            Short of having a scientific poll to answer your questions, my feeling has been for some years that the Dubin inquiry put an incredible amount of pressure on Canadian athletes, particularly sprinters, to be clean. The media made us very much aware of this. So much national shame, guilt, and hand-wringing - something we're very good at when we take it on - followed the Ben Johnson affair, that future generations of athletes were faced with the prospect of putting their country through a similar round of torture: not a pleasant prospect! I think Donovan and Bruny felt that responsibility in a tremendous way and were clean athletes. You'd have to be Canadian to know how savagely our media can eat up the few hopes we have when they let us down. Think of what a thread on Allan Webb on this board shows you: If you can magine how DESPERATELY Americans want a champion in the mile, you have a pretty good sense of how Canadians feel the need for what few major champions come our way. The palpable sense of disappointment one encounters wading through a Webb thread is an American analogue for how Canadians felt over Ben Johnson: bitter betrayal and disillusionment, however irrational and unfair to athletes, these sentiments may be.

            I also don't think track has ever had much significance on its own in Canada, we're hockey-mad and after that comes football, baseball and basketball pretty much like in the US. A cursory glance at the sports pages of any major daily will support that. So track is still pretty much where it ever was: Give us a major champion like Perdicien and she's on the cover of every major newspaper but if she'd won silver there'd almost certainly have been no photos and at best a paragraph or two in some places.

            Finally, the comment that cleaning up the sport killed it in Canada seems an odd one since the decade that followed Dubin saw the greatest sprint successes Canada ever had: Bailey and Surin 1-2 in '95, Olympic gold for Bailey in a WR a year later, silver for Bailey in '97, and silver for Surin with =2 all-time performance in '99. PLUS 4x100 GOLD in Gotheborg, Atlanta and Athens, that's 3 consecutive years! Killed the sport? No.

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            • #7
              Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

              >All Canada has is miler Kevin Sullivan.

              Can you spell Perdita?

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              • #8
                Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

                Although some Canadian athletes have had success, most noticeably the sprinters and the 4x100 relay team, the sport has been damaged since the Dubin Inquiry.

                Many of the major sponsors either pulled out or reduced their involvement and the number of major meets has either decreased or those that remain have lost their importance.

                Name one major invitatiooonal meet held in Canada last year that brought any notable world class athletes from outside the country.

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                • #9
                  Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

                  Your points are good ones and Canadian track and field has suffered in the ways you mention. It isn't dead though or we would not have hosted 2 IAAF world championships (Senior Edmonton 2001 and Youth Sherbrooke 2003) AND enjoyed our first women's gold at a World or Olympics, so recently. In addition to Felicien, we had finalists in the women's 800 and 5000 (2) and a silver in the men's high jump. And some very good showings at the Youth level which is a good indicator of the health of the sport. But you're right, there's a bit of a black eye that time is still healing.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

                    Who really "has" most of the Canadian athletes mentioned? With the exception of Nicholas M. and maybe Shane Nemi? the top dogs are pretty much all US college or post US college products arent they.

                    So how does one objectively judge the Canadian system? I am a Canadian fan (thatnk god for the CBC) but is any perceived drop off in Canadian performances as much a fault of US colleges, and coaches? Lets define our measuring stick here.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

                      You guys
                      >think track (athletics, if you prefer) has a
                      >better image in Canada since the great public
                      >cleansing?

                      Different would be the more appropriate term. Beforehand I don't think there was the same perception of doping beyond the systemic stuff from the Soviet block. Dubin opened up the public's eyes to the issue.

                      Now, while they may be more jaded with respect to the sport as a whole (therefore poorer image), they believe the Canadian team to be significantly cleaner than many, if not all, the others (better image).

                      Does track have teh same
                      >significance it used to?

                      Looking at the decreased funding for amateur sports and money for Athletics Canada, in addition to the decline and disappearance of major indoor meets such as the Toronto Star Indoor Games, Knights of Columbus and Hamilton Spectator Indoor Games, track on the whole has less significance. I doubt very many regular sports fans could give you the name of our World Champs gold medalist barely two months after she was on the front page of the papers.

                      You think Canadian
                      >track is any cleaner that it was pre-Ben?

                      Absolutely. Not only is there a concerted in-competition and random testing conducted by CCES (look at their annual listings of the number of track athletes tested), there is siginificant societal pressure on athletes to not cheat. Nobody wants to be compared to Banned Johnson.

                      I
                      >ask these questions because of the old saw of
                      >"be careful what you wish for, you just might
                      >get it" as it relates to those who think that
                      >these balco revelations are somehow going to make
                      >the sport better.

                      In the short term you'd have to answer the question, is it better to be popular or to be clean? Longer term should be more positive though if greater perception that track is cleaner can be shown. This will especially be helped if this BALCO incident sucks in the big name sports that are crushing track in the popularity contests.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

                        >Led by the indefatigable MJD, seems to be a very
                        >heavy Canadian presence weighing in on the drug
                        >issue. I won't get into the whys and wherefores
                        >of that, but I am curious, as the USA heads down
                        >the road towards a Dubin of its own:

                        After the eddie thing, I am hestitant to respond to an anonymous poster although the word "brethren" is a bit of a tip off. Why not get into the whys and wherefores? The funny thing is that asterix, myself, Mr T, michael lewis and, last but not least, gh would likely, based on what I have seen(and know), disagree on most things drug related. It might surprise you to know that we aren't that monolithic.

                        >From this side of the border
                        >looks to me like "cleaning up the sport" pretty
                        >much killed it in Canada.

                        Everything is relative. The 2 glamour events to North Americans are the 100 and the mile. Canada has had, arguably, the most consistent overall miler since 1988(I'm sure I am about to be proven wrong by some kind of analysis of the annual top 10 TFN rankings). In the 100, we have had a WC, Olympic gold and WR even after the whole BJ thing. That event certainly seems to have bounced back a bit. Not bad especially given that we are 1/10 the size of the US.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

                          >From this side of the border
                          >looks to me like "cleaning up the sport" pretty
                          >much killed it in Canada.

                          So is that a corpse that the T&FN Web Dude just put on the front page?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

                            >From this side of the border
                            >looks to me like
                            >"cleaning up the sport" pretty
                            >much killed it
                            >in Canada.

                            Killed it so badly that they got to host an indoor, outdoor, and youth worlds. So dead that CBC reguarly covers the sport at a level not seen in the USA in fifteen years if ever. So what problems have they got that we haven't got?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Questions For Our Canadian Brethren

                              "So what problems have they got that we haven't got?"

                              BALCO?

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