As the Olympic flame was extinguished during Sunday's closing ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I join Canadians in offering Team Canada our thanks and praise. Beyond the thrill of watching elite competition, the past several weeks have delivered us inspirational moments and stories that now sit in our collective memory.
Dental injuries are the most common type of facial injury in sports; and as you get your children ready for their summer sport(s) activities, a mouth guard should be at the top of that list of equipment you need to get. They don't just protect the teeth, but also the mouth and jaw; areas that are not protected my regular helmets.
The Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games are poised to begin and the energy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is electric. As Canada's Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, I'm thrilled to attend the Games to cheer on our athletes. As a retired Paralympian, I know what the 314 Olympic athletes in Rio are feeling.
The IOC has informally encouraged sex-testing since the 1936 Olympics, and formally since the 1968 Games. From "visual exams" inspecting the genitals of female athletes to the testosterone-seeking sex tests of today, the IOC has a horrific history of misunderstanding and misusing science to simultaneously hurt women. Women who do not fit their policy can either undergo medical intervention to force their biology into that shoebox, or quit. Several young healthy women underwent a series of invasive procedures, including clitoral amputation, to remain in competitive sport. We need to let that sink in for a minute.
The International Olympic Committee has decided that one single determining factor, testosterone, is the latest and greatest marker for determining sex, even though research has shown there is no one single element than can be used to pigeonhole the world into two neat biological categories: male/female. This binary is an easy fiction that obscures the messier and more complicated details of real life.
What were once staples of daily living in our communities -- butchers, bakers, fishmongers, and greengrocers -- are now seen as inefficient when large chain grocery stores deliver all-in-one convenience. But "fast and convenient" has weakened our communities. As the African proverb says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
Organized sport played an important role in the residential school system, which means that sport is implicated in Canada's history of cultural genocide. How we move our bodies, the values we attach to those movements, and the resources we provide to support certain types of movements and not others are political decisions.
How does it look to have Canada's major department store, Hudson's Bay, teaming up with Dsquared2, the focal point of last year's atrocious "Dsquaw" debacle, to produce the outfits that our athletes will wear in Rio? What does it say about the Olympic Games, the corporate sponsors, and their relationship with Indigenous people in Canada?
Why not take a vacation and lower your handicap on a sunnier green? Hotel comparison site trivago.ca researched the world's greatest courses to find the best golf hotels that are sure to be a hole in one all year-round. Whether you're travelling with your buddies, your sweetheart, or with the whole family in tow, there's no reason to stop golfing just because it's the "off-season."
The message that we're sending to our children is loud and clear: we want you to excel at sports, so you'd better do it. We want to see you become an athletic star, regardless of your interest (and often skill level). Until we let go of our collective dreams of athletic super-stardom, of touchdowns and home runs, we will continue to negatively affect our children's psyches.
What is it that makes some athletes persevere while others give up? What drives an athlete at all? It's of course impossible to know if an athlete will 'make it' until they actually do but, in my mind, the root of this perseverance is planted in four simple things: a love of the sport, the desire to improve, being satisfied with small, incremental improvements and patience. In a word -- grit.
In this day and age of gaming consoles and the rise in obesity, why not get off the couch and come out to your local field and have a game or two. Paintball offers all the thrills you are getting from your game consoles without the safety of your screen in the way and you get some cardio work out at the same time. There are lots of articles being written now about the health benefit of getting out and playing paintball. Your heart and lungs get a work out every time you step onto the field and realize as you raise your marker (correct term instead of paintball gun)...someone else is out there gunning for me and my friend those paintballs have a muzzle velocity of 300fps (feet per second).
Central to the departure of coach Mike Spracklen from Rowing Canada, it seems, was his style, methods and standards. By all accounts, it was not an entirely agreeable decision to let him go. What does it say about a system that caters to the chirpers and prodders who didn't achieve what they wanted, instead of propping up the ones who got the results?