Posts in Respect in Sport

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Hockey Night in Canada podcast: Women making strides in hockey

January 18th, 2019 Respect in Sport

Rob Pizzo talks to Hayley Wickenheiser about how far the women’s game has come

Source: CBC Sports · 

The Hockey Night In Canada podcast is a weekly CBC Sports production.

In each episode, host Rob Pizzo is joined by colourful characters within hockey to discuss great moments and great players and talk about today’s stars. The Hockey Night podcast brings you beyond the boxscore with insight you won’t find anywhere else.

In this week’s episode of the Hockey Night In Canada podcast, we are talking about women and the impact they have made in hockey.

Women’s hockey has come a long way in the last 30 years.

Women’s hockey really took off after making its Olympic debut in 1998. The thrilling gold-medal game, in which the Americans topped Canada, started one the greatest hockey rivalries of all time.

Since then, women have taken great strides and are now coaching, scouting, broadcasting and making hall of fame speeches.

But there is still room to grow — why doesn’t the NHL have female referees, head coaches or general managers?

Five-time Olympian and four-time gold medallist Hayley Wickenheiser joins Pizzo to discuss women’s growth in the hockey world. In her role as the assistant director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs, she has helped break down barriers and offers insight into what is still considered a male-dominated sport.

WATCH | Hayley Wickenheiser: Hockey is an “old boys’ club and a white male-dominated sport”

This week’s episode focuses on women in hockey — from the front office, to coaching, and also the broadcast booth. 0:59

Cheryl Pounder is a two-time gold medallist, who traded in her stick for a microphone to work as a hockey reporter at the Olympics in Pyeongchang. Pizzo talks to her about her transition into broadcasting.

Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz has a conversation with one of the pioneers of women’s hockey —​ Manon Rhéaume. She was the first woman to play in any of the major North American pro sports leagues, suiting up in net for an exhibition game try out with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992.

Be sure to subscribe to the Hockey Night in Canada podcast to get a new episode each week. It’s available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever you get your podcasts.

Listen to previous Hockey Night podcasts

Episode 14:

With the NHL season reaching the halfway point, it’s time to take a look the highs and lows of the year so far. Stanley Cup champion Glenn Healy helps breakdown what has transpired so far this season.

Episode 13:

We take a look back at the best interviews of 2018, which includes Daniel Carcillo opening up about the hazing he experienced as a member of the Sarnia Sting.

Episode 12: 

Hockey books are the perfect gift for any rabid fan and Jay Baruchel, Ken Reid and James Duthie have a few suggestions that should cover anyone on your holiday lists.

Episode 11:  

The NHL recently confirmed that when the 2021-22 season begins, there will be 32 teams in the league. We take a closer look at Seattle’s expansion bid, the history of expansion, as well as the future of expansion.

Episode 10: 

The axe has fallen on four coaches and one general manager so far this season, but we sometimes forget that coaches are human and have families. Former NHL coach Barry Melrose breaks down what life is like for coaches after they’re fired.

Episode 9:

Hazing has been an accepted part of hockey for decades now. But recently some disturbing stories have come into the public eye. Stories that involved abuse, bullying, and some horrible behaviour … all disguised as “hazing.”

Episode 8: 

They’re a unique breed — the keepers of the crease are often known to be a little eccentric. Ilya Bryzgalov joins in to help explain what makes them so different from their teammates.

Episode 7:

Recent HHOF inductee Jayna Hefford joins Pizzo to break down the 2018 class, while selection committee member Brian Burke sheds some light on who the most important person in the game is — and it may not be who you think.

Episode 6:

Pizzo sits down with Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean to talk about the top storylines one month into the season and MacLean also fuels the debate over who the best player in the game is right now.

Episode 5:

Hockey fans depend on certain trusted insiders to get their breaking news, but how exactly do they get these scoops? Turns out it’s harder work than some might expect.

Episode 4:

The fans love seeing the puck in the net…so what about the poor guys between the pipes? Are they getting pummelled for the sake of rule-tinkering?

Episode 3:

Could there be a more thankless gig? Perfection means being ignored. A single mistake and you are marked for years of noisy abuse. Don Koharski officiated over 1,700 regular season games. He and Pizzo discuss the infamous “donut incident”.

Episode 2:

Rivalries are the heart and soul of NHL excitement, but the days of brawling are mostly a thing of the past. Chris Nilan and Kris Draper talk about those old grudges, while some current players insist rivalries are as hot as ever.

Episode 1: 

At the beginning of every NHL season, hockey fans generally have more questions than answers when it comes to their favourite teams — and the start of the 2018-19 campaign was no different. Pizzo tackled five burning questions on the minds of the hockey faithful.

sport, abuse, sport abuse, harassment, sheldon kennedy, minister of sport, investigation

Chandra Crawford, Sheldon Kennedy amplify call on Ottawa to police athlete abuse and harassment

January 7th, 2019 Respect in Sport



A group of Canadian sport leaders have lent their voice to the growing chorus calling for an independent body to handle cases of harassment and abuse.

Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy and Olympic cross-country skiing gold medallist Chandra Crawford were among the coalition of some three dozen sport organizations, researchers and athletes who sent an open letter Friday to Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s Minister of Science, Sport and People with Disabilities.

Olympic cross-country skiing gold medallist Chandra Crawford has lent her name to an effort calling on the federal government to create a third-party body to handle cases of harassment and abuse in Canada’s national sports organizations.
Olympic cross-country skiing gold medallist Chandra Crawford has lent her name to an effort calling on the federal government to create a third-party body to handle cases of harassment and abuse in Canada’s national sports organizations.  (JEFF MCINTOSH / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

“Canada is at a crossroads in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of gender-based violence in sport,” the coalition wrote. “It is clear that the 1996 Sport Canada policy to prevent harassment and abuse in sport has not been effective.”

Duncan is expected to present a proposal on dealing with athlete abuse in Canada to cabinet on Tuesday.


Safe sport has been governed through the Sport Canada Accountability Framework since it was implemented in 1996 in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal involving former junior hockey coach Graham James and Kennedy. Kennedy founded the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in the wake of abuse at the hands of James.

Sports must have a safe sport policy, and a designated individual to handle complaints, in place to receive government funding.

But critics complain policies aren’t adequately applied.

There are two policy directions being proposed, according to Gretchen Kerr, a kinesiology and physical education professor at the University of Toronto. Canada’s national sports organizations (NSOs) have proposed developing a sport-by-sport system of self-regulation, with more consistent enforcement by Sport Canada. And a coalition of multi-sport organizations, researchers and retired athletes have proposed establishing a single, independent, arm’s length system of education, investigation and compliance.

“The undersigned strongly urge you to endorse the second approach and put in place the steps to realize it,” the letter to Duncan said.

“It’s become quite divisive … there are clearly two distinct points of view on how to move this whole agenda forward,” said Kerr, one of the signees. “A complainant has the option to take it to the NSO, the PSO (provincial sport organization) or an independent body, but it all flows through the NSO. And so the NSO is still playing a triage role, determining whether a complaint is major or minor, and whether it should be handled in-house, or should be handled independently.

“The other problem is the conflict of interest that currently exists, if the complaint goes to the NSO and it involves an Olympic coach or whatever, there are real implications for the NSO and even the staff, if that’s brought forward because the funding for NSOs depends on the team’s performance.”

Canada has had its share of high-profile sex abuse cases in sport. Marcel Aubut resigned as Canadian Olympic Committee president in 2015 after an investigation over numerous sexual harassment complaints.

In June, several former members of Canada’s ski team spoke publicly about the abuse suffered at the hands of former coach Bertrand Charest in the 1990s. Charest was convicted last year of 37 offences of sexual assault and exploitation.

Last month, the sexual assault trial of former Canadian women’s gymnastics coach Dave Brubaker wrapped up in Sarnia, Ont. Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual exploitation, and Justice Deborah Austin is expected to deliver her decision on Feb. 13.

Olympic champion Erica Wiebe was among a group of Canadian wrestlers who wrote an open letter to Duncan last month appealing for a third-party body to handle complaints.

“Sport-by-sport self-regulation means that there will be as many different approaches to gender-based violence as there are sports bodies, a situation that is inconsistent with the principles of uniform treatment and the values of Canadian sport,” Friday’s letter said. “There is clear evidence of the failure of self-regulation. A 2016 study of 40 NSOs showed that after 22 years of Sport Canada’s requirement to have a publicly accessible policy, many of the NSOs had limited policies, often hidden on their website, or no policy at all.”

The coalition argued that sport in Canada is the only remaining child-populated domain that is self-regulating and autonomous, leaving young people vulnerable to harassment and abuse. They stressed that no country has ever developed an effective policy for sport organizations to self-regulate harassment and abuse.

The coalition is proposing a universal policy that has the capacity to investigate all allegations and provide counselling to those affected; mandatory application to all federally-funded sports; focus on education and prevention; and eliminating financial barriers to complainants and sports by providing appropriate funding and fee structures.

coach, abuse, coach abuse, sport, coaching, sports, parenting

French roller-skating coach given 13 years in jail for sexual abuse

December 19th, 2018 Respect in Sport

PONTOISE: France’s former national artistic roller-skating coach has been sentenced to 13 years in prison after being found guilty of sexual assault and rape of a minor, the prosecutor’s office in Pontoise outside Paris said Monday.

After having denied everything since 2011, Arnaud Mercier, 42, admitted to the court that he had sexually assaulted teenage girls but denied rape.

The prosecution called last week for a 20-year jail term.

The case centred around his actions towards two young skaters dating back to 2011 when one of the skaters first reported that she had been abused by her trainer since the age of eight.

He was suspended from his duties first for six months and then definitively.

In 2015, a second skater who had initially defended Mercier, made a complaint detailing daily rapes from the age of 13, punishments for not complying with certain sexual acts, and meetings with other men arranged by the trainer.

Two other athletes came forward to testify, one of them alleging he had raped her for two years when she was between the ages of 16 and 18.–AFP

korea, south korea, abuse, coach, athlete, sport abuse

Tearful South Korean Olympic champion tells court of coach abuse

December 19th, 2018 Respect in Sport

Source: ChannelNews Asia, December 18, 2018


EOUL: Double Olympic gold medallist Shim Suk-hee broke down in tears as she told a South Korean court of the years of abuse she suffered at the hands of her coach.

Aged 21, the short-track skater has four Olympic medals to her name, including relay golds at both Sochi 2014 and on home ice at this year’s Pyeongchang Games.

But she told a court that her coach Cho Jae-beom had been beating her since she was seven – on one occasion breaking her fingers – leaving her “deeply traumatised”.

His violence “kept escalating” as she grew older, she said at the hearing in Suwon, south of Seoul.

“He frequently beat me and verbally abused me since I was seven … at one point beating me with an ice hockey stick and breaking my fingers,” she said.

Another time he hurled metal nuts at her, ripping open her forehead.

Just weeks ahead of the Pyeongchang Olympics, “he kicked and punched me so hard, especially on my head, that I even thought ‘I could die here’,” she said, breaking down.

South Korea is a regional sporting power and is regularly in the top 10 medal table places at the summer and winter Olympics. It is the only Asian country other than Japan to have hosted both Games.

But in an already intensely competitive society, winning is everything in its sports community – where coaches hold immense sway over athletes’ careers, and physical and verbal abuse are known to be rife. Those who speak out are liable to be sidelined and castigated as “traitors”.

Cho admitted to police that he beat Shim and three other athletes at their training camp to “improve their performance” and was given 10 months in prison for assault at his trial in October.

But he appealed against the sentence.

Shim said she had been “brainwashed” by Cho who threatened to end her sporting career if she spoke out, saying she had been “gripped by extreme fear and anxiety” about Cho all her life.

“I’m getting psychological treatment for depression, anxiety, sleep disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said.

The pre-Pyeongchang beating left her concussed and she blamed it for affecting her performance at the Games, where she failed to match her medal haul from Sochi, which included silver in the 1500m and bronze in the 1000m.

She did not testify at Cho’s original trial for fear of “having to confront him”, she told the hearing on Monday (Dec 17), “but I mustered up courage because I thought I needed to speak the truth”.

The South Korean women’s curling team – another star of this year’s Winter Games, whose unexpected run to the final and a silver medal earned them global headlines – have accused their coaches of verbal abuse and exploitation.

The team – nicknamed “Garlic Girls” after the local specialty of their rural hometown – said the managers had banned them from talking to other athletes, did not share how donations and prize money were being spent and censored all gifts and letters from fans.

Source: AFP/ga

respect group, abuse training, sport abuse, coaching, coach training, parent, sheldon kennedy

Experts believe emotional abuse is a major issue in Canadian sports

November 8th, 2018 Respect in Sport

TORONTO — Imagine a teacher telling a child: you’re fat. You’re a piece of crap. You’re a waste of my time.

That kind of behaviour would never fly in the classroom, so sports scholar Gretchen Kerr wonders why it’s prevalent on the playing field and in the gym.

While sexual abuse is in the spotlight, thanks to numerous high-profile cases, Kerr said Canadian sport also needs to take a hard look at the potential damage inflicted by psychological abuse.

“There’s a general societal awareness that when young people experience sexual harm, they suffer in one way or another for a long, long time,” Kerr said. “And what the research shows, and I don’t think it’s as poignant in the minds of the general public, is that same can be said about psychological abuse, that when young people experience psychologically abusive relationships, the negative long-term consequences can be just as enduring and just as damaging.”

Kerr and fellow University of Toronto professor Bruce Kidd spoke to Canadian sport leaders at a recent conference in Ottawa, and used several real-life examples from young athletes. There was the swim coach who hurled kickboards at kids. There was the coach who angrily chucked equipment around the locker-room. Or the coach who refused to speak to his team for a week after a loss.

One young athlete said that after a bad game, the team was required to show up at the field at 6 a.m. the next morning. The coach called it the “Breakfast Club.” The players were forced to do sprints and push-ups until they threw up.

“It’s shocking what coaches in particular can get away with in sport that we would never allow our kids’ teachers to engage in,” Kerr said. “Parents would be called on the carpet if they demonstrated these practices, bosses would be in trouble, and yet we allow coaches to treat young people this way.”

In a study of 3,760 Canadian coaches by Kerr and fellow University of Toronto professor Ashley Stirling, 78 per cent reported witnessing emotional abuse.

This type of abuse, said Kerr, can occur in numerous forms, including derogatory comments, constant yelling, manipulation of attention and support, or the use of exercise as punishment.

Kerr has handled more than 200 complaints as an athlete welfare officer with Gymnastics Canada in the past 30 years, and estimates 95 per cent of the complaints are about psychological abuse.

“The big difference between psychological abuse and sexual abuse is psychological abuse happens in public, in training when other coaches are watching, when sport administrators are watching, and often when parents are watching their kids,” Kerr said.

“It dawned on me: how can the parents sit by and watch these behaviours when if the teacher did that, they’d be in to see the principal lickety-split? So we interviewed parents, and these are very well-meaning, often well-educated parents, who are introduced to the sport world and the first time they see these behaviours, they are taken aback, but they look around for cues from parents who’ve been in the world a little bit longer, and they see that they’re not reacting. They also see the best kids at the club being treated this way. So they think ‘Well, I guess this is just what it takes to create a top athlete.”‘

Kerr said what’s perplexing is that kind of behaviour and attitude runs contrary to research on how people are best motivated.

“These practices in sport all run contrary. There’s a huge gap between the research on teaching and learning, and what actually happens in the sport arena.”

respect in sport, hockey, coaching, harassment, harassment prevention, coaching training, coach training, sport training, cbc news, ontario coaching, harassment, bill 168, harassment courses, e-learning courses

Canada-wide respect in sport training tool preventing abusive behaviour: officials

November 7th, 2018 Activity Leaders, Parents, Respect in Sport

London official says disciplining parental behaviour dropped tenfold

Officials say sport organizations are reporting fewer issues related to disciplining behaviour. (Getty Images/Hero Images)

A nation-wide training tool for parents and coaches is creating a healthier and safer sports environment through the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, officials say.

More than one million people in Canada have been trained through Respect in Sport, Respect Group Inc. in the last decade of its existence.

Whether on the ice or turf, officials say sport organizations are reporting fewer incidents related to disciplining behaviour.

“We’re really trying to help sport organizations create an environment where kids want to stay involved in sport and stay engaged,” said Mark Allen, Ontario director of the program.

“[It’s] to keep it fun and safe for kids, keep kids engaged so that they want to come back and just provide a level of education for those that are responsible for overseeing kids.”

The online education tool offers training to clubs mandated through Hockey Canada, among others. More recently, it established partnerships with other national governing bodies for sports including gymnastics, skating and swimming, along with provincial bodies including Ontario Soccer.

While it’s mainly used in sport, Scouts Canada has also used the tool to train more than 26,000 of its leaders.

Training parents and coaches

The 2.5 hour training course for coaches focuses on the primary basics around bullying and harassment. But it also tackles topics like long-term player development and injury and concussion management.

A screen capture of the Respect in Sport Activity Leaders Program preview. (Respect in Sport)

“It’s really just acknowledging these issues and talking about them in such a way that coaches are going to feel comfortable to address them and not let things go if they’re hearing racial slurs or hearing comments,” said Allen.

The one-hour training course for parents focuses on much of the same topics but also includes guidelines around how to treat a child or coach during and after a game.

For example, Allen said parents are taught the 24-hour rule, which encourages them to wait a full day to discuss an incident with an official in an effort to avoid unnecessary altercations.

“If you still feel the need to reach out to the coach, do it 24 hours later when you’re a little bit calmer and it’ll be a more productive discussion than doing it in the heat of the moment,” he said.

Another rule — dubbed the car ride home — encourages positive behaviour after a game, despite the score turnout.

Every four years, the program is revamped to cover relevant and current issues.

“Our program is used from coast to coast to coast, so we want to make sure that it includes everybody and that everybody sees themselves in the program,” said Allen.

The most recent revamp included a section about transgender people. Allen said the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has also influenced content change.

In Ontario, there’s no recertification requirement for the program, however, officials are looking to possibly change that.

‘A marked change in behaviour’

Kevin Egan, past president of the London Junior Knights, has observed the changes before and after the local team implemented Respect in Sport about 10 years ago, when the team was one of the first across Canada to adopt the program.

We’re really trying to help sport organizations create an environment where kids want to stay involved in sport and stay engaged.– Mark Allen, Respect Group Inc.

“We’re seeing a marked change in behaviour … It’s been a dramatic change.”

“The number of times that we have had to discipline parents for behaviour in the rink has dropped probably more than tenfold,” said Egan, noting that it’s difficult to quantify the change because there are no statistics.

“People became better behaved in the rink … there were far fewer issues coming to the board for discipline purposes,” he said.

“[There was] no swearing, no losing your temper, no throwing things or kicking things or the types of behaviour that had been a problem in the past.”

Egan also credits some of the changes to a city of London policy called Rzone, enacted in 2013. It’s an education and awareness strategy that promotes respectful behaviour at recreational facilities across the city. It encourages people to report incidents of misbehaviour to city officials.

Back in 2014, Mount Royal University released numbers in relation to the Respect in Sport program in its region, noting fewer outbursts from hockey parents.

Currently, the University of Toronto is conducting its own research on the program.

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Canada Soccer signs on to Respect in Sport agreement to bolster player safety

November 6th, 2018 Activity Leaders, Parents, Respect in Sport

Posted on 5 November 2018 in Coaching – Canada Soccer

Canada Soccer is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with Respect in Sport as part of its core values to ensure a safe and positive environment for all participants of the game. The organization founded by former NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy is aimed at preventing abuse in sport through coursework for coaches and team officials working with young athletes.

“This partnership is an important formalization of the work being done across the country to ensure that proper protections are in place for young athletes,” said Canada Soccer Director of Development Jason deVos. “We all have a responsibility to ensure young soccer players are in a supportive and safe development environment and this agreement is another layer to those protections.”

All coaches who participate in Canada Soccer’s coach education licensing programs will now be required to take a soccer-specific Respect in Sport module as part of coach education programs across the country.

“The Respect Group have been at the forefront of child protection in Canada for more than a decade, and we are delighted to sign this agreement to bolster our efforts in this vital area,” deVos said.

gymnastics canada, abuse, abuse in sport, sport, coach abuse, respect group

Coach’s sex-assault trial shows Canadian gymnastics culture needs to change, says Kyle Shewfelt

October 25th, 2018 Respect in Sport

Grey area’ in sport has led to abuse of power, 2004 Olympic gold medallist says


Devin Heroux · CBC Sports · 


Canadian Olympic champion gymnast Kyle Shewfelt is now a coach in the sport, and is an advocate for procedures that ensure athletes are protected from the abuse of power in any coach-athlete relationships.(Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Revelations in a Canadian coach’s sexual-assault trial show that the culture of gymnastics needs to change, says 2004 Olympic gold medallist Kyle Shewfelt.

Shewfelt, who has been following the trial of Dave Brubaker, Canada’s former national women’s gymnastics coach, says the “grey areas” in the sport regarding relationships between coaches and athletes have led to many abuses of power.

“As a community we need to come together, and we need to do everything we can to ensure the safety and protection of these young people and make sure there’s no grey areas,” Shewfelt says.

“It’s black and it’s white. And on one side of it is super positive relationships. And if it’s not, well, then we figure out a way to get rid of all those people that are trying to manipulate their power.”

Brubaker, 55, was charged last December with multiple sexual-related offences. The complainant is a young women Brubaker was coaching. Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching. The judge-only trial in Sarnia, Ont., was adjourned Wednesday until Dec. 13.

The complainant, a woman now in her 30s whose identity is protected by a publication ban, testified that Brubaker had “complete control” over every aspect of her life.

The complainant told the court Brubaker would routinely kiss her on the lips to say hello and goodbye, starting when she was 12 . She also said Brubaker would pick her up from school, and take her to his house where he occasionally would spoon her in bed and tickle her belly, before driving her to practice. She also alleged there were times when he touched her inappropriately during sports massages.

She said she feared the coach would punish her in the gym if she denied his advances.

In a police interview, Brubaker said he thought he was being a supportive coach and denied any sexual intent.

“I thought I was doing the right thing to help them,” he said. “I can see that, by today’s measures, it’s different.”

Shewfelt says his relationship with coach Kelly Manjak, pictured together in 2004, was one of trust and support, something Shewfelt now strives for as a coach in Calgary. (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

For many young athletes who have Olympic aspirations, all their trust and faith is put into their coach. It’s that coach who holds the key to their futures. And in some cases coaches have abused the relationship.

“I think that a lot of people are silent in those environments where the person who is in the position of power can really decide a lot of your fate. So maybe some things are set aside,” Shewfelt said.

Brubaker isn’t the only Canadian gymnastics coach charged with sexual offences this year.

In January, Scott McFarlane, a gymnastics coach from Ottawa, was charged with sexual assault and child luring after a 15-year-old girl went to Peel Regional Police with allegations of multiple sex-related incidents alleged to have happened over a four-year period while MacFarlane was working as a coach at Manjak’s Gymnastics in Mississauga, Ont.

And in May, Edmonton-based coach Michel Arsenault was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting three former students in Quebec in the 1980s and 1990s. His trial is scheduled for next year. He has been suspended by Gymnastics Canada.

For his part, Shewfelt says he had a good relationship with his coach, Kelly Manjak. The two built a bond over their years of training together Shewfelt says was trustworthy and left nothing to doubt.

“He wanted to create that space where there was never any question marks and I felt 100 per cent safe and confident that the relationship was one that was built on trust and one that was totally healthy,” Shewfelt said.

But Shewfelt knows that isn’t always the case in the sport he’s devoted most of his life to. Shewfelt is now a coach at his own gymnastics club in Calgary and is acutely aware of what he needs to do to create a space that makes athletes feel safe.

“A large percentage of coaches and administrators in the gymnastic industry are there with the right intentions,” Shewfelt said. “I’ve known so many coaches that are doing so many of the right things. It’s sad as someone who loves the sport to see individuals dragging the name of gymnastics through the mud.”

Kyle Shewfelt as an Olympic champion in 2004 in Athens. (Kevork Djansezian/Associated Press)

The charges against Brubaker led Shewfelt to call a community meeting in Calgary involving many in the gymnastics community, a child advocacy officer, police, a lawyer and others. Shewfelt says they wanted to come together to ask questions about what was happening in the sport and how they could move past it.

“It was intense. There was a lot of anger. There was a lot of confusion and a lot of people who just didn’t know where to turn,” Shewfelt said.

Shewfelt says the fear in the gymnastics landscape in Canada is palpable. He says club owners are worried their numbers will drop because of the recent charges against coaches. He says coaches are worried about how to coach children now and where the boundaries are.

“The pendulum has swung, and we’re in that muddy period where we’re trying to figure out what what comes next,” Shewfelt said.

Gymnastics Canada strengthens policy

On the front page of Gymnastics Canada’s website, information about its Safe Sport Framework is front and centre. The organization outlines the steps its taking to protect and improve the athlete experience. There’s also information on how people can “report suspicions of child maltreatment or misconduct.”

In a statement emailed to CBC Sports, Gymnastics Canada says it “acknowledges, understands, and embraces our responsibility to take a leadership role in creating and preserving gymnastics environments that ensure positive, healthy, and fulfilling experiences for all of our participants.”

Gymnastics Canada says it’s working with provincial partners and member clubs to continue implementing a safe sport framework for gymnastics “which includes tools to assist parents and other responsible adults to identify potentially unsafe situations and to take proactive steps to ensure the safety and well-being of athletes.”

Shewfelt applauds that work but knows there’s still a lot work ahead.

“I think that every person in the gymnastics community that I’ve talked to is committed to putting the athlete first and to moving forward and learning from circumstances that have happened in the past. And I think that as the trials come forth and details come forward we can look at those and we can create stronger policies.”

Swimming Canada and key partners join Responsible Coaching Movement

October 17th, 2018 Press Releases, Respect in Sport

Swimming Canada, every single provincial swimming organization, and the Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (CSCTA) are partnering to sign on to the Responsible Coaching Movement.

“There is no place for abuse, harassment or discrimination in our sport,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “With our key partners, we are committing to strengthen the processes we already have in place to ensure our athletes, coaches, officials, staff and volunteers are able to participate in safe, inclusive and respectful training and competitive environments. We are committed to these values through our Safe Sport initiatives, and I’m proud that our partners are stepping up to demonstrate their commitment as well.”

The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a multi-phase system-wide movement, coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. A result of extensive ongoing consultation with the Canadian sport community, the RCM is a call to action for organizations to implement realistic change to address the role coaches play with issues relating to the health and safety of athletes, both on and off the field of play.






Swimming Canada will be implementing the Respect in Sport Activity Leader Program and Respect in Sport Parent bullying abuse and harassment training prevention program to prevent and eliminate bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport. 

resepct group, harassment prevention training, abuse prevention in sport, sport abuse, girls, sport, coaching tools, coaching resources, athlete resources, coach training, abuse prevention training

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Launched Keeping Girls in Sport in Partnership with Coaching Association of Canada, CAAWS and Respect Group

October 9th, 2018 General News, Respect in Sport

resepct group, harassment prevention training, abuse prevention in sport, sport abuse, girls, sport, coaching tools, coaching resources, athlete resources, coach training, abuse prevention training

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Launched Keeping Girls in Sport in Partnership with Coaching Association of Canada, CAAWS and Respect Group

Canadian Tire Jumpstart

Keeping Girls in Sport is an online resource that teaches coaches and youth activity leaders how to create safe and respectful environments for girls, and ultimately, help girls stay enrolled and engaged in sport and physical activity. 
In partnership with the Coaching Association of Canada  and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport , Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities developed Keeping Girls in Sport with the expert input of Dr. Vicki Harber, professor emeritus in the faculty of physical education and recreation at the University of Alberta. 
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is a national charity dedicated to helping kids, who otherwise might not have the chance to play, get in the game. Studies have repeatedly shown that during adolescence, girls drop out of sport at a significantly higher rate than boys. Along with removing financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation, Jumpstart is committed to helping girls get, and stay active for life. 
Beyond physical fitness, there are countless benefits to participating in sport and recreation. Sport fosters valuable life skills like confidence, resilience, and teamwork, and helps girls grow up to become strong leaders in their own communities and beyond. 
Since 2016, Jumpstart has hosted several Jumpstart Games for Girls across Canada. Inspired by Jumpstart’s Chairman Emeritus, Martha Billes, these games are a fun day of play where girls can be active, have fun, feel inspired to get into the game, and remain active throughout adolescence. 


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