CALGARY — Catriona Le May Doan says she’s ready to mentor and shield Canada’s athletes at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist in speedskating was named Canada’s 2022 chef de mission Tuesday by the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Le May Doan won gold in the 500 metres in 1998 and 2002. She became the first Canadian to successfully defend an Olympic title.
The 49-year-old from Saskatoon lives in Calgary, where she’s president and chief executive officer of Sport Calgary.
The four-time Olympian worked as a CBC and CTV Olympic commentator since retiring from her sport.
Le May Doan served on the Canadian team’s mission staff in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
She was a lead athlete mentor working alongside chef de mission Isabelle Charest, from whom Le May Doan inherits the job.
“It was a great experience in 2018 being on the mission team. I knew that I wanted to do more than that,” Le May Doan told The Canadian Press.
“It really does kind of complete my Olympic circle, having been athlete, media and mission team. It was something I really wanted, I think maybe more than I even understood.”
Canadian athletes won 29 medals, including 11 gold, to rank third behind Norway and Germany in the overall medal count in Pyeongchang.
The chef de mission, or “head of mission”, is an ambassador for the entire team leading into and during the Games.
Once a role given to Canadian sport administrators, the volunteer position is now filled by former Olympic athletes.
Champion rower Marnie McBean is Canada’s chef for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Previous chefs include cyclist Curt Harnett (2016), skier Steve Podborski (2014), swimmer Mark Tewksbury (2012), speedskater Nathalie Lambert (2010) and diver Sylvie Bernier (2008).
“Catriona has huge credibility and respect in the sport and broader community, is an inspiring leader and is passionate about sport and the Olympic movement,” COC president Tricia Smith said in a statement.
“Between her vast experience in the world of sport, her integrity and the way she consistently lives the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship, we are all extremely fortunate and excited to have Catriona as chef for Beijing 2022.”
In addition to mentorship, the chef de mission also deals with Canadian team issues that can erupt into a firestorm.
When Le May Doan claimed her first gold medal in Nagano, Japan, Canadian chef Bill Wakelin dealt with snowboarder Ross Rebagliati being stripped of his gold medal because he tested positive for marijuana.
The medal was reinstated before the closing ceremonies because marijuana wasn’t on the prohibited list of banned substances.
Le May Doan carried Canada’s flag into the 2002 opening ceremonies in Salt Lake City, where chef Sally Rehorick got little sleep because of a figure-skating judging scandal.
Canadian pair Jamie Sale and David Pelletier performed what many believed was the superior free skate, but were given lower marks and a silver medal behind a Russian duo.
The controversy burned and kept Canada front and centre at the Games until a duplicate set of gold medals were awarded to Sale and Pelletier.
“There’s stuff in every Games for sure. In certain ways for me, it was good because it took attention away from me,” Le May Doan recalled. “There’s so much pressure you put on yourself.
“When things are good, the chef steps aside and says the focus is on the athlete and that’s what the Games are about.
“But when things are stressful, if there’s some situation you have to deal with, the chef’s role is to then stand in front of the team and be that spokesperson and take that sort of distraction away from the athletes.”
Canada’s winter-sport athletes are facing travel complications, postponement and cancellation of events and shortened seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada’s relationship with China is strained. Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 because of an extradition agreement with the United States.
China immediately arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who are still in custody.
Canada’s United Nations ambassador Bob Rae criticized China’s treatment of Uyghur people in The Globe and Mail this week.
In the same article, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology scholar Timothy Grose, who specializes in Chinese ethnic policy, suggested a boycott of the 2022 Olympics.
When Le May Doan bore Canada’s flag into the 2002 opening ceremonies, the man carrying the “Canada” placard in front of her was Brian Maxwell.
He wasn’t wearing a Canadian uniform, Le May Doan said, and Canada’s athletes didn’t know who he was
Maxwell was a Canadian marathoner who wasn’t allowed to race in the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow.
Canada had joined other countries in boycotting the Games over the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
“A boycott only hurts the athletes. It does not solve anything,” Le May Doan said.
“My role as chef and the athletes’ role is to prepare and then go to the Games to show Canadian values, to represent our country, to represent Olympic values on that world stage and build bridges between countries.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2020.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled Marine McBean’s first name.
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50-something Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr. hungry to fight again – CTV News
LOS ANGELES —
Mike Tyson stepped onto a spotlighted stage Friday and weighed in at 220 pounds, ripping off his shirt to reveal a muscled torso that could belong to an athlete of half his 54 years.
The former heavyweight champion moved into a COVID-protective glass box and went nose-to-nose with Roy Jones Jr., once the most talented fighter in the world. Jones’ 210-pound frame was slightly less toned, but still clearly in better condition than most of his fellow 51-year-olds.
These two boxing greats are older, calmer men now, but they’re returning to the ring Saturday night intending to recapture a moment of their brilliant past — and they’ve both worked very hard to make sure they won’t be embarrassed in this extraordinary boxing exhibition.
“This is the fun part,” said Tyson, who will fight for the first time in 15 years. “Everything else to get here was hell.”
Their fight at Staples Center is an eight-round sparring session of sorts. It will have two-minute rounds, no official judging and limited violence, although the limit depends on whether you’re asking the California State Athletic Commission or the fighters, who both intend to let their hands go.
“Maybe I don’t know how to go easy,” Tyson said. “I don’t know. I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I don’t want the commission mad at me.”
But for Tyson and Jones, this unique pay-per-view show is less of a sporting event and more of a chance for two transcendent athletes to prove age is a number — and aging is a choice.
“I don’t look at life as age,” Tyson said. “I look at life as energy. You don’t bring your age to the table. You bring your energy to the table. You don’t go meet people: `Hey, I’m Bob. I’m 59.’ You don’t do that.”
Tyson still seems surprised by the wave of events that carried him back to the ring. He admits the younger Tyson never would have believed he would be a middle-aged husband and father who needed to lose 100 pounds two years ago, because that headstrong kid from Brooklyn had never thought that far ahead.
“I didn’t even think I would live this long,” he said. “I was just so intense, and just took myself so serious.”
Tyson got back into shape at the urging of his wife, who got him to start doing 15 minutes a day on the treadmill. The 15 minutes turned into two hours, and then expanded to biking, running and eventually punching, along with the adoption of a vegan diet.
“Never eat anything,” he said with a laugh. “Just starve and exercise.”
The momentum started when he posted video of a training session on social media early in the coronavirus pandemic, and his crisp, powerful punches led to millions of impressions and a subsequent stream of increasingly lucrative comeback offers, along with the chance to raise money for charities.
“This is a part of my life that I had pretty much thrown away,” Tyson said. “My last fight, I didn’t have any interest in doing it. I’m interested in doing it now.”
Tyson is referring to his loss to journeyman Kevin McBride in 2005, when he finally wrapped up his singular career in ugly fashion. He became the heavyweight champion at 20 and reigned over the division for five years, but his epic downfall soured him on the sport.
“I want to do it now,” Tyson said. “Most of the time I was obligated to do it from a contract perspective: `If you don’t do this, we’ll take everything you have, and you’ll be back in Brownsville.’ They were blackmailing me. It’s a different perspective now.”
While Tyson became an international icon for his brutish, dangerous image and numerous misbehaviours, Jones was widely revered as perhaps the most skilled boxer of his generation. Jones was a preternaturally gifted athlete who dominated his weight classes while still pursuing his passion for basketball.
Nate Robinson was a rookie guard for the Knicks in 2005 when Jones participated in a full practice with the team.
“I was freaking out,” said the 36-year-old Robinson, no stranger to freakish athletic feats as a three-time winner of the NBA Slam Dunk contest at 5-foot-9. “That was one of the highlights of my life, to be able to rub shoulders and hoop with one of your favourite boxers.”
Jones fought regularly throughout the 2010s, but thought he was finally retired two years ago. When he got an offer to be the opponent in Tyson’s comeback, Jones couldn’t resist the chance to fight a legend he never got to meet during a career spent mostly at light heavyweight.
So Jones embarked on his own comeback training regimen.
“It’s been the craziest thing you ever could have imagined,” Jones said. “I can’t believe I’m able to maintain my speed at 51 years old. I’m still faster than 95% of the boxing world, and it shocks me. The aches and pains are there because you’re 50, and they’re going to be there no matter what you do. You just have to have a mental strength to overcome an adversity.”
Tyson and Jones are returning to a new world of boxing fandom and consumption. This show is being promoted by Triller, a video-making app and social media platform, with a fight-night show featuring performances by several rappers, a surprisingly solid undercard and a co-main event pitting Robinson in his professional boxing debut against YouTube star Jake Paul.
Robinson and Paul both seem appropriately awed by the circumstances of their bout.
“You’ve got to remember, I’m 23, and this is the first time that people my age will be able to experience a Mike Tyson fight live,” Paul said. “I can’t believe I’m a part of it.”
Neither Tyson nor Jones is likely done with boxing after this show. Jones said he hopes to fight mixed martial arts legend Anderson Silva next “if this one goes well,” while Tyson will go wherever this strange trip takes him next.
“Me being here is already a success,” Tyson said. “Me just existing as a human being is a success.”
Scott Stinson: Blue Jays fans may not miss the Rogers Centre, but don't expect them to pay for replacement – National Post
Article content continued
Could a similar scenario play out in Toronto? The specifics might be different but the end result the same: a big and complicated vision gets whittled down into more acceptable parts, and a lot of horse-trading ensues involving cost and land use and eventually a baseball stadium emerges at the end. Maybe it’s next to the Rogers Centre, maybe it’s somewhere else on the waterfront that is presently being imagined for better things.
The thing to remember as the process plays out is that Rogers has a baseball stadium that it already owns, and which it bought, at 15 years old, for less than five per cent of its construction cost. If it wants to replace it, that should be a project that is entirely up to Rogers management and its shareholders. The stadium gambit inevitably includes an appeal to public money to help with up-front costs, or tax breaks on the back end, or sweet land arrangements, or some combination of all three. Sure, that stuff benefits the team owners, but hey: New stadium! Outfield beer garden! Woo!
Already there are probably Blue Jays fans who are dreaming of a PNC Park North or an Oracle Park East — the lovely waterfront stadiums of Pittsburgh and San Francisco — and who would be fine if a few tax dollars went to that instead of filling potholes.
But that’s just the trap that the team owners set. Of course it would be nice if the Blue Jays replaced their fusty old dome. And if they do, the public should be willing to support it in one specific way, and one way only: by buying tickets.
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