It’s Olympic Day — but there’s not much to celebrate this year. Olympic Day was started in 1948 to mark the birth of the modern Games, which came into being on June 23, 1894. Today, the Olympic “movement” finds itself on hard times. The Tokyo Games, which should be opening about a month from now, were postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: June 2020
The real possibility of cancelling the Olympics is under consideration | Oscar Sánchez Serra
The study found that the risk of dying from cancer was 82 per cent higher compared to people who are less sedentary. Regular moderate physical activity can also cut your risk of other diseases in half
Avoiding sedentary lifestyle is one of the most common recommendations of medical professionals. Recently a study revealed that life expectancy is reduced in cancer patients who did not have an active physical life. Continue reading
On June 20, 1967, the great Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston for refusing induction in the U.S. armed forces.
Ali saw the war in Vietnam as an exercise in genocide. He also used his platform as boxing champion to connect the war abroad with the war at home, saying, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?”
For these statements, as much as the act itself, Judge Joe Ingraham handed down the maximum sentence to Cassius Clay (as they insisted upon calling him in court): five-years in a federal penitentiary and a $10,000 fine.
Ali’s refusal to be drafted was an inspiring moment for many of us.
– Dougal MacDonald
Hal Johnson, who co-hosted Body Break — the long-running, informative TV segments promoting health and fitness — with his wife Joanne McLeod, says it was racism, and not fitness, that inspired the idea. Johnson shared a four-minute video on the background of Body Break, which started when Johnson was hired in June, 1988 to be a sports reporter for TSN, a division of Bell Media and partly owned by ABC/Disney. But that offer was recanted because executives at the sports network did not want two Black reporters. Continue reading
Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, on June 8 in Colorado Springs, announced the creation of an “athlete-led group to challenge the rules and systems in our own organization that create barriers to progress, including your right to protest.” Continue reading
Rama Naguib Jweily is a professional lawyer, a former Egyptian league player and an academy coach. Her goal is to spark a renaissance for girls soccer in Egypt. (video)
Seven current and former NHL players have formed a group to fight racism in hockey. The Hockey Diversity Alliance is co-headed by San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane and ex-NHLer Akim Aliu. The other members are Detroit Red Wings defenceman Trevor Daley, Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba, Buffalo Sabres forward Wayne Simmonds, former NHLer and current minor leaguer Chris Stewart and retired player Joel Ward. Continue reading
U Sports, the national governing body for interuniversity athletics, announced today that it’s cancelling this year’s fall championships because of the pandemic. The most prominent event lost is football’s Vanier Cup, which has been around since 1965. The other sports affected are men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross-country running, women’s rugby and women’s field hockey. Continue reading
June 4 is Tom Longboat Day, which recognizes the life and career of one of the best distance runners to ever represent Canada. Winner of the 1907 Boston Marathon, Longboat is remembered for both his athletic achievements and innovative training methods. From the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve near Brantford, ON, Longboat faced racism and prejudice throughout his career, including being called lazy by the press and fellow competitors over his training schedule.
By introducing regular rest into his regime, however, Longboat had a competitive advantage over other runners, who believed that they had to train at maximum effort all the time. He had a better understanding of how to train for long races and, as a result, he was fresher and better prepared than his competitors. This served him well during his career as he was known for his strong finishing sprints.
In 1951, the Tom Longboat Awards were established to recognize Indigenous athletes for outstanding contributions to sport in Canada. In the new book Reclaiming Tom Longboat: Indigenous Self-Determination in Canadian Sport, Janice Forsyth explores the history of the awards and their place within the broader history of Canadian policy and Crown-Indigenous relations. The book looks at how sport has been part of colonization in Canada while at the same time it asks how it can be part of decolonization. Through both oral and textual sources, Professor Forsyth pushes the reader to think critically about sport’s role in Canada while also shedding light on an under-told story in Canadian sport history.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Professor Forsyth about the book. We talk about her experience as a winner of the award, the place of role models in sport, and the use of mainstream sports in colonization. We also talk about sport and culture, the media’s role in telling athletes’ stories, and traditional sport and games and their role in decolonization.
Sean Graham is a historian with Parks Canada, an Adjunct Professor at Carleton University, and a contributing editor with Activehistory.ca