Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

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The Anti-Doping Campaign – A Waste of Money and Time?

By C. McGuire & R. Bennett

Since the beginning of sport, athletes have been using methods to gain an unfair advantage. The athlete diet is no longer limited to your standard food groups, as many plates are being served with blood transfusions, steroids, stimulants, masking agents, and the list goes on. In 1999, the World-Anti Doping Agency (WADA), was developed to instill strict policies, rules and regulations on anti-doping; however, almost twenty years later, this problem is still in full force. As the 2018 Winter Olympic Games are among us, Kei Saito, a Japanese short track speed skater tested positive for the banned masking agent acetalozamide on February 13th. This reiterates the never-ending cycle of drug companies developing substances, athletes using them and the IOC and WADA trying to keep up to detect them. While WADA’s core foundations and the Code look great on paper, it is evident that the implementation of these policies is not working. Yes athletes are getting caught; yet, how many are not?

WADA and the IOC have started to use stricter punishments as seen in the most recent Olympics. Russia, after being accused of running a pro-doping lab, has been banned from competition. 169 athletes can compete who have proven they are clean; however, the Russian anthem will not play at medal ceremonies and they will compete as “Olympic Athletes of Russia.” Even with these strict punishments, athletes are still doping. A couple of days after the Japanese athlete tested positive, Russian curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, losing his bronze medal.


Therefore, where do we go from here if athletes are continuing to risk their health for the sake of winning a medal? One point of view is that doping should be allowed, let all athletes compete using performance enhancing aids so no one is at a disadvantage. However, this is neglecting the health risks these aids are imposing on the athletes such as testicular atrophy, abnormal menstrual cycles, liver damage, and reduced memory and attention (WADA, 2009).

While trying to eliminate doping seems nearly impossible, educating athletes on the side effects of doping and the negative consequences at a young age could potentially prevent the future use of drugs. Preventative measures such as educating coaches, athletes and stakeholders in the sporting environment to be doping-aware is integral for the future of sport. Drug testing is also poorly implemented in the high school and university systems. Developing more technologically advanced systems to catch young dopers could prevent long-term health risks if the drug usage is discontinued at a young age. It is important to remember we all play a part in this issue. Promoting fair play, sportsmanship and clean sport is just the tip of the iceberg, and with more research devoted to doping in sport, we can hope to provide optimal sporting environments for our future athletes.


Mega-sport events as “Circus Maximus”: Short-Term Thrill, Long-Term Agony


The chapter “Bread or Circuses?” from Andrew Zimbalist’s book, Circus Maximus, examines the intricacies and complexities associated with hosting mega-events, such as the Olympics and the World Cup. The main issue that Zimbalist is trying to understand is if it’s worth the economic gamble that the host cities must undertake to put on these extravagant events. Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Simply put, the answer to these questions is most definitely, NO.

The IOC (International Olympic Committee), and FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) claim that hosting these mega-events is a boon to the economic development of the host city/country. They claim that much of the expense in hosting is connected to improving infrastructure, which will support the long-term development needs. They claim that hosting brings short-term employment gains. Furthermore, they claim that host cities will benefit from long-term legacy returns, such as business and/or tourism opportunities. When examining each event individually it may seem like some of these claims are true. However, once you dig deeper it becomes convincingly clear that they are able to create that perception through the use of systematic corruption and manipulation.

In regards to the claim that improving infrastructure will support the long-term development needs of a host city, this may be true, however, to be successful it requires very careful and clever planning. Unfortunately, this is rarely done properly. The best example of this being done is Barcelona when they hosted the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. The case of Barcelona is very unique though. City planners had begun to re-conceptualize the city in 1975 and put their plan to use over the next decade before they even considered hosting. Hosting was seen as a vehicle to put their plan into action. Therefore, Barcelona used the Olympics; the Olympics didn’t use Barcelona. Cities have tried and failed to copy Barcelona’s blueprint. The difference being that they are on the clock and don’t have the time to strategically and organically implement their infrastructure plans.


The layout of venues for the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.

Regarding the claim that hosting brings short-term employment gains, again this may be true, but fails to tell the whole story. The people that stand to gain the most are the local business elite, mainly the construction companies. The costs budgeted in the bid are always massively understated, in order to get political and public consent. This leads to the government having to borrow money and pay it back over the ensuing decades, which reduces funding for other government projects and reduces public employment in the future. The local population do not usually benefit from the increase in employment opportunities. Instead, the construction companies that are contracted to build the facilities and infrastructure bring in imports from other countries for cheap labor. For example, Qatar has brought in an estimated 1.5 million migrant workers from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Philippines to undertake the massive construction for the 2022 World Cup.

Additionally, the long-term legacy return that the IOC and FIFA claim that host cities will benefit from has been unfounded. If any does take place it happens decades down the line and is very hard to quantify. What has become most common among host cities is the number of “white elephants” that have been left behind. These “white elephants” are the Olympic venues that cost billions to build and millions annually to maintain, along with the mountains of debt that must be paid back over the ensuing decades. For only 19 days of action is it really worth such a large investment? If there is no plan post-event for the venues it can be catastrophic on the community and its economy.


Abandoned Softball Stadium from 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.

Athens, Greece, host of the 2004 Summer Olympics is an example of the worst-case scenario. Athens ended up spending approximately 16 times its initial bid budget to put on the Games. The majority of the venues built have since been abandoned with no use to the people. This act of financial mismanagement was a main contributor to bankrupting Greece when in 2010 the debt crisis began. The government was forced to stop maintaining the venues and they have become a great source of embarrassment for the city of Athens, which happens to be the birthplace of the modern Olympic era.


Abandoned Diving Pool from 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.

Since 2001, the number of bidders to host has diminished greatly due to the negative image caused by the outlandishly excessive mega-events from Beijing (2008), South Africa (2010), Sochi (2014), and Rio (2014, 2016). The increased coverage of these events and the pitfalls of hosting have scared government officials and the public away from bidding. To put this into perspective, there were 12 bidders for the 2004 Summer Olympics, but since has steadily declined to 10, 9, 7 and then just 5 bidders for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The Winter Olympics have been hit even harder. There were 9 bidders for the 2002 Winter Olympics, but that number has decreased steadily all the way down to 2 for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

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Rio’s Broken Promise

Everyone sees the commercials, the market, the stories. It is considered a great time of year when the Olympic games are about to begin. Thousands of athletes with different stories and accomplishments gather together to compete against each other for their country. Who wouldn’t think that was great? Who wouldn’t pay to see that? Unfortunately, over time the mentality of the Olympics has changed. The problem isn’t with the athletes, it is with the hosting country and the billions of dollars spent on the “production” of the games.


Hosting is considered an honour, it is the chance to show the world your country and its pride. Countries work tirelessly to get that bid to host, and when granted, it is celebrated throughout. Rio thought that winning the right to host the Summer games would give them the opportunity to catapult themselves into the club of developed nations. Develop infrastructure and remake the city, giving residents a slight dose of confidence.

That confidence started to drift away over the seven years of developing Rio and it going down in history as the most expensive Olympics games. The pile of broken promises grew bigger and bigger. Homicides in Rio were on the rise, sewage lines lacking, rowers and sailors competing in waterways stained by drug-resistant bacteria. Brazil deep in recession with the government overspending on the Olympics and resulting in not be able to pay for public security, and healthcare.

It made me think why was the Olympics more important to spend money on?

Unfortunately, the Olympics were not a loser for everyone. Contracts for everything have found the pockets of some of Rio’s wealthiest. Confirming that old quote of, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” Mayor Eduardo Paes has created controversy within by visualizing a modern Rio, promising vital infrastructure, and urbanize the poor area of Rio. Instead the money went to the construction of the athletes’ village and a new golf course. Paes stated that most of the money was put up by private investors but, upon further research it was realized that the state fronted for basically the entire cost of the most expensive project (i.e. Subway extension). The construction of the athletes’ village was built-in mind with the plan to transition them into luxury condos post Olympics. Yet, in 2012 London converted their village into affordable housing. The poor country of Rio was more focused on catching millionaires eyes, than the well-being of their residents. The controversies continue with Carvahlo (Athletes’ village private investor) securing a low-interest government loan, and permission to build several stories above regulation, and hiring the construction firm that was involved in a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal. Government choosing to look away due to the fact that Carvahlo has money and is considered powerful. Paes has evicted more than 20,000 families from their homes. Thankfully due to international press attention most families were transferred to low-income housing or received indemnities. Other families were transferred 25 miles out-of-town, so their house could be demolished to make room for a stadium. Stadiums that in 10 years may be used a maximum of 100 times.

Reading this article opened my eyes to the reckless spending involved within the games. Building a golf course for the games to please the wealthy, when money could have been spent redoing one of the two courses that were deemed appropriate. It is the constant thought of wanting to be bigger and better and zero concern on how it could affect the people of Rio. Government corruption is constant, it is publicized yet people ignore and believe it isn’t actually happening. If it does not directly affect you does it matter? This is the problem throughout the world today. Everyone turns their cheek and pretends it isn’t happening. Graft politics in removing homes because of the Olympics when in fact it is just the government using the “Olympics” as an excuse to pursue unrelated projects. Allowing shady multimillionaires to build infrastructure because of past donations to their campaign, yet, the residents of Rio can do absolutely nothing about it.

Media coverage can help and hinder in many ways. The Olympics are followed consistently in the news world. Brazilians losing their homes and receiving an indemnity for their trouble was because of media attention surrounding the scandal. The government is under fire due to the promises promised at the beginning and what resulted in the end. Media attention is also one of the main problems. The Olympics are supposed to be about the athlete’s and yet if a problem occurs during the opening ceremonies, that is what is broadcasted. If the opening ceremonies are lacking in any way that is the first thing that is discussed the next morning. If the athletes’ village or the stadiums are not up to par, then it is considered a disappointing games and lack of commitment by the host. The expectations are high and can be detrimental to the country economically. Sadly the Rio Olympics will always be viewed as a missed opportunity for the country. Focused on building amazing architectural stadiums rather then cleaning up the the cities and water sewage.


The Olympic Games were not established with this mentality. It was built on the thought of bringing the world together to showcase the top worlds top athletes and for two weeks’ peace between countries. Is the problem with the athletes? Some athletes that travel to the games are millionaires in their own sport. Do the hosts believe they have to meet the athlete’s expectations? Do we blame the sport organizations around the world that have multimillion dollar facilities that create these expectations? There is a competition within hosts, who will have the biggest and most over the top opening ceremonies, and what will be done different in the closing ceremonies. It is the same competition aspects that athletes enter the games with; who will be the best?

The main thought I have surrounding the Olympics is when is it too much? Who is going to stop it; who is going to be a leader and say no we are not spending all this money on infrastructure. Who will be creative enough to use the money in a way that showcases the Olympics and build their economy. What country will make money off being the host again? Will a sigh of relief be heard throughout the world?

All these questions have yet to be answered on why or who? I can only imagine the potentially terrifying spending that will continue to happen if someone does not put a stop to it. I guess it is just who will be willing to risk it.

Cuadros, A. (2016, August 1). The Broken Promise of the Rio Olympics. Retrieved September 27, 2016, from


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Bidding for the Olympics: Is it really Beneficial?


On July 6th, 2005, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted at a meeting in Singapore, and awarded London with the 2012 Summer Olympics Games. On July 27th 2012, London held their Opening Ceremonies, finally showcasing what they had been planning for the past seven years. Seven years is an extremely long time to be planning, and lots of things can happen in that span. The crazy part? For a city to win the right to host the Olympics, their bidding process can start up to 10 years before the Olympics actually begin. What’s even crazier, is that there are cities that commit to the time frame and to hosting, they spend money to prepare their bids well in advance – and don’t win. They invest extensive amounts of time, money and other resources because they expect to win and want to have the honour of hosting the Olympics. But, for whatever reason, the IOC awards the Olympics to someone else. Chicago, for example, spent a rumoured $100 million dollars in their losing bid for the 2016 Olympics – in 2009. While it was a major blow to the city, not only because President Obama and his wife Michelle had become personally involved, Chicago had genuinely thought they would be the successful candidate. Instead, the 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, beginning on August 5th, 2016.

bidding_timeline_EN_540Richard Cashman (2002), in his study titled “Impact of the Games on Olympic host cities”, identified several factors that can lead to bidding and host cities spending more and more money as the process unfolds. In addition, some of these factors can also have an affect on a city, when and if they win the right to host.

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What are the inequalities in professional men and women’s hockey league?

History of Women playing hockey

There is photographic evidence of women playing hockey in 1889, along side of men. Women at this time would playing with long wool skirts and would often hide the puck in their skirt as they skated down the ice.

Before World War II women’s and men’s leagues were almost equally distributed in leagues and participation. Women’s hockey was seen as equally popular to men’s hockey at this time. As WWII finished, women shifted back into a more domestic role. Before WWII there was over a dozen women’s leagues in Montreal; after the war there was only one.

There was limited growth in women’s hockey league in the 50’s and 60’s. In the 70’s. the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association allowed females to register for the first time. and US and Canadian colleges started to have female hockey teams.

It was athletes like Abigail Hoffman and many others that proved girls can play hockey just as well as boys. In 1986, body checking was banned from women’s hockey, and it was then that it became one a fast-growing sport, since it was seen as more feminine.

As women’s hockey grew in popularity, it still did not get added to the Olympics until 102 years after the modern Olympics began — in 1998.

Canada Women

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Evaluating the Effects of the Olympics on Host Cities

What do you think the purpose of the Olympic games should be?

Why do you think some host cities have been more successful than others?

Should the current Olympic host process change?

The Olympic Games began as a showcase of amateur sport but have since increased to become a professional/commercial event. The focus for the host city has increasingly become to solidify the international standing of the city.

To become an Olympic host city, the winning bid has to: develop a plan that is attractive to both the International Olympic Committee and the host city and provide bid books, which document how the host city will achieve benefit and avoid excessive burden to its citizens. Thus an Olympic bid may include promises to improve life in the host city, such as the environment, the airport or transit system which is often unfulfilled. The motivation for a bid usually comes from government and businesses who view the games as a way of enhancing the global status of the city (as well as country) which can lead to; potential business opportunities, tourism increases and promotion of the city on a global scale.

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