Saturday, March 02, 2002

Letters to the Editor, Toronto Star, March 2, 2002

Party money a big waste

Re Ottawa plans party for athletes, Feb. 27.

I read with interest the article in which Sheila Copps announced plans to throw a big bash for our Olympic athletes. I don't suppose it ever occurred to Copps that the money would be better spent in increased financial aid to our amateur athletes.

The sad fact is that any international success our athletes have enjoyed has occurred in spite of the federal government and the Canadian private sector. We do, however, lead the world when it comes to commissions studying the state of amateur athletics. I dare say that if half the cash that we spend on government studies on the state of amateur sports was simply paid out to our athletes, then more of our young people would be inclined to devote years of their lives to the Olympic dream.

James E. Agnew


Friday, March 01, 2002

Events which are continuing to unfold in the area of doping in the recent Winter Olympics would indicate that Beckie Scott had it right and Dick Pound was out to lunch with their comments during the Games.

I was shocked to hear Pound's comment that since there were no or only a few positive tests this meant that that progress was being made in the war against drugs in sport. To equate a lack or scarcity of positive tests with reduced doping is idiotic. One only has to reflect back on our Canadian history and consider how long doping was rampant in Canadian sprinting before Ben Johnson's drug doctor made a mistake resulting in Johnson testing positive. Beyond that one can look at the German Democratic Republic. Despite the fact that doping was a fundamental part of their sports system they never had an athlete test positive at an international meet.

Beckie deserves the gold in her ski event (since the two Russians in front of her tested positive) and another one for speaking out. Her performance in this regard was one of the highlights of the Games as far as I was concerned.