At the outset these intentions may be wholesome: e.g. become a great athlete, coach athletes to their greatness, or in the case of sport organizations to assist athletes & coaches in their pursuits. The devil is in the details and it is the details of how an athlete pursues their potential, how coaches assist athletes to pursue their potential, and how sport organizations pursue their own agendas (e.g. Own The Podium, reputation, funding) where noble pursuits become the devil’s playground: when fear of failure on the part of athlete, coach, or organization takes over and when the temptation for results at any cost becomes overwhelming, abuse becomes the rationalized hence acceptable ‘means to an end’.
Only when we have gone too far down this rationalized path (aka “rational lies”) do we realize that lines have been crossed that should never have been crossed; and it is then when the devil truly reveals himself: will abuse be admitted to so that the healing and restoration can begin, or is the abuse denied with efforts and energy focused on hiding evidence and silencing those who speak up so that the pretense that ‘all is well’ is maintained… you know… for the sake of reputation.
Its time that the cycle and the culture that allows, permits, and encourages athlete abuse is made known… widely known, so that athletes, parents of young age group athletes, coaches and most importantly sport associations and organizations are all in the position to act appropriately to minimize the chances of additional cases of abuse.
This topic will be divided into two posts…
The first post provides quotes from recent cases of proven athlete abuse and cases where allegations of abuse have been made. The quotes coming from these athletes are so powerful that I believe a standalone post is needed for simple quiet reflection. Their words are so powerful, nothing more is needed.
The second post will attempt to connect the dots: the pattern which is the cycle and culture of abuse which has been revealed through these cases and the stories of countless athletes before will be tied together into one continuous loop.
for easy reading click on images to enlarge
The athlete recruited by now fired UGuelph & Team Canada track coach Dave Scott-Thomas. Her father alerted both the University and Athletics Canada regarding the coach’s behaviour but got nowhere.
The athlete claimed to be the top female runner of her day recruited by Alberto Salazar with whom she trained as part of Nike’s Project Oregon.
Derek De Jong
Canadian swimmer recruited by Ohio State University whose case has been publicized by CBC.