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Canada's bobsledder, skeleton athlete has repeatedly called sports ministers to rectify what they called a 'toxic culture'

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More than 90 current and retired Canadian bobsled and skeleton athletes have renewed their call to action from Federal Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge to help clean up what they say is a toxic environment in the country’s sports organizations. doing.

BCS’ Athlete for Change group first wrote an open letter in March calling for the resignation of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS) president Sarah Storey and performance director Chris Le Bihan.

In a letter sent to St-Onge on Friday, the players said systemic problems had plagued the BCS in the eight years since Story was elected.

“These issues remain unrecognized and unresolved by the organization,” they wrote. We have seen a deterioration in both competitive performance and competitiveness, as well as the culture within the organization.”

BCS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Friday’s letter contained a collection of 24 pages of issues submitted to the BCS board of directors and the experiences of athletes, either live or observed. This included allegations such as fear of retribution silencing players under a leadership style that “felt authoritarian” and badmouthing players in front of other staff and players.

According to the document, “top-ranked skeleton athletes were constantly ridiculed in front of other bobsledders and skeleton athletes,” and that Skeleton staff members made unprofessional and inappropriate comments to coaches and athletes. It is said that

“To date, this document has not been addressed or remedied,” the letter said.

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The letter also contained findings from a recent BCS review and evaluation completed by outside consultant Nick Bass, a high performance advisor to Own the Podium. Assessments included anonymous surveys, as well as facilitated discussions with BCS staff, coaches, and athletes to understand issues and identify gaps.

“The findings are consistent with the issues raised in the March 2022 letter, [the 24-page summary of issues],” they wrote.

Also included was a reporting decision letter from the new office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner. In response to his July 24 change submission from the Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton Athlete, OSIC said BCS is not a signatory to the program and therefore does not have jurisdiction to process information submitted in the report.

St-Onge says NSOs must sign OSIC to be eligible for federal funding, but so far only two NSOs, Volleyball Canada and Weightlifting Canada, have received federal funding. I am receiving an offer.

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“OSIC’s authority to manage complaints is limited to matters raised in relation to individuals under the authority of the program signatory bodies,” OSIC wrote in its decision. “The organization named in the report, Bobsleigh Canada He Skeleton, is not a signatory to the program and OSIC does not have the authority to further consider the issue regarding individual participants.”

Athletes say there is currently “very little” participation at the national and grassroots levels in both bobsleigh and skeleton, and in 2019, three-time Olympic champion Kylie Humphries will leave for the United States. I am pointing out that They say they are choosing to compete for other countries.

“The continued lack of awareness and action to address any of these concerns continues to cause long-lasting and detrimental harm to the sport of Canadian bobsleigh and skeleton.

The letter comes during what St-Onge calls a safe sport “crisis” in Canada.

Hockey Canada has been plagued by sexual assault allegations, with many sponsors withdrawing support and St-Onge freezing federal funding.

Hundreds of former and current Canadian gymnasts plead with St. Onge to help clean up the sport amid allegations of physical, psychological and sexual abuse against athletes, many of whom are minors I’ve been

“We are witnessing public and political outcry over the current Hockey Canada scandal and hearing from political leaders how the sport and the NSO are doing. [national sport organizations] Doing business in Canada without respect, safety, governance and accountability is no longer acceptable.

“BCS’s current leadership and administrative staff have demonstrated a reluctance to recognize and address their problems..Therefore, we cannot be entrusted with future organizational corrections.

The bobsleigh and skeleton letter will only exacerbate the negative impact on athletes, so I am asking St-Onge to look beyond the funding freeze to influence change.

The letter was also sent to OTP CEO Anne Merklinger, Canadian Olympic Committee CEO David Shoemaker, Sport Canada Executive Director Vicki Walker, and OTP Bobsleigh/Skeleton Representative Brian Rahill.