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A Thought or Two

This is a response to the Fifth Estate report on safety within sport including the investigations of the deaths of Canadian Skier Cross athlete Nik Zoricic and Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. This is my personal opinion; naturally you are free to develop your own and even disagree with mine.


After watching this episode of the Fifth Estate a few things stood out to me that I’d like to address.


1)   Safety in sport is significant and is constantly evolving. I say it is evolving because it is ever changing. If it is not changing then it is no longer relevant to the situations and circumstances of modern athletics. It is the nature of competition to push boundaries to places that no one has ever been before. That is how new world records are created, discoveries are made, and victors are crowned. Athletes will never shy away from facing challenges. They are constantly braving the challenge of breaking records, of what is thought to be impossible, of finding perfection. Swamped in this pursuit of excellence, it is imperative that competitors are able to trust the right people to monitor, manage and adapt safety measures so that they are appropriate for present conditions.

2)   Worlds are colliding! Science and athletics are merging to create things that have never existed before. Science has helped educate people on how to generate training programs best suited to the specific demands of particular sports, develop new facilities that meet the needs and challenge the abilities of current athletics, and support the evolution of technology within sport. It’s interesting to see people coming together to address the same questions: How much better can we get? How fast can we go? How far can we go? How can we get there safely?

3)   It’s a dog eat dog world. Self-protection is natural. We protect ourselves physically by appropriate training and wearing the proper equipment like helmets, back braces, mouth guards etc. We also protect ourselves mentally like our character and integrity by the choices we make that turn into actions and statements. It is in our best interest to do whatever it takes to preserve the veracity of our personality. Unfortunately in this world it is considered a flaw to make mistakes, so we tend to avoid recognizing them. The sad part of this inclination is that the recognition of error is the spark of change, thus avoiding that acknowledgment brings the process of change to a standstill. We are all human and mistakes we are bound to make. In this sense hindsight can be especially unforgiving. I believe an apology is recognition of a mistake but not necessarily admittance of responsibility in its entirety. That’s how it should be. I repeat: we are human. All of us. Therefore we should have the freedom to recognize our faults in order to learn, grow, and transform from them.


I wish more people had the strength and courage to admit their errors. In addition, I wish today’s world was better able to provide empathetic environments for people to acknowledge and/or address their faults. Most of all, I wish it were easier for people to apologize, forgive, connect and console.


These are just a few thoughts that came to mind after watching the Fifth Estate episode. As an athlete I know that we train hard, we cross the t’s and dot the i’s in our preparation so that we are qualified and capable to compete at an elite level. Once an athlete is prepared, the only thing left for them to do is perform. Everything else, from hill and course selection and design to location or accommodation, is trusted in the hands of others who should be qualified and able to embrace the possible outcomes of their obligations.




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