Kelowna will be well-represented at the Tokyo Olympics this year.
On Saturday morning, Team Canada announced the 57 track and field athletes who will be competing at the Summer Games, including Kelowna’s Jerome Blake and John Gay. Kelowna’s Malindi Elmore was also named to Team Canada in early June.
Blake will be competing in the 4×100 relay, while Gay will be representing Canada in the 3,000-metre steeplechase.
Gay is coming off setting a Championship record in the event in Montreal last month.
Meanwhile, Elmore will be heading to her second Olympic Games competing in the marathon, 17 years after she competed at Athens 2004.
Thirty-three women and 24 men will make up Team Canada’s track and field squad at the summer Olympics this year, competing in 29 of the 48 events.
Last month, Kelowna’s Kierra Smith and Kelowna-born Taylor Ruck were also named to Team Canada in swimming.
The Olympics will run from Jul. 23 to Aug. 8 this year in Tokyo. More than 11,000 athletes from around the world are expected to be competing.
Rugby Canada fires coach over social media posts ridiculing the women sevens Olympic team – The Globe and Mail
Rugby Canada fired Jamie Cudmore, a former star player in charge of developing the next generation of talent, on Friday for a series of social media posts belittling the women’s sevens team.
His posts took aim at the sevens squad for its disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics.
Much had been expected of the Canadian women in Tokyo, given their performance in Rio and the fact they were tied with Australia on points for second in the World Rugby Sevens Series standings when the pandemic shut down the season last year.
But the Canadian women lost to Fiji and France after beating Brazil to miss out on the quarter-finals. Their next game in Tokyo is for ninth place.
Cudmore, an enforcer in the rugby field during his playing days, served as an assistant coach with the Canadian men’s 15s team and ran Rugby Canada’s national development academy.
The fact that the comments came from within has added to a year of turmoil for the governing body and the sevens women, who launched a formal complaint in January under Rugby Canada’s bullying and harassment policy.
Cudmore apologized for the posts but was relieved of his duties soon after. Rugby Canada called the posts “unacceptable and in breach of organization policy.”
“It was an emotional event for a good friend and I let that get the better of me,” Cudmore said on Twitter. “I’ve always played/coached with my heart on my sleeve for this great country. I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone.”
The good friend is former sevens coach John Tait.
In the wake of the complaint filed by 37 current and former team members, an independent review concluded that while the conduct described in the complaint reflected the experiences of the athletes, it did not fall within Rugby Canada’s policy’s definition of harassment or bullying.
Tait, while maintaining he had done nothing wrong, subsequently stepped down.
A former Canadian international, Tait was one of Rugby Canada’s most successful coaches, leading the sevens team to the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.
The controversy has divided Rugby Canada, with most of Tait’s staff leaving.
It appears Cudmore could not resist taking a shot at the women given their Olympic performance under interim coach Mick Byrne.
“Karma is a bitch! #Survivorsmyass,” read a since-deleted Cudmore tweet.
“Rugby Canada stands with our women’s 7s athletes,” the governing body said in its initial response on social media. “We support the team in their efforts both on and off the rugby pitch and are proud of the way they have represented our country. Rugby Canada is aware of recent social media comments made about the team and worked to ensure they were removed as quickly as possible.
“Our organizational values include solidarity and respect, and everyone on our staff is expected to help create an inclusive environment for all. We condemn any inappropriate comments directed at the team and our leadership will be meeting to address this matter immediately.”
Rugby Canada upped the ante hours later, relieving Cudmore of his duties. CEO Allen Vansen said in a series of tweets that the organization had concluded “that immediate action must be taken.”
“Rugby Canada’s core values, including integrity and respect, must be exemplified in all our rugby programs and we are determined to promote a healthy, inclusive culture now and in future,” Rugby Canada board chair Sally Dennis said in the statement.
Cudmore won 43 caps for Canada, playing in both the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. The 6-foot-5, 257-pound lock forward is one of Canada’s most famous exports – a hard man on the rugby pitch who was no stranger to suspensions for taking matters into his own hands on the field.
Several of Cudmore’s deleted tweets were captured and posted by sevens player Charity Williams.
“I wanted to take this moment to talk about our performance and how proud I am of this team beyond any result,” Williams wrote on Instagram. “Because I am, and what we accomplished this year is far greater than one weekend. What this team stands for and who we have become means that young female athletes across Canada can play their sport and feel safe. I’m proud of that.
“But instead I have to sit here once again and share what we’ve been going through as a team. The consistent hatred we have received from people in our own organization. I’m only sharing because this is what we have been dealing with for months. From private texts, to public stalking online and in person. The bullying and harassment that we have received for coming forward is outrageous and scary at times. This is the reason we called for an internal investigation because we haven’t been safe.”
In the wake of that probe, the players said they had been let down by Rugby Canada’s harassment and bullying policy – which has since been updated and replaced.
Rugby Canada says it plans a “detailed, independent review of all performance rugby programs starting next month with a goal of positioning teams for success in supportive, inclusive environments.”
Captain Ghislaine Landry also took to social media from Tokyo.
“We always knew this was about more than rugby, about more than one tournament, even if it’s the Olympics. We knew the last nine months might put our Olympic dream in jeopardy, we had that discussion as a group, and still the decision was clear. We were ready to put our dreams at risk for change.
“This has not been a distraction but it has taken a toll on us. And so, while we are heartbroken not to have been able to play our best, we are proud and united.”
In a statement released April 28, the players said their complaint “explained the psychological abuse, harassment and/or bullying these athletes feel they were subjected to in the centralized training environment.”
Nigerian sprinter Okagbare out of Olympics after testing positive for human growth hormone – CBC.ca
Nigerian sprinter and 2008 Olympics long jump silver medallist Blessing Okagbare on Saturday was provisionally suspended after testing positive for human growth hormone before the Tokyo Olympics, the Athletics Integrity Unit said in a statement.
The 32-year old, who has also won world championship medals in the 200-metre and the long jump and is competing in her fourth Olympics, had comfortably won her 100-metre heat on Friday with a time of 11.05 seconds, qualifying for Saturday’s semifinal.
She was also due to compete in the 200, and the 4×100-metre relay.
“The athlete was notified of the adverse analytical finding and of her provisional suspension this morning in Tokyo,” the AIU said.
The unit said she tested positive in an out-of-competition test on July 19 and was informed of her suspension on Saturday.
This is the latest blow for Nigeria’s athletics team after 10 track-and-field athletes were ruled as ineligible for the Tokyo Games three days ago for failing to meet minimum testing requirements.
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On the list of banned substances, human growth hormone reduces body fat, increases muscle mass and strength and helps in recovery, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Okagbare’s silver medal from the Beijing Games was a result of her being upgraded in 2017 after the International Olympic Committee disqualified Russian athlete Tatyana Lebedeva due to a doping offence. She had originally finished third in that long jump competition.
WATCH | The 100-metre dash, explained:
Canada’s Kylie Masse wins silver in 200m backstroke at Tokyo Olympics – Sportsnet.ca
TOKYO — Kylie Masse has won her second medal of the Tokyo Olympics with a silver medal in the women’s 200-metre backstroke.
The 25-year-old from LaSalle, Ont., finished in two minutes 5.42 seconds on Saturday — behind Kaylee McKeown (2:04.68) and ahead of Emily Seebohm (2:06.17), both of Australia.
The Canadian women’s swim team has generated five medals in Tokyo, including Masse’s other silver in the 100-metre backstroke on Tuesday.
“I know I have high expectations of myself, but I’m really happy to have gotten on the podium a second time at an Olympic Games,” Masse said.
She has a chance at a third medal as she’s expected to swim the backstroke leg of the women’s medley relay on Sunday.
Masse led at 150 metres in the 200, but was caught at the wall by McKeown.
“I knew it was going to come down to the last bit,” Masse said. “I think maybe from how I felt, my stroke rate maybe slowed down a bit at the end.
“I’ll have to look back on the race and talk to the coaches, but that was a best time for me, a Canadian record, so I have to be pleased with that.”
Masse’s Canadian teammate Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C., finished sixth with a time of 2:08.24.
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