Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Athletics Canada's Delusions of Grandeur #LetSheilaGo

The grainy video you see above is the last Olympic gold medal won by Canada in track and field, the 1996 4x100m relay. What's interesting about that race is that none of the four men on that relay were born in Canada, Bruny Surin was born in Haiti, Glenroy Gilbert was born in Trinidad, and Robert Esmie and individual Olympic Champion Donovan Bailey were born in Jamaica. If any one of them, especially Surin or Bailey competed for their home countries, Canada wouldn't have won that medal. That is the power of the Olympics, athletes compete for the love of their country, whether they were born there or not.

There is no question that Sheila Reid wants to represent Canada in the Olympics. Her want to do so quite clearly had a negative effect on her performance in her final collegiate season. There's also no question that she's eligible to compete for the Olympics, according to IAAF rules, but Athletics Canada believes that Olympic experience is only earned when people meet their rules, which limit the Olympic experience for all athletes who don't meet their ridiculous standards, (which are more stringent than those to make the US Olympic Team, which will win more Olympic medals in the first week of the Olympics than Canada will in the entire competition,) keeping its best athletes from competing on Team Canada, and acting like a third world country in the process.

Canada probably created these standards because they were tired of being shut out of the medals, but that will continue if they they make it their policy to shun their best athletes, who obviously want to compete. If they had done the same thing they're doing to Sheila Reid to Donovan Bailey, Bruny Surin, Robert Esmie and Glenroy Gilbert, they could have decided that they wanted to compete for their native countries instead, and Athletics Canada would have deserved what they got.

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