Catriona Le May Doan sounds as if she’s ready to do battle.
The Canadian Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that Le May Doan has been appointed chef de mission for Team Canada at the upcoming 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
“At times, the chef has to put on the armour and lead the team,” the two-time Olympic gold medallist in speed skating said from her Calgary home.
“The role is to lead and to defend and when our athletes shine the role of the chef is to step aside. It’s all about the athletes. Only an athlete knows the pressure of representing our country on the Olympic stage. I don’t know if you can put on the armour if you haven’t been an Olympic athlete.”
The pandemic and the uncertainty facing every athlete on the planet coupled with an increased social consciousness pervading the world of sport has caused universal upheaval on every field of play at all levels.
The Olympics, which were once counted on to provide a spectacular expression of humanity every two years, are now in question. They are facing major challenges to their relevance.
WATCH | Le May Doan familiar with Olympic pressure athletes face:
That’s why the choice of chef de mission — the person who essentially becomes the face of the Canadian Olympic team at any given Games — is so important.
“These are intelligent and thoughtful people who are alive to the issues that are going on in the world,” said COC president Tricia Smith, who had a hand in selecting Le May Doan. “[Le May Doan] is alive to the unique role that all of sport and the Olympic Games can play in bringing the people connection to the forefront.
“She’s someone who absolutely has earned credibility and respect of the athletes of the team and of all Canadians.”
Indeed, Le May Doan’s qualifications to lead are impeccable.
Paving way for others to follow
She’s competed at four Winter Games beginning in 1992 in Albertville, France with the last Olympic speed skating event contested on an outdoor oval.
In Lillehammer, Norway in 1994 she tasted bitter defeat when, as one of the favourites to win a medal in the 500-metre event, she fell and was eliminated.
Four years later at Nagano, Japan she claimed the gold medal in the sprint and added a bronze medal in the 1000m. Then having carried the Canadian flag into the opening ceremony at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, Le May Doan won gold again and became the first Canadian athlete, winter or summer, to successfully defend an individual Olympic title.
“It was at those Games that I would experience the most pressure I had ever faced in my life,” she recalled. “I was able to dig deeper emotionally and mentally than I even knew possible, and pave the way for others to follow.”
Following her retirement from the sport, Le May Doan became a broadcaster and then served as the lead mentor for the Canadian team at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. She is currently the president and CEO of Sport Calgary, a non-profit organization which delivers a bevy of sport and recreation to hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and ability in that community.
Her motivation for aspiring to the honourary and volunteer position as chef de mission is both altruistic and genuine.
“I want the athletes to experience the power of the Games as I did,” she said. “They will become the messengers who will take the ideal of hope and unity through sport back to all of our communities in Canada.”
Big shoes to fill
Le May Doan is the latest in an impressive line of Canadian champions to become chef de mission. Prior to 2008 and the Beijing Summer Games it was rare for an athlete to assume the position more frequently occupied by a sports administrator.
“We have a shared history with those currently competing and can truly understand what they need,” said Sylvie Bernier, the 1984 diving gold medallist who was Canada’s chef de mission the first time the Olympics were held in China a dozen years ago.
Mark Tewksbury, who won swimming gold at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, served as chef de mission 20 years later in London in 2012.
“The role is about leadership of our Olympic team,” Tewksbury said. “Canada is one of the few countries to have an athlete in this role. This is invaluable. Only an athlete who has been there can unite the team around them very quickly and use the chef de mission’s position as a competitive advantage.”
Short track speed skater and 1992 Olympic champion Nathalie Lambert was the high-profile chef de mission at the home Games in Vancouver/Whistler in 2010 where Canada won a then-record 14 gold medals.
“In my opinion we always need someone with great communication skills and an extensive knowledge of performing on demand,” Lambert said.
For her part, Marnie McBean, the three-time rowing gold medallist, has been patiently leading Team Canada’s expectant and nervously optimistic athletes through the pandemic toward the Tokyo Olympics, which have been delayed until the summer of 2021.
“I’ve been determined to normalize the path … the emotions and the roller-coaster ride that come with the ambition to be the best at the Olympics,” McBean said.
The chef de mission’s role has evolved into an inspirational one from a Canadian perspective. The chef is the example to follow. Le May Doan is well-aware of this reality in very strange times.
“With sport being taken away from us it’s more important than ever to show our communities, our country, and the world how sport can heal,” she said.
“Beijing will be an environment which is safe for our athletes. We’ll go representing Olympic values and Canadian Olympic values. If athletes want to have safe space to express what they believe, they’ll have safe space. The Olympics and the athletes wearing the Maple Leaf represent hope and will allow our youth to dream again.”
As it is with her immediate predecessors, Le May Doan believes the best recipe for success as Canadian chef de mission is an unwavering passion for the purpose of the entire Olympic movement.
Mahomes, Hill have huge day, Chiefs hold off Buccaneers – TSN
TAMPA, Fla. — When Tyreek Hill draws single coverage, Patrick Mahomes is going to find a way to get the ball to the Kansas City Chiefs’ most explosive receiver.
Mahomes threw for 462 yards, including touchdowns of 75, 44 and 20 yards to Hill, who finished with 13 catches for 269 yards in the reigning Super Bowl champions’ 27-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
“It feels good, you know, but I feel like there’s still a lot of work for me to do,” Hill said after going over 1,000 yards for the season.
“I’m always trying to get better, got to be consistent with what you do,” Hill added. “Those same people showing you love this week, you make a bad play next week, they’re going to hate you.”
Mahomes outplayed Tom Brady to win the fourth career matchup between the MVPs, completing 37 of 49 passes and holding the ball for more than 10 minutes without scoring on Kansas City’s last two possessions to put the game away.
Hill benefited from Sammy Watkins‘ return to the Chiefs lineup after being sidelined since Week 5 with a hamstring injury and got the best of a matchup with Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis, who often had no help trying to contain the speedy receiver.
“We don’t get that a lot, especially with that guy and his ability,” Mahomes said. “So when we do, we try to take advantage of it.”
Hill had seven catches for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone, joining Qadry Ismail (210 in the third quarter on Dec. 12, 1999) and Lee Evans (205 in the first quarter on Nov. 19, 2006) as the only NFL receivers since 1980 to have 200 yards worth of receptions in a single quarter.
The fifth-year pro’s last catch — an 8-yarder on third-and-7 in the final minute — gave Mahomes an opportunity to run out the clock.
“The last one, I learned a long time ago, you don’t give Tom Brady another shot,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s why he’s the G.O.A.T. So, don’t give them the ball back. That was the mindset there.”
The Chiefs (10-1) won their sixth straight game and clinched their seventh 10-win season in eight years under Reid.
The defending champs improved to 6-0 on the road and have won nine straight away from home going back to last year.
“Very very few guys that I’ve seen in this league or any league that can backpedal eight, nine, 10, 11 yards in the pocket and throw a dime 25 yards down the field,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said of Mahomes. “And he can read the defence as he does it. That makes him more explosive.”
Brady was 27 of 41 for 345 yards, three touchdowns and a pair of second-half interceptions in falling to 2-2 against Mahomes, who built an early 17-0 lead and also had the Chiefs up by 17 entering the fourth quarter.
The Bucs (7-5) made it close, with Brady throwing TD passes of 31 and 7 yards to Mike Evans, the latter trimming his team’s deficit deficit to 27-24 with 4:10 remaining.
Tampa Bay, which has lost three straight home games, never got the ball back.
“We battled back but we left ourselves a big deficit,” Brady said. “When you play a good offence we’ve got to do our job offensively and keep them off the field.”
The Chiefs led 20-7 at halftime. The Bucs were fortunate they weren’t in a bigger hole.
Kansas City ran 42 plays to Tampa Bay’s 22 in the first two quarters, outgaining the Bucs 377 yards to 131 with Mahomes throwing for 359 yards and Brady 117.
Three drives inside the Bucs 20, however, only netted a pair of short field goals. Shaquil Barrett sacked Mahomes, forcing a fumble that William Gholston recovered at the 14 with the Chiefs looking to build on a 17-0 lead.
Bashaud Breeland and Tyrann Mathieu picked off Brady. The Chiefs hurt themselves with a pair of roughing the passer penalties on the 10-play, 73-yard drive the six-time Super Bowl champion put together to close the gap to three points.
The loss comes on the heels of home defeats to New Orleans and the Los Angeles Rams, games in which Brady played poorly and left his new team searching for answers about the offence’s inconsistency.
Brady isn’t listening to critics, who feel the Bucs aren’t tailoring their scheme to what he’s done best during his career.
“Just external noise. When you’re losing that’s what you deal with,” Brady said. “I love playing with the guys, and the whole organization is unbelievable. I’ve just got to do a better job in the final four games.”
The Chiefs beat Tampa Bay for the first time since Sept. 5, 1993, when Joe Montana led Kansas City to a 27-3 victory. The Bucs had won five straight in a series the Chiefs lead 8-5.
Chiefs: LB Dorian O’Daniel suffered a right ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return.
Buccaneers: LG Ali Marpet returned to the lineup after missing three games because of a concussion. LT Donovan Smith was active after not practicing all week and being listed as questionable with an ankle injury suffered last week against the Los Angeles Rams.
Chiefs: Host Denver next Sunday night, the lone home game during a stretch that’ll see Kansas City play four of five on the road.
Buccaneers: Bye week.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Ravens-Steelers postponed for 3rd time, set for Wednesday – theScore
The AFC North showdown was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving but was pushed to Sunday before being moved to Tuesday.
The Steelers’ game against the Washington Football Team, which was scheduled for Sunday as part of the Week 13 slate, will now be postponed to Monday, Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. ET as a result. The San Francisco 49ers will also play the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.
The league also postponed the Ravens’ game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Week 13 matchup, which was initially set for Thursday night before being moved to Monday, has now been pushed to Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 8:05 p.m. ET.
|Game||Week||Original date||New date||Time (ET)|
|Steelers-Ravens||12||Nov. 26||Dec. 2||3:40 p.m.|
|Steelers-Washington||13||Dec. 6||Dec. 7||5 p.m.|
|Ravens-Cowboys||13||Dec. 3||Dec. 8||8:05 p.m.|
The postponements initially stemmed from a virus outbreak on the Ravens. The team placed 20 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The Steelers faced their own COVID-19 concerns. Running back James Conner and special teams coach Danny Smith tested positive, and multiple team members were isolated after being deemed high-risk close contacts.
Some Ravens players are still concerned about playing the delayed game, a source told Mark Maske of The Washington Post.
If the game takes place on Wednesday, it’ll be just the sixth game in NFL history to be played on that day, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. It last happened in the 2012 season opener between the New York Giants and Cowboys.
NFL moves Ravens-Steelers to Wednesday – TSN
The Baltimore Ravens’ struggle to contain an extended outbreak of the coronavirus forced their rescheduled game Tuesday night against the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers to be moved back to Wednesday afternoon.
It’s the third fix to a matchup originally slated to be played Thanksgiving night. The game will remain on NBC, but at 3:40 p.m. ET.
Also, the Steelers’ home game in Week 13 against Washington has been moved from Sunday to Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. The Ravens home game against Dallas will be on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 8:05 p.m. on Fox and NFL Network. It was originally set for Thursday night, then moved to Dec. 7.
Ravens-Steelers was moved back one more day for medical reasons, but now Baltimore gets some time for workouts. The NFL has permitted the Ravens to return to their facility on Monday night under doctors’ supervision, which is similar to what happened when the Tennessee Titans had a coronavirus outbreak earlier this season. The Titans got three days of workouts in that scenario.
The NFL announced the most recent switches Monday after the Ravens placed starters Matthew Judon, Willie Snead and Mark Andrews on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Although Baltimore also had four players return from that list, the team will still be severely short-handed when this game is finally played. But it will get back running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins from the COVID-19 list; they tested positive on Nov. 23
The addition of Judon, a standout linebacker, and Andrews, the leading receiver on the team, brings to seven the number of 2019 Pro Bowl players that Baltimore has placed on the COVID-19 list over the past week. But Ingram will be eligible to play at Pittsburgh, leaving 12 active players and one practice squad member on the list — including 2019 league MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Cornerback Terrell Bonds, who’s on injured reserve, was also added to the expansive list Monday.
There was a bit of other good news for Baltimore, which activated linebacker Jayson Ferguson, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and defensive tackle Broderick Washington from the COVID-19 list. Defensive back Iman Marshall was also activated, although he’s been on IR since tearing his right ACL in August.
The contest pitting two longtime rivals was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night before a rash of coronavirus cases among the Ravens forced the game to be postponed to Sunday. As Baltimore continued to stack up positive tests, the game was moved back to Tuesday night.
Now, perhaps, they’ll finally meet on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
The Ravens (6-4) will face the Steelers without several of their top playmakers, including Jackson, Andrews, and defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams.
The loss of Andrews and Snead will further hinder backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will be taking snaps from a third-string centre after Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura were placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
Andrews is a Type-1 diabetic, which makes COVID-19 potentially more dangerous. His loss should have an impact in that he leads Baltimore in receptions (38), yards receiving (454) and touchdown catches (6).
Andrews, Judon, Jackson, Ingram, Campbell, fullback Patrick Ricard and long snapper Morgan Cox were all selected to the Pro Bowl last season.
Judon owns Baltimore’s franchise tag. He is tied for the team lead with four sacks and has 34 tackles.
Snead has 17 catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns over the past four games.
The NFL’s last Wednesday game was the 2012 season opener between the Giants and the Cowboys, which was moved from a Thursday night because of a conflict with the Democratic National Convention, which was scheduled to have President Barack Obama speak on Thursday night.
“We understand that every team is going through something like this,” Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said. “Not to this extent, but we have to be ready for any situation. I think (coach Mike Tomlin) has laid out the plan. It’s up for us to follow it and it’s up for us to bounce back with it.”
Added Steelers tackle Zach Banner, who was injured in the season opener: “I’m gonna be healthy by the time we play this game.”
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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