Imagine dreaming for years that you would one day represent your country at the Olympics.
Imagine training for years, and years, and years in pursuit of that dream.
Imagine training with a team that Swim Ontario ‘delists’ rendering you and all your teammates in swimming limbo.
Imagine having to find another team at the last moment that would allow you to swim under their name so that you have the chance to compete at Canadian Olympic Trials and have a chance at your dream, a chance at testing out all your years of training.
Imagine qualifying for the Olympics, qualifying for the Canadian National Team.
Now imagine, being alone, absolutely alone at the Olympics Games because of who was your coach.
Imagine being made to pay the price for someone else: Swim Ontario and Swimming Natation Canada wanted your coach eliminated so desperately from the sport that they enlisted the sports media to repeatedly perform public character assassinations in hopes it would end their career, would force them to leave Canada. Their attempts failed, so because you qualified for the Olympics, and because you were affiliated with that coach, you became their target… and nowhere else but at the Olympics.
Imagine being surrounded by coaches of the Canadian Olympic team and no one willing to talk to you, help you, no one willing to be there for you.
Imagine coaches so threatened, so terrified, so fearfilled because of a last minute policy implemented by SNC & SO that would expel any coach from the sport if found associating with you.
Imagine being at the Olympics, alone.
Despite all the attempts to prevent you from getting to Trials, to qualifying for the National Team, to getting to the 2012 London Olympics Games… imagine still doing what you came to do in London: deliver a peak performance.
With winds of hate, of anger swirling around, winds which wanted her Olympic flame blown out…
she stood – strong – because no wind was going to blow out her Olympic fire.
This Olympian qualified for the A finals of her event, and in those finals she finished 8th. She didn’t return to Canada with a medal, but I believe she was the athlete who demonstrated the truest meaning of the Olympic spirit, she is the Olympian from the 2012 London Games I admire most.
It isn’t the medal that counts, its the character of the individual wearing the medal. This athlete needs no medal because there is no medal that can celebrate her strength of character.
Perhaps Swimming Natation Canada, Swim Ontario and all the coaches that went to London stood against this swimmer, but the athletes of Canada’s National Swim Team embraced her. They printed t-shirts to show their solidarity, making sure this Olympian knew she was one of them, that she was part of the team: the 2012 London team was dolphin friendly.
Its no longer about excellence in sport, its not even about swimming…
Imagine a sport where the leadership is so obsessed on retaining their authority that they will abuse their powers to keep clubs, coaches, and athletes in line to the point that they will attempt to destroy a Canadian athlete’s dream of representing their nation at the Olympics… while at the Olympics.
This is the leadership at Swimming Natation Canada (SNC) of Swim Ontario (SO).