Runner's Web

Runner's Web Editorials
Updated: June 22, 2002

March 1, 2002
Runner's Web Rant
Check out our new BLOG page for rants from the Runner's Web which will be published on an irregular basis

January 6, 2002
Build It and They Will Come!
For a complete copy of the Point of View rebuttal to the Ottawa Citizen's editorial against an indoor training facility for Ottawa, visit the Ottawa Multipurpose Development and Training Facility page.
This rebuttal ran in the Citizen on January 2nd.

December 17, 2001:
Secretary of State for Amateur Sport
Today's National Post carries an article on Brad Watters and the Renegades, Ottawa's new entry into the Canadian Football League.
The article says "Last week, Denis Coderre, Secretary of State for Amateur Sport, began talks with CFL officials about developing new stadiums in Quebec City and Halifax, which would coincide with future expansion plans."
One would think that he would better spend his time speaking with the City of Ottawa in regards to their study for an indoor training facility for Canada's Capital.
He should either change his focus or his title.

October 3, 2001:
Ottawa Indoor Track Study
The City of Ottawa Indoor Track Study is almost complete and is expected to make its way through City staff to the Mayor's office within the next 1-2 weeks.
There is still an initiative to try to get interim support from the City for indoor track and field until such time as a permanent facility becomes available.
In the meantime it is interesting to look at the village of Canton New, York where St. Lawrence University has just completed construction of the Allan and Catherine Newell Field House., home of the Saint men's and women's indoor track teams and the indoor home of the Saint men's and women's tennis teams. It also houses the St. Lawrence fitness center, the Munro Family Climbing Wall, a multi-purpose room and the Littlejohn Training Room for athletic medicine.
This facility replaces the Barry T. Leithead Field House as a home for indoor track. This facility was opened in 1970 and has been the home of the Saint indoor track teams. Remodeled in the last few years and replaced for track by the Newell Field House, it contains an artificial surface for inclement weather or winter team practices and recreational use as well as a 1/10th mile indoor track. It also has three turf tennis courts and its East end houses the Robie Squash Center. So the university now has two indoor tracks!
For more on these facilities visit the University web site.

The "village" of Canton has 8,000 full-time residents and the University brings in an additional 3.500 students for the school year.

Ottawa, on the other hand, has two universities and a large community college. Ottawa U. has approximately 3,000 staff and 25,000 full- and part-time students. Carleton University has 13,000+ full-time and 4,000+ part-time students and almost 3, 000 staff.
So Ottawa has two universities each of which have 2-3 times as many students as Canton has residents. Their University has had a proper indoor track facility since 1970 and we are just now doing a study!
Only in Canada, you say. Pity.

September 22, 2001:
Waterfront Marathon - Toronto and Athletics Canada Sanction
Toronto Waterfront Marathon becomes "Officially Recognized" by Athletics Canada.
We never did get a response to our email regarding Athletic Canada's treatment of the Waterfront Marathon in Toronto but the race has received sanction.

September 1, 2001:
Waterfront Marathon - Toronto and Athletics Canada Sanction
The following is from Athletics Canada (AC) web site:
Unsanctioned Events
The Waterfront Toronto Marathon

Following internal discussions and to clarify its decision, Athletics Canada will consent to the following change pertaining to the status of the Waterfront Marathon in Toronto on September 23rd.
Performances achieved in this certified marathon will be usable as entry into different events at any time (i.e. Boston Marathon). However under no circumstances will the performances achieved in this marathon be used in team selection, national ranking lists and best performances.

It is interesting to note that there are three marathons in geographical proximity between September 23rd and October 21st:
1. Toronto Waterfront Marathon - September 23rd,
2. Canadian International Marathon (CIM),Toronto - October 14th,
3. Niagara Marathon - October 21st.

If AC is concerned about the impact of the Waterfront Triathlon on the CIM with 3 weeks between the two marathons, why are they not concerned with the Niagara Marathon which is only one week after CIM?
In fact, Niagara is offering $25,000 in prize money which would seem to be more of an attraction for elite runners than the Waterfront race.

I have emailed AC regarding their web site notice and asked them why they have singled out the Waterfront Marathon. I will post their reply.

July 31, 2001:
2001 Junior Pan American Games
The 2001 Pan American Junior Track and Field Championships will be held in SANTA FE, Argentina from October 18-19-20.
From Athletics Canada web site:
This is a 100% athlete self-funded team. Athletes are expected to pay all personal travel, room and board and miscellaneous local expenses associated with their participation on this team as well as their contribution towards support staff. It is estimated that these Championships will cost between $2500-3,500 CAN per athlete. These costs are estimated for air travel, meals and accommodations, coaching and medical staff and administrative support.

Question: how did we manage to spend $20 million of taxpayers money on the recent Francophonie Games leaving us with a legacy of 108 (as of this morning) and counting defectors (the cost for them will run well into the millions) and we have to ask our junior athletes to pay their own way to represent us in a major Games competition?

I guess only our Sports Minister knows and he isn't saying.

July 27, 2001:
An Indoor Track for Ottawa?
There was a full house for last night's meeting where a consultant presented preliminary results for a study being done for the City regarding an indoor track for Ottawa.
A short list of site locations, including one at Carleton University, has been established.
A draft report will be presented to the City next week.
It was mentioned (several times) that this study has been fast-tracked by the Mayor's office which would seem to indicate that this initiative has some high level support, something which has been lacking for the past 25 years.
If I were a gambling man I would bet that the current process will lead to a facility of some sort within 3-5 years.
While this is good news the question remains as to why the City has flatly refused to look at the provision of an interim facility until the process results in a permanent indoor track.
The City, which kicked track and field out of the Coliseum some years ago, owes something to the track community for their gross neglect of the past 25 years.
An interim facility could be provided quickly and cheaply. Why will the City not consider this?
Surely we can walk and chew gum at the same time.
Email the Mayor and ask him why.

July 17, 2001:
Canada well-represented at Francophonie Games
One country, three teams? That could only be Canada. And one news report today suggests that next time there will be four teams from Canada as Ontario will have a team. Maybe should have two teams, one French and one English. And then of course the St. Boniface region of Manitoba should have a team and there are reportedly 6 Francophones in BC who might want to have their own sand castle team.
The possibilities are limitless and so too, apparently, is the budget - provided, of course, by the taxpayers.
This would be funny if we did not have to pay for it.

July 15, 2001:
Francophonie Games Opening
Ottawa Citizen: Copps was booed when she broke off a few English words.

Question: How many people does it take to open the Francophonie Games?
Answer: 20,218 - one (Sheila Copps) who dares to speak a few words of English (out of respect for the Canadians who are paying for this political party), and 20,217 to boo her when she does so.
For those interested in a real international sporting event, check out the World Triathlon Championships and the World Athletics Championships, both of which will be held in Edmonton, Alberta.

June 30, 2001:
An Ex-Canadian Success Story
18 months after leaving Canada, Kathy Butler finds glory in U.K.

This is an important story, but it does not focus on the key issue that was discussed when Ms. Butler made her decision to leave Canada.
At that time she made much of the fact she had to pay her own way to represent Canada at the World Cross Country Championships in Europe. And to add insult to injury she had to buy a rain suit because Canada did not provide one. The funding, or lack thereof, was seen as the major reason Ms. Butler decided to leave Canada.
Things have not changed. Our Cross Country team had to pay their own expenses to go to this year's world championships.
Our athletes need financial support and facilities.
When our athletes have to pay their own way to represent their country and when our capital does not have an indoor track, it is surprising that we have any athletes left.
Rather than giving themselves a huge wage our MPs should have shown our athletes the money. But then they just don't get it.

May 27, 2001:
The Francophone Games: Pardon our confusion
Wayne Scanlan, the Ottawa Citizen

Wayne Scanlan's column on the Francophone Games raised several interesting points.
Unlike legitimate international competitions like the Olympics, World Championships, Pan-American Games and Commonwealth Games which do not have to explain what they are about, these Games seem to be suffering from a major identity crisis. Does anyone know what they are about? Does anyone care?
While the $12 million spent by the Feds and the $6 million by Ottawa and Hull may not be a major amount compared to other expenditures I cannot help but think of other things that could have been done with that money, well one major thing - an indoor track for the Nation's capital.
Without these Games we could have had the use of the Terry Fox track for last year (an Olympic year!) and the early part of this year and had a place to train for the area's elite and recreational athletes and fitness enthusiasts during our harsh winters.
Some of the third world countries coming to these Games have better facilities for track and field than we do.
But I guess it is a matter of priorities for the federal and city governments.

Feds add $10-million a year to amateur sport funding
With all of the self-promotion and hype leading up to this weekend's big "Sports Summit", one would have thought that there would have been an announcement of some substance.
$10 million per year is a joke. The government is spending more than that on this year's Francophonie Games, an event referred to as "the language games" by Canadian Olympian Greg Joy.
$10 million would not even build a field house with an indoor track for Ottawa.

Australia announced this week an increase for sport to $550 million over the next 4 years.

Feds, COA to work together
Coderre promises to pour money into developing elite athletes.
As usual this is too little too late. The sports minister is talking about the Winter Olympics in 9 months time. Someone should explain to him that you do not "create" a world-class athlete in 9 months. We're not talking about making babies.
As well there is the usual Liberal political agenda regarding "...gender equity, sport for the disabled, development of Aboriginal sport and bilingualism".
What's next, a quota system for athlete, coach and official selection based on ethnic origin?

Track team's budget tiny compared to other nations:

Some athletes being invited to a Team Canada relays camp near Los Angeles later this month will receive $400 towards their airfare, while others are being asked to fly there for free.
Could you imagine the Toronto Blue Jays holding camp in Florida and telling their prospects to buy their own plane tickets and, if they make the team, they'll get some of their money back?
"We're the poorest citizens, certainly in the G-7. We need more money from corporate sponsors and more money from government," said John Thresher, the former Athletics Canada head who resigned in November. "The gross revenues in Athletics Canada are about $3 million. When I look at U.K. Athletics, by guesstimate theirs is about $50 million Cdn."

Comment: another example of Canadian incompetence. There is a "National Summit on Sport" in Ottawa later this month.
How many of the participants will be paying their own way?
Did our sports minister pay his own way on his recent travels?

Athletics in Canada:

Sheila Copps is quoted as saying:"...we are going to launch an aid program for African sport development." How about launching a program for Canadian sport development?

With the World Cross Country running championships coming up in Ostend, Belgium, Canadians might be interested in knowing that the majority of our athletes, who are off to represent Canada in the World Cross Country running championships coming up in Ostend, Belgium, are paying $2,500.00 each for the right to represent their country.

Athletics Canada has confirmed this and they have also confirmed that all funding will be paid for three (3) teams from Canada (and Quebec and New Brunswick) for the Francophone Games this summer. These are the games that a former Olympic silver medallist, Greg Joy, has called "a questionable competition". He also said that "It's not much of an athletic event. It's certainly not the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games. It's the language games". Another former Olympian said that "...if you're from New Brunswick, you're on the team."

Canada will also be spending money flying in athletes from other countries for these Francophone Games. Some of these countries, by the way, have better facilities than we do in Canada.

Only in Canada would the country pay the way of athletes from another country for a questionable competition while asking our own athletes to pay their own way to a World championships.

MPP Gary Guzzo said that the $18-million-plus in tax-payers money being spent on these Games would have been better-spent on our cash-strapped athletes in Sydney. He also stated that he would sooner see the money go towards university athletics and training centers for our own athletes. This brings up the issue of the lack of a training center for track and field in the nation's capital. Ottawa is the only city of any size in Canada that does not have an indoor track. In fact, we have regressed in Ottawa. For years we did have a facility, albeit second class. Some years ago the City took it away.

In the past few months I have spoken with several Ottawa area track and field athletes. One of them trains by running in the concrete tunnels at Carleton. She suffers from chronic shin splints. Others have gotten stress fractures from training on other than proper surfaces. The only time these athletes can put their spikes on is when they go to a track meet where they are competing against athletes who do have access to facilities.

We would not expect a hockey team to practice on the canal or a basketball team to train on an outdoor playground in the winter or swimmers to train in a bathtub - why do we expect our track athletes to train in third-world conditions? Track and Field is the anchor sport of the Olympics. How is it that we can bid for the 2008 Olympics but cannot provide for our athletes?

Today's news carries a story "Africa could aid Toronto bid Canada to expand sports funding program for countries whose votes have been key in IOC selection of past two Olympic hosts" Sheila Copps is quoted as saying:"...we are going to launch an aid program for African sport development." How about launching a program for Canadian sport development?

The solution is very simple - less talk, more action. Show us the money! The government should provide funding for facilities, athletes and coaches and get out of the way. Let the associations do their jobs. We might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Part-Time Obsession Becomes Full-Time Job
Ficker Selected for National Program
In this article in the Washington Post, it is reported that Pam Ficker, 24, from Potomac has been selected for a nine-month stint at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The program is funded by the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Triathlon.
I cannot help but contrast this with what is happening in Canada. Our triathletes are financing their own training camps. Our cross country runners have to pay their own way to the World XC championships in Dublin, Ireland.
In the meantime our government seems to have the funds for the Francophonie Games, a political convention, which includes paying the way of athletes from foreign countries, some of which, by the way, have better training facilities than Canada does.
Oh Canada!

"If we raise by 10 per cent the Canadian average in sport participation, you save up to $5 billion in health care costs per year," Denis Coderre, Canada's Sports Minister. "So it is an asset."
Golf overtakes hockey as Canada's top sport, but overall participation down.
February 17, 2001
RW Comment: This is 1970s stuff. The question is, "Why have successive governments not done something to increase sports participation?"
As an example, Ottawa could use an indoor track.

The federal government has set a limit of $250,000 in helping national sports federations stage world championship events.
Feds will help stage events
February 13, 2001
RW Comment: I guess the Francophone Games are not considered a "world championship" event because they got $18 million!

Sports minister looking for more funding
CBC Report February 8, 2001
February 12, 2001
RW Comment on all the blather coming from Coderre: "If talk and ego were money our amateur sports program would be well funded."
There is no substance in this report that has not been discussed 25 years ago.
It is laughable to see our politicians "discover" that the Australians have a good model. If they listened to our athletes they could have discovered this 4 years before Sydney.
Athletics in Canada deserves more than our current politicians are capable of giving.
They could start with an indoor track for Ottawa, the nation's capital. With what has been spent on the Francophone Games, Ottawa could have had a field house that could have become a national training center, hosted championship meets, served the area's Olympic calibre athletes, two universities and a community college, and many of the area's fitness buffs...and inspired our youth to pursue their Olympic dream.
Instead we get what Olympic silver medalist Greg Joy calls "the language games".
Oh Canada....

Ontario sport conference calls for sport in schools, more funding
January 22, 2001
"Making physical education a mandatory part of school curriculum and getting more money from lotteries into amateur sports were two of several recommendations that came out of the Ontario Regional Conference on Sport that concluded Sunday. "
As Homer would say "Duh!". How much did this conference cost to produce this startling revelation?

Only in Canada You Say....
January 19, 2001
The December 2nd editorial referred to the fact that the majority of our Cross Country team have been asked to contribute around $2,500 towards their expenses to go to the World Cross Country Championships this year.
Athletics Canada has just confirmed that this is the case.
They have also confirmed that all funding will be paid for three (3) teams from Canada (Quebec and New Brunswick) for the Francophone Games this summer? These are the games that a former Olympic silver medallist, Greg Joy, has called "a questionable competition". He also said that "It's not much of an athletic event. It's certainly not the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games. It's the language games".
MPP Gary Guzzo said that the $18-million-plus in tax-payers money being spent on these Games would have been better-spent on our cash-strapped athletes in Sydney.
He also stated that he would sooner see the money go towards university athletics and training centers for our own athletes.
Canada will also be spending money flying in athletes from other countries for these Francophone Games.
Only in Canada would the country pay the way of athletes from another country for a questionable competition while asking our own athletes to pay their own way to a World championships. Canada?
December 9, 2000
Fair play, not winning, is bottom line
"Doping is cheating and cheating is the antithesis of sports," Dubin said in an interview. "But it is just as important, maybe even more important, to stress ethics and fair play to young people at a very early age."
Comment: Sounds great but maybe we should start at the top and teach the meaning of the word "ethics" to Canada's Ethics Commissioner.

Pay Your Own Way If You're A Canadian Athlete
December 2, 2000
Today's Sun reports that only the winners of the Canadian Cross Country Championships will get their way paid to the World Cross Country Championship in Ireland next year.
This means that 5 out of the 6 team members have to raise about $2,500 each to represent their country.
In the meantime our sports civil servants and politicos are running around the country trying to find out what their job is.
It's simple stupids - "Show us the money!"
The excesses of the first class travel, plush hotels, etc. spent by our politicians and their flunkeys going to the Olympics could have been put to better use paying the way of these deserving athletes.
To understand our sports minister, consider this: From August of this year in which he wanted to spend $5 million on "feel-good" advertising instead of spending it on the athletes.

Get A Grip Athens!
November 21, 2000
The Athens Olympic Committee, which is in danger of losing the next Olympic Games, has other priorities. They are threatening legal action against web sites such as the Runner's Web who provide links to the official Games site, or even use such phrases as "Olympic Games, Olympiad, Athens 2004, etc..".
One would think that they had better things to do.
The Atlanta and Sydney Games had no such concerns but then they obviously were focussing on the important issue of organizing the Games.

Qualifying Standards
November 18, 2000
Randy Starkman's Column "Why is it that such high qualifying standards are set for Olympic athletes in this country and no similar measure is applied to our sports officials?"
This could be extended to the Minister for Sport. What are his qualifications?

October 22, 2000
Coderre pushes for tax break on sports gear.
The message was straightforward: "You ain't seen nothing yet".
No one can question the truth of that statement. We haven't seen anything yet but a lot of talk.
How do you spell "election".
Studies are not needed, money is.
Less talk, more money.

September 7, 2000
Ottawa Citizen Headline:
PM's Wife in 27-Member Delegation Going to Olympics.
How many athletes did we leave at home in Canada that could have gone to the Olympics and done something sport related?
Our cross country skiers are reduced to posing nude for a calendar as a fund-raising activity towards the 2002 Winter Olympics and yet we have the money for this entourage.
Only in Canada, pity...

Corporate Donors
August 29, 2000
A record 161 athletes will represent Canada in the Paralympic Games which begin in October, following the Sydney Olympics. And for the first time ever, they won't have to pay to get there.
The federal government, along with several corporate sponsors, are picking up the tab.
``I was disgusted to find out they had to pay $1,500 to get there,'' said Federal Sports Minister Denis Coderre.
Many Canadians have been "disgusted" for years about the fact that this has been common practice. Earlier this year Canada lost one of our top women distance runners who left Canada to compete for the UK for this very reason.
Is the Minister really aware of what is going on in sport in Canada. Comments like the ones above would indicate not.
If we sent fewer "officials" and politically selected people to these games, perhaps we could sent more athletes.

Olympic flag bearer says she's forced to use overseas sites
August 18, 2000
A very interesting comment. Perhaps our Minister responsible for sport has his priorities wrong. Rather than focusing on the language issue for the section of flag-bearers and training sites, he should take action to provide proper training facilities.

Australian community adopts Canadian Olympic rowing team
August 21, 2000
What does our Minister responsible for sport have to say about this? Is he embarrassed? Can we really not afford to do a better job with facilities for sport?
Or can we expect him to complain that the site is not certified bilingual?

Brunet Selected as Flag Bearer
August 16, 2000
To no one's surprise, Carolyn Brunet was selected as Canada's flag bearer for the Sydney Olympics. Caroline's athletic qualifications warrant her selection but the fuss being made over her being bilingual calls into question the selection process.
Yesterday's press conference, if anything, tilted towards the French language as it was held at the downtown Roots store. "I felt everything was perfect," said secretary of state/amateur sport Denis Coderre. "It was perfect..."
Is being bilingual now a requirement to be named flag bearer. If not why is so much being made of it?
One wonders if all 27 translators going to the Games were present at the press conference to make this announcement.

Nolden stays on as first female swimming coach
August 6, 2000
The re-appointment of Shauna Nolden as an Olympic swim team coach speaks volumes about all those people involved in the so-called process but it says even more about Ms. Nolden.
It is apparent to anyone with even superficial knowledge of this affair that Ms. Nolden is not the most qualified for the position she now occupies. That she would accept this position shows that she does not belong. Surely she knows that she does not merit being among so many who have earned their right to be there.
Elite two-sport star gets no federal support
July 10, 2000

There's just one thing bothering Canadian triathlete Carol Montgomery as she contemplates kick starting her country's march to the medal podium at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
She hasn't received a dime from the federally funded Canadian sports system and in fact went into debt to support her career.

Coderre covets Olympic rings
June 27, 2000

Now it appears that the federal government, despite its pathetic record of supporting amateur sport, wants to take it over completely.
Given their track record at HRDC, DND, etc. one can imagine the complete chaos they would bring to sport.
If only they would just shut up and pay up.
Show us the money!

CIAU members unite to allow athletic scholarships
June 19, 2000

This is the first step on the slippery slope to what has happened in the US. Instead of varsity sports being an extra-curricular activity for legitimate students who are at the university primarily to get an education, we are on the way to the semi-professional athlete who takes classes and "maintains" whatever academic standards he needs for the sole purpose of remaining eligible to play sports.
The jocks at Canadian universities will soon have the power of a Bobby Knight.

Feds to offer centres help with language

Funny how the federal government can always find money for the promotion of French but cannot support the majority of our Olympic athletes.
Bilingualism is NOT an Olympic sport.

Coderre's excellent cross-country adventure examines ways to spend $80-million

It seems obvious that the wrong people are being invited to provide advice for the Minister responsible for sport.
Comparisons to other countries are ridiculous; other countries provide support via facilities and funding for athletes to help them reach the Olympic standard. After that some of them provide cash incentive for medals.
What part of this does our sports bureaucracy not understand. Is something getting lost in the translation?
Send an email to the Minister - "Money for facilities and funding to help athletes get to the Olympics. Then and only then - cash incentives for medals" Email him at:

Opinion split on cash rewards to athletes
May 26, 2000

Who is advising the Minister responsible for sport? Can't these people grasp the fundamental concept that our athletes need support to make it to the Olympic standard.
Cash for medals, while it would be well received by those few, elite athletes in a position to earn it, should come after the government starts providing a decent level of support on at least a four year cycle to assist the athletes who need it the most.
Susanne Dendenault, chair of Athletes Can, a group representing Canadian amateur athletes, fears creation of an elitist attitude that recognizes only winning. "I don't think we want to send the wrong message that it's only winning that counts," said Dendenault, a Winnipeg weightlifter who missed qualifying for the Olympics. "Unless we support the process, the sweat and agony that goes into it before hand, the results won't be there."
The countries that do provide cash for medals also provide a much higher level of support to athletes on an ongoing basis. They also provide decent facilities, something lacking in Canada. Ottawa, our capital, does not even have an indoor track facility. Our one outdoor facility has been torn up for the summer, in an Olympic year, to prepare for next year's political Francophone Games, a 3rd rate athletic event.
Can't anyone here play this game?

Francophone Games Kill Terry Fox Track for 2000
May 6, 2000

The 2001 Francophone Games, a third rate political event coming to Ottawa next year, have caused the ripping up of Ottawa's only track and field training site for the essence of the 2000 season.
Last Thursday the track was ripped up. What could have been done last fall (when originally scheduled), or this fall - after the 2000 season - was done at the start of the most important year in the past four, an Olympic year. Quite possibly the politicians who made this decision are not even aware of the Olympic Games. Several major track meets which had been scheduled for Ottawa had to be moved to other sites. Local athletes trying to prepare for the Olympics are left out in the cold.
If the Francophone Games were a serious event as opposed to a copy-cat Commonwealth Games it would not be so bad - but losing the only track center in an Olympic year so a bunch of third world dictators can be entertained by Ottawa really sucks.
Only in Canada, you say..."Phoney" is the word for it.

Government ponders plan to reward athletes
April 11, 2000

This government just doesn't get it. Our amateur athletes need assistance to get to the Olympics more than they need cash awards for winning medals there. Doesn't anybody in government play this game? Don't they ever talk to anyone who does?
To keep the finances in context, the department responsible for sport, Heritage, is the same department that cannot account for a 4.8 million dollar grant to some make-believe organization in Quebec that was supposed to save Quebec from the separatists.

A Pittance for Amateur Sport - March 2000

Today's announcement (of an impending announcement) of increased funding for amateur sport is a step in the right direction but only a baby step. With the money that is being spent for the 3rd world, 3rd rate Francophone Games (or any number of other federally funded boondoggles) the government could have done something substantial for amateur sport. When Pan American Games gold medal winners are getting zero support from their country something is wrong with the government's priorities.
If you support amateur sport it's time to say so.
Email our minister responsible for sport, Mr. Denis Coderre at or Prime Minister Chretien at PM@PM.GC.CA.

No Money For Sport in Budget - March 2000

Another budget, again there is no money for amateur sport. With the NHL subsidy fiasco still in the background and 'Shovelgate' uncovering hundreds of millions of wasted expenditures the federal government could not find any money for our current and future Olympians.
If you support amateur sport it's time to say so.
Email our minister responsible for sport, Mr. Denis Coderre at or Prime Minister Chretien at PM@PM.GC.CA.

World Marathon Times - February 2000

In 1999 up to the Honolulu Marathon, men marathoners broke 2:10 63 times and women broke 2:28 43 times. The 100th fastest times were 2:11:09 for men and 2:31:19 for women. World records head the list with Khalid Khannouchi's 2:05:42 and Tegla Loroupe's 2:20:43.
Only one American man, David Morris (2:09:32), and one woman, Libbie Hickman (2:28:34), made it into their respective top 100 lists.
What is up with American marathoning performance?
Maybe it's all the focus on cross-training and junk-bars, ades and gels.

The GDR and Steroids - February 2000

The Runner's Web editor visited the GDR in 1977 as part of a group of Western coaches and sports officials, the first such group to be allowed into the GDR. This was roughly one year after the GDR's phenomenal results in the Montreal Olympics. We spent three weeks there visiting their sporting facilities and speaking with everyone involved in sport. We also watched their Youth Olympics, a 16 and under replica of the real Olympics.

We were told point blank that the GDR's success was "not just the steroids, but the result of an overall program". Contrary to the widespread grassroots participation myth we found that their program was totally elitist. They recruited at a very young age for their special sports schools. A reward was offered to anyone who brought to their attention, any young athlete that they had missed. Athletes were tracked against an age/performance standard in each sport and if they did not measure up they were either returned to general population or transferred to another sport where they might have success.

We met Kornelia Ender, who had won 5 gold medals in Montreal, and found that she was in a "downtraining" program and lost all of the bulk the steroid program had given her.

While we were there we were interviewed by Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes fame as part of story they were doing on the GDR and Sport.

Doug Gilbert was there while we were visiting and he was treated like a VIP. He had access to facilities and people that we did not. In fact, one day while touring a site we asked what a large, low-rise building was and were told it was a "warehouse". When we recounted this to Doug later he laughed and told us it was, in fact, their Sports Data Centre. where they stored complete physiological profiles on all of their elite athletes.

When we left there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the GDR had been using steroids systematically for years and it was, in fact, "only a part of their total program". It was obvious to us that the GDR would do anything to be successful in sport as this was one way they could try to take the average citizen's mind off the atrocious conditions the average person had to endure.

Ottawa's Mooney's Bay Track Gone for the 2000 Season - January 2000

It seems that the City of Ottawa was not able to coordinate renovations at the Terry Fox track (for the 2001 "Francophone" Games) with keeping the track available for training and competitions in an Olympic year. Major meets scheduled for Ottawa including the National Junior Championships, the Ontario "Super Meet" and the Ontario Combined Events Championships,have all had to be re-located.
Why these renovations could not have been accomplished last fall or this fall remains a mystery.
Given a choice they should have relocated the "Francophone" games and left the track alone.

Support for Canada's Amateur Athletes - January 2000

Canada's amateur athletes must be the most under-funded of any western country. Tales of athletes living on KD and paying their own way to international championships to represent Canada are commonplace.
Now that the Canadian government has demonstrated that they have $100 million of unallocated cash, which they were prepared to give to millionaire NHL owners and players, perhaps they can re-direct some of this money towards amateur sports.
If you would like to suggest to our government that this might be worth considering, email our minister responsible for sport, Mr. Denis Coderre at or Prime Minister Chretien at PM@PM.GC.CA.

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