Tag Archives: canada

Olympic Gender Discrimination Lawsuit to Begin

April 19, 2009

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Vancouver, BC


The trial pitting women ski jumpers excluded from competing in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games against the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) is set to begin on April 20th.  Both sides in the summary trail just released their written arguments. 


The sport was left off the roster for the 2010 Games because the IOC declared it was not developed enough to merit inclusion in the Olympics.  The women ski jumpers argue they are being discriminated against in violation of their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms since male jumpers are allowed to compete in three events whereas there are none for women.  The women argue that the local organizers must respect the Charter because the Olympics are partially funded and supported by the federal government and cannot avoid its reach just because the IOC is outside Canadian jurisdiction.  The plaintiffs are asking the British Columbia Supreme Court for a declaration that restricting the Olympics to male jumpers contravenes the Charter thus compelling VANOC to host a women’s competition in order to comply with the court’s finding. 


In its defence, VANOC argues that it is the IOC’s responsibility to determine what events are included in the Olympics and that Charter arguments are moot as the IOC is beyond the jurisdictional reach of the court.  They argue that the IOC’s decision was not discriminatory but based on the fact that women ski jumping did not meet IOC standards to qualify for inclusion in the Olympics, falling below the number of participants and skill level required.  VANOC also points out that women ski jumpers have trained and competed at the Olympic Games ski hill this winter and claims that a judgment in favour of the women ski jumpers would imperil the future of Canada ever again hosting an Olympic Games.

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Gambling addictions start at Kindergarten

March 17, 2009


Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUKTRE5220Z920090303?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&sp=true


If Canadian researchers from the Universite de Montreal are to be believed, children rated as impulsive by their kindergarten teacher appear more likely to begin gambling behaviours like playing cards or placing bets before they hit middle school.

Researchers asked Kindergarten teachers for 163 students to complete a questionnaire on their pupils at the beginning of the school year in order to rank the children’s inattentiveness, distractibility and hyperactivity. Six years later, the researchers asked the (now 11yr old) children in telephone interviews how often they participated in gambling-related behaviours such as playing cards or bingo, buying lottery tickets, playing video games or video poker for money or placing bets at sporting events or with friends.

After controlling for factors like family composition, parents’ education and household income, the researchers found an increase of one unit on the impulsivity scale in kindergarten corresponded to a 25 percent increase in gambling involvement by the sixth grade.

The full research study appears in the Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/163/3/238

Sorry I’d better go, one of my gymnasts wants me to place a bet for them…….

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Five female ski jumpers join lawsuit to be included in 2010 Winter Olympics

March 7, 2009


Source: Winnipeg Free Press


Five female Canadian ski jumpers want to add their names to a lawsuit seeking to have their sport included in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The women join 10 others who allege their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are being violated since male jumpers are allowed to compete in Olympics but they are not. The sport was left off the roster for the 2010 Games because the IOC declared it was not developed enough to merit inclusion in the Olympics. The claimants filed suit against the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).  The women argue that the local organizers must respect the Charter because the Olympic Games are partially funded by the federal government. In their statement of defence, VANOC claims they cannot override the IOC and even if the women’s rights were violated, there are reasonable grounds to do so. The lawsuit is scheduled to be heard in B.C. Supreme Court in April 2009.

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What does SOS mean? Not rescue me, by all accounts!

March 6, 2009


Source: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/family+angry+about+delayed+rescue+effort/1331820/story.html ; http://www.vancouversun.com/news/response+fumbled/1330585/story.html; http://www.leaderpost.com/news/Funeral+skier+died+wilderness/1358023/story.html

When Gilles Blackburn and his wife (Marie-Josee Fortin) strayed off the path in an out-of-bounds area near the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, in British Columbia on 15th February, this started a catalogue of errors that eventually led to Marie-Josee’s death and Gilles living on leaves and creek water for 9 days!

Although the couple were only dressed for a day of skiing and did not have any survival gear with them, Gilles was an avid outdoorsman and was able to build a makeshift shelter using bow stems and branches. This is one of the reasons they survived for so long as the wind chill dropped to -25 some nights. Tragically, 7 days after they had become lost, Marie-Josee contracted hypothermia and died.

Each day, Blackburn drew SOS markings across several kilometres of snow, hoping they would be spotted by rescuers and helicopters. Finally on the ninth day, a helicopter pilot spotted the markings and search-and-rescue crews found him, suffering from frostbite, about 16 kilometres from the ski resort.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has now launched an internal review into why the rescue did not begin until several nearly a week later, despite two separate reports of the SOS markings. Indeed, when an off-duty guide first spotted these SOS markings, he contacted resort staff who told him that there were “no outstanding ski rentals or missing-person reports.” (Sadly, the resort staff overlooked Blackburn’s car parked in the underground car park at the resort). Even after a second sighting was reported to the RCMP, a search was not started as there were no reports of any missing skiers, and under British Columbian rules, volunteer search-and-rescue crews do not have the authority to start their own missions unless ordered to by a provincial authority (such as the RCMP). The third time, these marking were spotted, a pilot saw Blackburn and a rescue was launched.

So what exactly does SOS mean, if not a universal sign of distress? The RCMP has said that Blackburn should have laid down next to the signal as it was unsure how old the tracks were.

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Smith released early

March 5, 2009


Source: http://sports.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090225.wsptriders0225/GSStory/GlobeSportsFootball/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20090225.wsptriders0225 ; http://www.montrealgazette.com/Health/Roughrider+Smith+left+Canada/1336437/story.html

Trevis Smith (disgraced former Saskatchewan Roughrider) has now been released after completing two years of his six year sentence for aggravated sexual assault. The charges were brought in 2007, after he had unprotected sex with two women when he was HIV-positive.

Smith has now been deported back to the United States.

During his January parole hearing, Smith admitted that he didn’t inform his sexual partners of his HIV status because he was embarrassed and in denial.

The original story of how the footballer fell from grace can be read here: http://www.canada.com/theprovince/story.html?id=dced6e21-bee4-4183-95d3-da83cf3a9ab2

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Another Concussion report released

February 24, 2009

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Source: http://www.29sports.com/29/london/home.html; http://sports.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090210.wsptconcussions9/GSStory/GlobeSportsHockey/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20090210.wsptconcussions9

Another day, another report into concussions in sport! This time the recommendations come from a Panel of experts from the London Hockey Concussion Summit in Ontario. The statement issued by the Summit chair, Dr. Paul Echlin, recommends that fighting (the major cause of high / head hits) should be eliminated in order to remove the incidence of concussions. It is important to note however that this statement was not unanimous, but rather was intended to be a talking point providing recommendations for future discussion.

The panel also advised that:

  • a central ‘concussion certification program’ (Proposed name: Hockey Concussion Initiative) be set up in which trainers, coaches and officials would gain knowledge aimed at recognizing and treating concussion. While this agency would initially be focused on Hockey injuries, ultimately the Panel hope that it could serve as a model for all sports in which head injuries occur such as football, soccer, rugby, skiing, skateboarding and cycling.
  • an NHL/Ontario Hockey League role model program be adopted
  • Studies should be launched leading to a data collection system
  • Players should undergo pre-season screening
  • A survey should be conducted of protective equipment.
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Paul Kelly weighs into the fight

February 24, 2009


Source: http://sports.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090204.wsptnhlpa4/GSStory/GlobeSportsHockey/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20090204.wsptnhlpa4 

It would seem that a consensus is slowly emerging regarding fighting in Ice Hockey. Paul Kelly (Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association) has now added his voice to the debate, saying that he did not believe that all fighting should be banned, however:

“Hypothetically,” Kelly said, “should we consider some kind of rule about helmets, that you need to keep them on during fights and do we instruct our officials that when a helmet comes off, that they should step in and stop the fight? That’s one of the things we should look at.”

Kelly said the other aspect of fighting that needs to be reviewed is “the fights that appear to be the most dangerous in our sport, the ones engaged in by the super-heavyweights, the 6-foot-7, 250-plus-pound players who frankly, just on the basis of sheer size and strength, have the ability to deliver really damaging blows. My view has always been, if the fight arises out of the emotion and spontaneity of the game, if you’re rising to the defence of a teammate or yourself as a result of a perceived dirty hit, then that’s all a natural part of the game,” he said.

“On the other hand, if it’s a staged fight — one of those events, just the two heavyweights, not precipitated by some hockey play and in some instances, prearranged [sometimes by text message before the game], if they just decide to drop the gloves prior to a faceoff or a certain designated point in the period — those are fights that we ought to take a serious look at and consider whether there’s some way to reduce or potentially to eliminate those.”

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Tillman sex charges

February 24, 2009




 Source: http://sports.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090203.wspttillman0203/GSStory/GlobeSports/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20090203.wspttillman0203 ; http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2009/02/24/tillman-case.html  

Eric Tillman (Saskatchewan Roughriders General Manager and VP of Football Operations) has been charged with sexually assaulting a 16yr old girl on 6th August 2008. Apparently the charges relate to an alleged inappropriate touching from behind, however the police and club refuse to confirm or deny this. Although Tillman made a brief appearance in court today, the case has been adjourned until March 17th.

Tillman asks that the public reserve judgement until the legal process has run its course. When news of the story broke, he was suspended on full pay and will not be taking part in team operations.

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Who needs friends like these?

February 22, 2009


Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090220.wspthabs0220/GSStory/GlobeSports

Three Habs players (Andrei & Sergei Kostitsyn and Roman Hamrlik) were alleged to be friendly with 38-year-old Pasquale Mangiola, (an underworld figure accused of conspiracy, cocaine and weapons charges) who was arrested in a police sweep on Feb 12th. None of the players are accused of any wrongdoing, simply poor choice of companions

With all these WADA drug testing rules where athlete’s have to declare where they will be at a certain time, and now teams telling them who they can and cant be friends with, isn’t this a bit like being at school? Next thing you know, the next big scandal will be athlete fails to tidy his bedroom shocker!!!!

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I went to a boxing match the other day and an ice hockey game broke out!

February 22, 2009

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Source: http://sports.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090127.wspttruth26/GSStory/GlobeSportsHockey/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20090127.wspttruth26 ; http://sports.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090129.wsptoha29/GSStory/GlobeSportsHockey/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20090129.wsptoha29

Rick Vaive (former captain for the Toronto Maple Leafs) believes that new rules are needed to curb fighting in professional ice hockey, because the fighting skills of the new generation of players, coupled with their size and strength have made the sport much more dangerous than it ever used to be. What has changed since Vaive’s time, is the fact that Canada has seen two recent tragedies in quick succession to Don Sanderson (who died earlier in January after hitting his head on the ice during a fight in Ontario) and to Garrett Klotz (who suffered a seizure and was taken to hospital after a fight in the AHL) and he hopes that the National Hockey League’s general managers make a serious attempt to examine the issue when they meet in March.

Indeed, one organisation – the Ontario Hockey Association has already made changes. From next season:

  • any player removing his helmet or undoing his chin strap during a fight will be given a gross misconduct penalty and an automatic one-game suspension. The player will be dealt the same penalty if he attempts to take off his opponent’s helmet.
  • Officials have also been instructed to be “more vigilant” in stopping fights.
  • The OHA will also work with helmet manufacturers and the Canadian Standards Association to determine whether the current fastening systems for helmets can be improved.
  • Players who drops the gloves regularly have also been targeted.
  • In addition to receiving an automatic game misconduct for fighting — a policy that was already in place — players who engage in three fights in a season will be given a one-game ban. A fourth fight will result in a two-game suspension, while a fifth fight will lead to a three-game ban. A sixth fighting major will result in an indefinite suspension.

Interestingly though, Dave Andrews (the AHL President) recently commented that: “Can you play without it? Obviously,” he said. “There is no way you can say fighting has to be part of hockey. There are all sorts of great hockey games that don’t have fights in them. I listened to the players in this debate and I haven’t heard any take the position we should eliminate fighting from the game, even the skilled guys.”

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