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
Elite Canadian sport federations have been brought to their knees by the pandemic. In contrast, Alberto Juantorena, president of the Cuban Athletics Federation, is convening an international virtual amateur race through social media.
ACN (April 17) – The virtual race called by the organizing committee of the Varadero Half Marathon, scheduled for this Sunday in Cuba, today registers nearly a thousand registered participants. Continue reading →
The people who oversee track and field have to give serious thought to how much running-shoe technology is too much | Amby Burfoot*
Wearing a controversial Nike shoe, Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world-record holder, broke the event’s two-hour barrier last weekend | Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
(October 18) – Last weekend’s extraordinary marathon performances — 1 hour 59 minutes 40 seconds by Eliud Kipchoge in Vienna and 2:14:04 by Brigid Kosgei in Chicago — have focused attention on an already simmering question: Does the International Association of Athletics Federations need a more stringent rule to define legal running shoes?
Kenyan runs unofficial time of 1hr 59min 40sec in Vienna
World record holder was assisted by 41 pacemakers and lasers
Ewan Murray in Vienna
(October 12) – It was the marathon that turned into a sprint. Even the strongest cynics – and they are not hard to come by – had to smile at the 500-metre final stretch that defined the making of history: the marathon distance has been completed in under two hours. Continue reading →
Bianca Andreescu, 19, is the first teenager to reach the semifinals of the women’s tournament since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009 | Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times
On Wednesday night, 15th-seeded Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Canada celebrated her comeback 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over Elise Mertens. Ms Andreescu was in disbelief. She’d never even played a main-draw match at the raucous U.S. Open until this year.
“A year ago, I was in the qualifying round. I remember I was suffering from a back injury, and now what I’ve accomplished this year, I’m honestly speechless,” she said. “I need someone to pinch me right now. Is this real life? Is this real life?”
Ms Andreescu will face the former teen prodigy Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, 13th-seeded, in the semifinals of the tournament on Thursday night.
Until recently, Canada has had a deficit of tennis players who could meet global standards consistently. Only two Canadians have reached a Grand Slam singles final before: Genie Bouchard and Milos Raonic (at Wimbledon in 2014 and 2016, respectively). They both lost, and neither has won a tournament as big as the Rogers Cup — much less Indian Wells, both won by Ms Andreescu. Daniel Nestor won eight Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal in doubles.
National sport body, highly critical of Chinese team, faces ban for Shayna Jack
BY DENNIS PASSA · The Associated Press
Swimming Australia chief executive Leigh Russell speaks to the media in Melbourne after Shayna Jack’s positive doping samples | William West/AFP/Getty Images
(July 30) – If only the world championships ended as well as it started for the swimmers from Down Under.
The much-vaunted Australian squad had an impressive but controversial beginning on the opening day of the swimming program — an upset win by 18-year-old Ariarne Titmus over three-time 400-meter freestyle champion American Kate Ledecky. Continue reading →
2018 marks 25 years since Javier Sotomayor became the world high jump record holder | Oscar Sánchez Serra
(November 16) – To simply stand before a bar placed at a height of 2.45 metres is nothing extraordinary. However, to jump over it using nothing more than the take-off power of one’s own legs is unprecedented, that is, at least, for all but one man. The only mortal to have flown this high is Cuban, and this 2018 he is celebrating 25 years as high jump world record holder. Continue reading →
The Trump administration has caused a setback in sports relations between Cuba and the U.S. – affecting international volleyball competition notably, among other negative consequences. This article has detailed information on the effect of the US blockade on Cuban sport in all spheres. | Alfonso Nacianceno
The U.S. volleyball team last played in Havana in 2016 « Yaimí Ravelo
Palestinian yoga and fitness instructor Mohamed al-Khatib trains for track and field events in the hopes of attending the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Nov. 18, 2015 | Ash Gallagher
BY ASH GALLAGHER
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Nov 24) — Munching on dates for energy, 25-year-old Mohamed al-Khatib starts his morning at sunrise, hoping for an opportunity to use a track field at a local high school in Ramallah.
Khatib is a yoga and fitness instructor who is training for a chance to attend the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and race in the 100-meter and 200-meter track and field events. Continue reading →