Sunday, September 25, 2022

Canadian athletes, parents call for culture change in sports

Scales should be banned from children’s gyms. Parents should be allowed to watch. Rules of acceptable behavior should be posted on gym walls with a toll-free line to report violations.

They may seem like basic safety precautions for children at play, but they do not exist on a wide scale in Canada. Sports Minister Pascale Saint-Onge has called a safe sport a “crisis”, amid what many current and former athletes say is long overdue for cultural change in the country.

More than 1,000 athletes in gymnastics, boxing and bobsleigh/skeleton have called for independent investigations into their sports in recent weeks, and former gymnast Amelia Kline filed a proposed class-action lawsuit last week against Gymnastics Canada and six provincial federations Did.

The plaintiffs alleged abuse in 1978, claiming that the organizations created a culture and environment where abuse could occur and failed to protect the athletes, most of them minors, in their care.

Saint-Onge has said that they have received complaints about the misappropriation, misappropriation or misappropriation of funds leveled against at least eight national teams, including rugby and rowing.

The flood of stories has inspired conversations, shared experiences and suggestions for improvement.

Ciara McCormack was the football player who was the first to publicly accuse Canadian Under-20 women’s coach Bob Birarda of inappropriate behavior; He pleaded guilty in February to four sex offenses involving four different people.

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She added that parents “have to have access to their children’s training environments.” Some gymnastics facilities allow parents to watch.

McCormack also believes that non-disclosure agreements involving misconduct should be terminated, and make it mandatory to educate athletes and parents about what abuse looks like and how to report violations. He also suggested an athlete-led organization with a hotline and disciplinary procedures – similar to those of teachers or medical practitioners – where malpractice cases are reported and accessible.

“(National sports organizations) have taken advantage of all the power and all the resources which have resulted in huge losses, and I think it is important that the athletes are given the power, the resources and the voice in the system from the children. The national team Athletes of all kinds,” McCormack told The Canadian Press. “It’s long overdue.”

Kim Shore, a former gymnast and mother of a former gymnast, said she would like to see bathroom scales banned from the gym. Gymnasts have said that public weigh-ins left them years later around body image with serious emotional scars.

He also suggested a criminal registry. Several national sporting organizations, including Skate Canada and Athletics Canada, have suspended coaches and athletes listed on their websites.

But there are many holes, including the inability to track coaches at the ground level or even the provincial level. Coaches who have been suspended or allowed to leave quietly from a club, province or national team can often move on to another sport or another.

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In his 32-page proposed class-action lawsuit, Kline alleges that he suffered multiple injuries during training, including back and neck injuries, and fractures to his wrists, hands, fingers, and toes. She alleged that her coach, Vladimir Lashin, stretched her hamstring so much that it pulled away from her pelvis.

Kline told The Canadian Press that the staff at BC Children’s Hospital knew him by name.

“When they say, ‘Oh, it’s you again, you’re back,’ it’s kind of saying,” said Kline, who left the sport at age 14 and is now 32.

Lashin did not respond to a request for comment. He coached the Canada national team for the 2004 Athens Olympics. Gymnastics Canada appointed her the National Coach and High Performance Director of the Women’s Artistic Program in 2009. He resigned in 2010.

Sport Canada announced this week that its new office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC) will be operational from June 20. The Office will receive and address individual complaints of violations of the University Code of Conduct to prevent and address abuse in sport.

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