July 25, 2016 by Speakers' Spotlight
Canadian Olympian Adam Van Koeverden “Frustrated and Disappointed” By Russian Doping
Champion kayaker Adam van Koeverden first captured the world’s attention at the 2004 Olympic Games, where he was a double medalist with gold and bronze victories. Since then, he has continued to dominate the sport, taking silver at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, earning two World Championship titles in 2007 and 2011, and being named “Canada’s Athlete of the Year” in 2012. Adam shares his story of personal success—infusing it with insight that he’s gained both on the water and off—and how it integrates with strong leadership, overcoming challenges, and the importance of teamwork. Adam spoke with CBC Radio’s Metro Morning today on the ruling regarding Russia and the Rio Olympics:
Canadian Olympian Adam Van Koeverden says the International Olympic Committee made “the wrong decision,” when it comes to allowing Russian athletes to compete in the upcoming Rio Olympics.
This comes after the IOC ruled Sunday that individual sports federations would be the ones to decide which athletes from Russia can compete in the Rio Olympics.
“Your average athlete wants a harder stance on doping,” said Van Koeverden in an interview on CBC’s Metro Morning.
“I’m aghast at the fact that it’s state-sponsored in Russia and that it’s as widespread as it seems to be and I think my sentiment is shared among most athletes who willingly subject themselves to regular doping control.”
The IOC has come out defending its choice, saying all athletes shouldn’t be penalized.
“We had to balance the collective responsibility and the individual justice to which every human being and athlete is entitled to,” IOC President Thomas Bach said Sunday.
Van Koeverden, who has spoken out against the political pressures put on athletes during an Olympic year, said fellow Canadian Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser influenced his opinion on the IOC’s decision.
“She said ‘In hockey. When one person tests positive we all lose a medal.'”
“That’s the only argument that has allowed me to imagine the bigger picture and say yeah, maybe it’s alright for clean athletes to be left out of this Olympics,” the Olympic kayaker and gold medalist.
Earlier this month, the World Anti-Doping Agency released a report showing an elaborate state-sponsored doping network in Russia, and a call from the organization to ban all Russian athletes from competing in Rio.
At this point, with the games set to start in just under two weeks, only Russia’s track and field athletes have been barred from competing.
Don’t give up on athletes
Despite the scandal, Van Koeverden says Canadians can be proud of their athletes as they head to Rio.
“I hate to see that the Olympics are tarnished by this,” he said.
“At the end of the day there’s a whole bunch of young people, upwards of 300 Canadians, going down to Brazil to compete for our country and they need your support.”