By TONY SEED
Canada versus the USA is always a compelling match-up in sports, right? And widely covered by the powerful sports media, right?
Classic matches between the Canadian and American Womens’ team at the London Olympics or the men’s and women’s competitions in ice hockey recorded record TV audiences in Canada. Canadians unite to wish for the defeat of the teams fielded by the superpower to the South and success for their national team over the American overlords. When Canada defeated the USA at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, it was dubbed “miracle on grass” by an incredulous sports media, as was Team Canada’s amazing defeat of the high-priced US professionals in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Continue reading
Mexico forward Oribe Peralta scores a goal against Cuba at Soldier Field, Chicago, July 9, 2015. | Reuters
By TONY SEED
The USA and Cuba may have agreed to normalizing diplomatic relations, but that has not extended to sport due to the hostile attitude of the Obama administration. News agencies report that the United States refused to allow the coach of the Cuban national football team, six players and the team’s doctor for the CONCAF Gold Cup, a regional tournament of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, hosted under FIFA auspices, currently underway in that country. What it shows is that even the domain of sports is being brought under the liquidationist pressure, whereby the modern norms of a level playing field and sportsmanship in competition are being destroyed in order to achieve self-serving political aims.
by Roberto Ramírez
As often happens at other events, the presence of the Cuban national baseball team in the XVII Pan Am Games leads fans and colleagues who are unaware of our reality to ask why its stars do not play in U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB).
And the question holds a certain logic since everyone sees the majors as the mecca of the sport, and the very media that promote the signing of multi-million dollar contracts as the realization of the so-called American dream do not talk about the reality that makes things so incredibly different for Cuba. Continue reading
Dr. Antonio Becali, president of the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER) of Cuba
The XVII Pan American Games in Toronto will feature a close race for second place, the chefs de missions for Cuba, Brazil and Canada confirmed on July 8.
Cuba’s INDER president Antonio Becali (pictured), Brazilian Bernard Rajzman and Canadian Curt Harnett confirmed that their three leading Pan American contenders would go all out for the position. The press conference was also attended by their U.S. counterpart. Continue reading
Cuba is sending a team of 450 athletes to perform in the Pan Am Games being held in and around Toronto in July. In these big international gatherings it is common practice for teams to exchange pins and little pennants as a gesture of friendship. This can be quite costly for teams from small and developing countries. In this case, the Cuban team is operating under tremendous financial constraints due to the US economic blockade of Cuba.
The following story inadvertently raises the questions of priorities facing society. Toronto Blue Jays, owned by the Rogers monopoly, forked out $82 million to repatriate Canadian catcher Russell Martin in a five-year contract. Toronto City Council quietly handed over $500,000 to one of the richest sports monopolies in North America, MLSE, for stadium expansion. The Hamilton Tiger Cats received a basically free $145.7-million stadium from Ontario in a neo-liberal scheme. Meanwhile, athletes training for events like the 2015 Pan Am Games often work full- or part-time jobs to fund their training and struggle to make ends meet without a thin dime from the government. Youth participation in sport and recreation is declining. Yet Harper has a billion dollars for another war in Iraq and Syria.
Canadian pentathlon athlete Kelly Fitzsimmmons is rarely caught standing still, as she juggles training and work seven days a week as she prepares for the Pan Am Games | VINCE TALOTTA / TORONTO STAR
LAUREN PELLY in Toronto Star
(Nov. 25) – Over lunch on a brisk Thursday in downtown Toronto, pentathlon competitor Kelly Fitzsimmons describes her day.
In between bites of steak, the 29-year-old Calgarian says she started with two hours of swim practice at 8:30 a.m., then went right into client meetings for her consulting business. Next came her interview with the Star, a timeslot doubling as Fitzsimmons’ lunch break. After that, she’d be working on consulting projects until the early evening, then heading to back-to-back training sessions — first a track workout, then fencing training, which wouldn’t end until around 10 p.m.