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Pan Am bids delayed

JAMES CHRISTIE

April 28, 2009

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/sto.../TPStory/Sports

The outbreak of swine flu in Mexico has infected the sports world.

The delivery of bid books by candidates for the 2015 Pan American Games, which was to take place last Thursday in Mexico, has been postponed by Mario Vasquez Rana, president of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO).

The delay of the formal presentation of bid plans by Lima, Bogota and Toronto came on the heels of a decision by the continental soccer authority, CONCACAF, to cancel the remaining rounds of its under-17 championship in Tijuana, Mexico, because of concerns about swine flu. A statement from the soccer body said the tournament was abandoned "to safeguard the health of players, officials and fans."

Officials of the Toronto Pan Am bid were expecting to present one of the books to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty this week, then jump on a plane to Mexico City.

"We don't have the new date yet, but it's all wrapped up and ready to go," said David Peterson, chairman of the Toronto-branded bid, which stretches across Southern Ontario and north to cottage country. "Postponing is probably the prudent thing to do."

The delay in lodging the bid books gives the Toronto bid team a chance to polish its presentation of the athlete village, whose location was revealed on Sunday - the West Don Lands, east of downtown Toronto, on the shore of Lake Ontario. It was the front-running stand-alone site, though bid organizers has explored using dormitory space at York University in Toronto and McMaster University in Hamilton.

The Toronto site, if the 2015 Pan Am Games are awarded to the city, will be the temporary home of about 8,500 athletes. About 2,000 housing units for residents with a mixture of incomes would be the legacy. It is the same location, once called Ataratiri, that was pitched for the village in Toronto's bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

"[The Ontario government] acquired that land at a good price when I was premier and now it's undergoing remediation," Peterson said. "It would have been developed at some time, anyway, but this could speed it up. Waterfront Toronto and everyone else saw its potential ... and the voting members [of the 42 Pan American countries] are looking for a plan that will be solid and leave a legacy. They don't want to vote for you and see you change your mind."

Peterson said the designation of the east-end Toronto site would not encumber Toronto's chances to get the Pan American Games.

"We have train lines right along the lake and there will be dedicated highway lanes," he said. "Other Games have been more stretched out."

It's the second delay to hit the Pan Am bidding process. PASO pushed its meeting for the selection of a 2015 host back from August to its meetings in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Oct. 7 to 12. There are reports it could be bumped later still.

I think this is possibly a reaction to have the games awarded to a place without the influence of the staging of the 2016 Summer Olympics on the same continent. If say Rio wins 2016 then conventional thought would be that commercial opportunities in South America might be fewer for Lima 2015 or Bogota 2015 . The Same would go for Chicago winning 2016 with a Toronto 2015. The Voters for PASO would clearly know what city was hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics if the vote is indeed pushed into November. I don't think the intent would be to influence the vote to one continent or another based on a bias but to practical purposes of a LOC having to compete in the shadow of the Summer Olympics possibly.

Jim Jones

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I think this is possibly a reaction to have the games awarded to a place without the influence of the staging of the 2016 Summer Olympics on the same continent. If say Rio wins 2016 then conventional thought would be that commercial opportunities in South America might be fewer for Lima 2015 or Bogota 2015 . The Same would go for Chicago winning 2016 with a Toronto 2015. The Voters for PASO would clearly know what city was hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics if the vote is indeed pushed into November. I don't think the intent would be to influence the vote to one continent or another based on a bias but to practical purposes of a LOC having to compete in the shadow of the Summer Olympics possibly.

Jim Jones

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I think this is possibly a reaction to have the games awarded to a place without the influence of the staging of the 2016 Summer Olympics on the same continent. If say Rio wins 2016 then conventional thought would be that commercial opportunities in South America might be fewer for Lima 2015 or Bogota 2015 . The Same would go for Chicago winning 2016 with a Toronto 2015. The Voters for PASO would clearly know what city was hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics if the vote is indeed pushed into November. I don't think the intent would be to influence the vote to one continent or another based on a bias but to practical purposes of a LOC having to compete in the shadow of the Summer Olympics possibly.

Jim Jones

The Pan Am Games were already staged in South America in 2007. I believe that the Pan Am Sports Committee is looking is looking for a change. They see Toronto as an opportunity to transform the Pan Am Games.

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Timing of Olympic decision could boost Ontario chances

Apr 24, 2009 04:30 AM

Dave Perkins

Timing may not quite be everything, but in the case of southern Ontario's 2015 Pan Am Games bid, a new timeline could be a very good thing.

PASO, the Pan American Sports Organization that administers the quadrennial event, has pushed its selection meeting back. Its website suggests it will be Oct. 7 to 12 in Guadalajara, but it could still go back to the first week of November.

Regardless, the ballot to decide between the Toronto-centred bid and those from Lima, Peru, and Bogota, Colombia, will take place after the International Olympic Committee decides on the location of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, rather than before, in August as originally scheduled.

This is a critical change; PASO voters no longer will be selecting a pig in a poke, as it were, trying to read the Olympic tea leaves before making their choice. The Olympics, the premier event, will be decided Oct. 2 at the IOC's general meeting in Copenhagen.

One of Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo or Rio de Janeiro will be selected and if Obamamania remains at high speed, Chicago should live up to its perceived status as front-runner.

Since Barack Obama was elected U.S. President much has changed, including the Americans' paranoid insistence that an Olympic credential was not sufficient to serve as an entry visa.

An Olympic credential is good enough to get you into every other host country; the U.S. getting in line on this issue could win it the 2016 nod. Credentials as visas might not be the defining factor, but the reverse is true; if the U.S. held firm on requiring special entry visas, Chicago would have no chance to win.

If the IOC selects Chicago, that's good for Ontario. Some countries, particularly countries from the Americas, would be able to use the Pan Am facilities (new track, pools, etc.) as training venues close to the Olympic site. Canadian athletes could use the Pan Ams as a good one-year-out prep on home ground.

The Pan Am bid books need to be delivered to PASO by next Thursday. Organizers, apparently trying to be all things to all mayors around the province, are keeping plenty of specific details under wraps. And a bid book is just that, pages of cherry pie designed to win friends. Once a bid is won, things start to get moved around and adjusted.

http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/623723

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  • 3 weeks later...

http://www.torontosun.com/sports/otherspor...366756-sun.html

A jolt of Bolt

Huge demand expected for Festival

By LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

In about 10 seconds -- hopefully less if your name is Usain Bolt -- the reputation of Varsity Stadium and the City of Toronto as a top track and field venue could get a boost.

Not since the 1980s has the University of Toronto's premier outdoor athletic facility been mentioned in the same breath as world-class performances. But with the rebuilt stadium and 100-metre champion Bolt headlining the Festival Of Excellence on June 11, Varsity will be back on the map, just as the committee for the 2015 Pan Am Games gets around to judging local sites.

David Peterson, the U of T chancellor and chairman of the Toronto bid, will be helping with the official Pan Am presentation in November.

"This is a precursor to our ability to hold world-class athletics, a measure of our passion," Peterson said yesterday when the Festival lineup was unveiled.

Organizers have bundled the Festival with the Canadian Track and Field championship , and in the week prior, the OFSAA finals and Toronto public school meets.

Tickets, which went on sale yesterday, cover both the festival, the national championships and select high school events on June 11 as a warmup to Bolt.

Luring Bolt, who is the world's fastest human after his 9.69 time in the Beijing Olympics, is a coup, but star American decathlete Bryan Clay also is aboard and a strong Canadian field features Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, Perdita Felicien, Mark Dillon and Tyler Christopher.

Former track star Bruce Kidd, now the Dean of Physical Education at U of T, would not comment on speculation that Bolt is getting in the $100,000 range for his Toronto cameo.

"But seeing a sprinter like that up close is an event people will remember the rest of their lives," Kidd said. "I don't know all about the TV numbers from Beijing, but he appeals to sports fans far beyond track. And he's from a (Jamaican) community with a very important role here."

Tickets range from $75 to $200 and the event will be televised on TSN. Organizers hope to sell 7,000 tickets.

"We think they'll be enough demand," Kidd said. "We see this as building around other events and contributing to the buzz around elementary and high school track. But we have to break even and the pricing was done with that in mind."

Lopes-Schliep, a bronze medallist in hurdles at Beijing, looks forward to the high-profile events.

"When I go over to Europe in the Grand Prix events, the stands are full, the adrenaline's running and there's excitement everywhere," she said. "To have that in Toronto and to have people experience that would be huge."

This event is going to give the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games a major boost. This event feature world class Athletes and will be televised Nationally across Canada.

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Pan Am Games bid adds muscle with outreach

May 27, 2009

John Kernaghan

The Hamilton Spectator

http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/572336

TORONTO — Branding, bonding and a Hamilton-inspired outreach program were the key themes as the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games bid book was unveiled today.

The launch of the 233-page document backed up the sales pitch that southern Ontario is the must market for the Games movement to reinvent itself in North America.

There was a strong emphasis on the athlete experience, with young people gathering in a region rich in international flavours.

Moreover, a potential vote-clincher in the competition to win the Games and attendant Parapan Games is a program building on a born-in-Steeltown initiative from the city’s two Commonwealth Games bids.

The four-point plan will help athletes and coaches from smaller countries among the 42-member Pan American Sports Organization, or PASO, come to Canada and enjoy training and coaching help in advance of the Games. It would involve athlete scholarships, clinics, and sports administration and marketing workshops.

“If everything else is equal, it could be a tipping point,” said Mike Chambers of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “I’ve never seen something like this in a bid which was backed up with a real budget.”

Chambers, who sits on the 2015 Pan Am board and is an executive member of PASO, called it a “foundational and persuasive” element of Toronto 2015, which spans municipalities from Oshawa to Welland.

Hamilton’s 2010 Commonwealth Games bid proposed that athletes and coaches from smaller countries could come to McMaster University for training, coaching and sports medicine opportunities.

“This is unique to our bid in this competition and most PASO countries say it is one area they can benefit from,” Chambers said. “They’re going to want that leading up to 2015. It could make the difference in the competition, it’s that important.”

The southern Ontario bid faces competition from Lima, Peru, and Bogota, Colombia.

Chambers said it is vital the money to support the programs is in Toronto 2015’s $1.4-billion Games budget, as other bids have made vague promises with no financial accounting.

Chambers was on the evaluation committee that looked at Rio de Janeiro and San Antonio, Texas, for the 2007 Games, which Rio won, and noted the American bid failed to back up with money its offer of help to other nations.

While the Toronto 2015 bid book did not break out funding, Chambers said it was clearly there for the program.

Bid president Jagoda Pike said the new opportunities program grew out of the Commonwealth Games experience, as Hamilton’s bid leaders saw the inequities among countries.

“There was a huge discrepancy between big, rich countries and smaller countries that really need help with sport development,” she said. “It’s the same with PASO. Some national sports organizations don’t aspire to win more medals, they aspire to win a medal.”

In fact, some PASO countries have never won a single medal, she said.

“What we’re hearing from delegates is, ‘Help us take our game up before the Games,’ so these programs would be a pre-Games legacy run in the four years leading up to the Games.”

Gymnast Alexandra Orlando, who has competed in Pan Am and Olympic Games, said the program is unique.

“This is such a great opportunity to help athletes from those countries grow. They’re incredibly talented but don’t have the resources to back them up.”

A successful bid would deliver Hamilton a $100-million stadium for athletics and an $11-million velodrome for the West Harbour location at Barton and Tiffany streets.

McMaster would get a $35-million pool suitable for international competition.

Hamilton would stage track and field, track cycling, volleyball at Copps Coliseum and soccer at Mac’s Ron Joyce Stadium. Burlington would host early-round soccer at Sherwood Forest Park. The Mac pool would be for training.

When the bid book was presented to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today, he said it was important to stress why he championed the Games, citing the link between sports, recreation and health.

“We want our kids to be inspired by our amateur athletes,” he said. “We want more kids from all backgrounds pursuing amateur sports. And we want our kids to be healthy.”

He also cited 15,000 construction jobs, many in Hamilton, and a $1-billion athletes’ village in Toronto’s West Donlands that will provide market and low-income housing.

In Bogota, Mayor Samuel Moreno lauded his city’s bid, which he said had all facilities in a six-kilometre zone, and criticized Toronto 2015’s spread-out plan.

But GamesBids.com quoted him as conceding Bogota’s altitude of 2,650 metres was a disadvantage.

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Varsity Centre to Host Festival of Excellence

http://www.olympic.ca/en/news/varsity-cent...ellence/Toronto, May 26, 2009

Credit: Jeff Jurmain

Usain Bolt, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, Perdita Felicien, Others Set To Blast Off

One of the biggest phenoms ever to emerge from an Olympic Games is set to make his mark on the blue track of the University of Toronto's Varsity Centre on June 11. While the world waits to see just how fast Usain Bolt can run, he will participate in the 100 metres as the star attraction of the "Festival of Excellence." Will Bolt set another world record on Canadian soil?

"Any time you get the world's fastest man in Canada to compete, it's a huge deal," said Mathieu Gentès, an official with Athletics Canada.

The now-famous Jamaican sprinter will not be the sole star at Varsity Centre. The 100-metre hurdles features 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and two-time world champion Perdita Felicien. The Canadian teammates are supportive of one another, but in the starting blocks, it's all about the race.

"They have a friendly rivalry," Gentès said, adding that he expects them to be neck and neck to the finish line. The early prognostication is that Lopes-Schliep has the edge, as the current world leader for the 100-metre hurdles after posting 12.52 seconds in early May.

Still, there are many more athletes primed to make this an excellent athletics event. The Festival of Excellence will feature American decathlete Bryan Clay, an Olympic and world champion acknowledged by many as the "world's greatest athlete." Canadian Tyler Christopher will take to the track for the 400 metres; he is 2008 world indoor champion and 2007 Pan American Games silver medallist. An up-and-comer with a very bright future in decathlon is Toronto native Massimo Bertocchi, who burst onto the scene last year and earned a berth at the Beijing Olympic Games.

The Festival of Excellence helps provide Canadian athletes a chance to compete at a very high level with major competition on their home soil – which doesn't come along regularly. Gentès said the event is a springboard into the summer season that includes the World Championships in Berlin this August. (It also includes the Canadian championships, which will be held at Varsity Centre in late June.)

The Bolt spotlight aside, this event is decidedly grassroots oriented as well. Gentès, who said that Athletics Canada worked with the University of Toronto in promotion, marketing, athlete communication and sponsorships, said a big purpose is to get youngsters involved and interested in track and field. With the motto "From Playground to Podium," event organizers are proudly trumpeting that track is back in Toronto. Throughout the day, kids will be able to participate in the same events that the stars will later on. With the media and populace of Toronto, Gentès said it's an excellent opportunity to have people learn more about track and field and get excited about it.

It isn't often that track takes the spotlight on any particular day in Toronto. But on June 11, all eyes will be trained just south of Bloor Street, on the edge of Yorkville, under the watchful eye of the CN Tower.

This event is really going to strengthen Toronto's 2015 Pan Am Games bid. There are more world class Olympic athletes confirmed for this event.

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BOLT HEADLINES FESTIVAL OF EXCELLENCE ON TSN ON THURSDAY

http://www.tsn.ca/other_sports/story/?id=281285He broke world records at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Summer Games.

Now, the world's fastest human, Usain Bolt, heads to Toronto to compete in the Festival of Excellence, airing live on TSN on Thursday, June 11 at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt. (encore at 10:30pm et/7:30pm pt).

The inaugural Festival of Excellence showcases some of the best athletes from Canada and around the world competing in a variety of track and field events. TSN's coverage is highlighted by Canadian athletes like two-time World Champion Perdita Felicien and 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep who are both competing in the women's 100 metre hurdles event, and 2008 World Indoor Champion Tyler Christopher who runs the men's 400 meter event.

The Canadian athletes will be put to the test by some of the biggest names in their respective sports like 2008 Olympic gold medallist LaShawn Merritt who will face Christopher in the 400 meters, and American decathlete Bryan Clay – dubbed the world's greatest athlete – who headlines the field against Tottenham, ON's Massimo Bertocchi in the men's 110 metre hurdles and 400 meter triathlon events.

The marquee event of the Festival of Excellence is the men's 100 metre race featuring 2008 Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt who set world records in both the 100 and 200 metre races. American Shawn Crawford runs against Bolt, looking to avenge his second-place finish to Bolt in Beijing in the men's 200 metres. Canadians competing in the 100 metre event include Jared Connaughton of Charlottetown, PEI, and Anson Henry of Toronto.

TSN's Gord Miller will be in the broadcast booth calling the action along with University of Toronto Hall of Fame track and field coach, Andy Higgins. SPORTSCENTRE's James Cybulski will be trackside providing reports throughout the event.

This event is going to be broadcast live across Canada on TSN. This world class event is great for Toronto's 2015 Pan Am Games bid.

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From David Monti

http://www.runnersweb.com/running/rw_news_...W_Toronto.html© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved RaceResultsWeekly.com

Thursday's Festival of Excellence athletics meeting in Toronto will be streamed live at ESPN360.com, the Bristol, Conn., broadcaster announced today. Track's biggest superstar, Usain Bolt, will be competing in the 100m.

The broadcast is free, but there's a catch: ESPN360.com content is only available when viewing the website thorough certain internet providers. ESPN says that the service is available in 25 million homes via 45 internet service providers, which include AT&T, Verizon, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, and Grande Communications. ESPN360.com is also available at no cost to approximately 18 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks (those with “.edu†and “.mil†domains).

If you have the right access, you can watch the meet beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 11. Men's events include 5000m, 400m, mile, 800m, and 100m. Women's events include 400m, mile and 100m hurdles.

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http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/display_a...le.php?id=32539

ESPN360.com To Stream Bolt's Toronto Meet

Subject: ESPN360.com to Stream Exclusive Live Coverage of Usain Bolt's Return at the IAAF Festival of Excellence Track & Field Meet on Thursday, June 11

ESPN360.com has reached an agreement to offer exclusive coverage of the IAAF Festival of Excellence track & field meet live from Toronto this Thursday, June 11 beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET. Three-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica will compete in the 100m against Americans Shawn Crawford, Bernard Williams and Ivory Williams, Canadians Anson Henry and Jared Connaughton and Bolt's compatriots Marvin Anderson and Mario Forsythe.

The race marks Bolt's return to the track since injuries sustained during a car accident in April. Crawford, the 2004 Olympic 200m champion who finished second to Bolt in the 200m in Beijing last summer, will lead the challenge in this marquee event at the Festival of Excellence.

The meet will also feature a Men's and Women's 400m, Men's 110m Hurdles, a Men's and Women's mile and Women's 100m Hurdles, among others. The schedule for June 11:

Time (ET)

Event

7:10 p.m. ET

Men's 5000m

7:33 p.m. ET

Men's 400m

7:37 p.m. ET

Women's 400m

7:40 p.m. ET

Men's 110m Hurdles (Triathlon)

7:44 p.m. ET

Men's Mile

7:50 p.m. ET

Men's 800m

7:55 p.m. ET

Women's Mile

8:05 p.m. ET

Women's 100m Hurdles

8:15 p.m. ET

Men's 400m Triathlon

8:22 p.m. ET

Men's 100m

http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/display_a...le.php?id=32539

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http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/display_a...le.php?id=32539

ESPN360.com To Stream Bolt's Toronto Meet

Subject: ESPN360.com to Stream Exclusive Live Coverage of Usain Bolt's Return at the IAAF Festival of Excellence Track & Field Meet on Thursday, June 11

ESPN360.com has reached an agreement to offer exclusive coverage of the IAAF Festival of Excellence track & field meet live from Toronto this Thursday, June 11 beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET. Three-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica will compete in the 100m against Americans Shawn Crawford, Bernard Williams and Ivory Williams, Canadians Anson Henry and Jared Connaughton and Bolt's compatriots Marvin Anderson and Mario Forsythe.

The race marks Bolt's return to the track since injuries sustained during a car accident in April. Crawford, the 2004 Olympic 200m champion who finished second to Bolt in the 200m in Beijing last summer, will lead the challenge in this marquee event at the Festival of Excellence.

The meet will also feature a Men's and Women's 400m, Men's 110m Hurdles, a Men's and Women's mile and Women's 100m Hurdles, among others. The schedule for June 11:

Time (ET)

Event

7:10 p.m. ET

Men's 5000m

7:33 p.m. ET

Men's 400m

7:37 p.m. ET

Women's 400m

7:40 p.m. ET

Men's 110m Hurdles (Triathlon)

7:44 p.m. ET

Men's Mile

7:50 p.m. ET

Men's 800m

7:55 p.m. ET

Women's Mile

8:05 p.m. ET

Women's 100m Hurdles

8:15 p.m. ET

Men's 400m Triathlon

8:22 p.m. ET

Men's 100m

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The Toronto Festival of Excellence took place in Toronto this past Thursday. It was a huge success for track of field in Canada.

The Event featured Usain Bolt and a very strong field of Olympians. Media from around the world picked up reported on this event. Here is an article about the event.

That's entertainment

Fri, June 12, 2009

Bolt captivates T.O. crowd with victory in 100 metres

http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Sports/OtherSp...772111-sun.html

By STEVE SIMMONS

Beneath a steady rain, an entire stadium stood together in silence and anticipation.

All of them waiting for the show that is Usain Bolt. The most spectacular 10 seconds in all of sport.

This wasn't Beijing and it wasn't the Olympics and he didn't run a world-record time on the wet track at Varsity Stadium last night and none of that seemed to matter.

Not to the smiling faces here. Not to the kids who ran laps around the track with him afterward. Not to wide eyes of the young and old, the white and the black, a sporting crowd that looked a lot more like Toronto that most sporting crowds in this city.

A crowd that felt right and a one-man show, despite the rest of the dressing, that felt just as right.

Bolt has that reach on the sporting world. He took a dead game and made it very much alive last night. He carried a sport given up as yesterday's news and made it current.

"He understands his role," said Donovan Bailey, once the fastest man in the world himself, but one who never captivated the world the way Bolt has done. "He understands what it is to be an entertainer. He understands what's expected of him. These people are all here to see him, white people, black people, Chinese people, kids. Look around, this is the megacity, the multi-cultural city. These kids in the crowd tonight, they're the future leaders of our city."

I would love to tell you about the field that ran against Bolt last night in the Festival of Excellence but here's the thing with Bolt: He renders the field irrelevant. He runs races by himself, for himself. There was a field for 50 metres, a field he looked like he was jogging in on the wet track, and then he did what he does: He left everyone else in his dust.

He ran the final 50 metres, alone, which is how a one-man show is supposed to work.

It was Bolt and no one else. He didn't love his time, his race, the wet track, the conditions, but he did what he needed to do. He won handily. He shook all the hands and signed all the autographs. He did the corporate things he was supposed to do. When you're the biggest attraction in a sport that desperately needs attractions, you make life easier for yourself when you smile on cue, when you pose for the cameras when you're on the big screen, when pound your chest or box with your fists or do that Jamaican dance thing, that isn't being a hot dog.

He was Bolt being Bolt. That isn't offensive, it's entertainment. And in a place where most people wouldn't go into their backyards to watch Perdita Felicien run, a whole stadium was filled, paying serious dollars, all for Bolt.

All of it worth the money.

"This is fantastic," said Bailey, looking around in the rain, seeing the crowd. "People don't even seem to care that it's raining. They just want to be part of this event. Usain Bolt is the No. 1 athlete in the world and the world is smaller than ever before."

Last summer in China, Bolt put on the kind of show no one has put on before him. He won the 100 metres, won the 200 metres, set world records in both races, and combined with three others to set another world record in the 400-metre relay. Nobody had ever pulled off three gold medals, three world records in those three races before.

And last night was his first 100 metres since Beijing, the first real race of the season, even if didn't necessarily feel real. It felt like a show, because of the scene. Because there were fans on top of buildings, standing in construction sites, anywhere they could from outside the stadium, because there was no one really here to challenge Bolt. The organizers were smart enough to put together a quality field, just not one that would have the wrong guy lose.

Usain Bolt admitted he ran carefully, just carefully enough to win and not take any chance on injuring himself this early in the season. But nobody complained, there was no reason to. He ran and we watched and this once upon a time story ended happily ever after on this night.

This event boosted Toronto's chances of hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The 2009 Canadian Track of Field Championships is taking place in Toronto. It marks the first in many years this event has taken place in Toronto. This event comes after the successful Festival of Excellence event in Toronto.

This event will be broadcast across Canada and will boast Toronto's chances of hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games.Entries set for the 2009 Canadian Track and Field Championships & World’s Trials

Friday, June 19, 2009

OTTAWA - With the Canadian Track and Field Championships less than a week away entries have now closed revealing a deep field for the four-day event beginning June 25 at Varsity Centre in Toronto.

Exciting championship finals fill the competition schedule; highlights below with key potential finalists.

Decathlon

Thursday & Friday beginning at 1:45pm

Windsor Native Jamie Adjetey-Nelson and Toronto’s Massimo Bertocchi went head to head in the Decathlon Championships last year and are expected to do the same this year. There are 10 events divided up between two days starting with the 100m, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump and 400m Thursday and the 110m hurdles, Discus, Pole Vault, Javelin and 1500m Friday.

Men Shot Put

Saturday at 2:00pm

2008 fourth place finisher Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops, BC will look to better his Canadian record set last season in Beijing.

Women 400m Wheelchair

Thursday at 2:20pm

Jessica Matassa of Windsor, ON and Diane Roy of Hatley, QC were both finalists in this event at the 2008 Paralympic Games with Diane coming away with the bronze.

Women Ambulatory Long Jump

Thursday at 4:00pm

Stefanie Reid of Thornhill, ON has already improved her Canadian mark on two occasions this year.

Women 100m Wheelchair

Thursday at 6:05pm

Michelle Stilwell of Nanoose Bay, BC is entered in the 100m and 200m T52 events; Stilwell is the World record holder in both.

Men 1500m Wheelchair

Friday at 7:00pm

Paralympian Josh Cassidy will race in front of a hometown crowd looking for a Canadian title.

Women Long Jump

Saturday at 4:30pm

Two Olympians; Ruky Abdulai of Coquitlam, BC and Tabia Charles of Pickering, ON will vie for the top of the podium. Both athletes had their turn improving the Canadian record last season.

100m Hurdles

Saturday at 4:50pm

Arguably the highlight of the championships after going head to head in two major races already this year, Olympic bronze medalist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Whitby, ON and World Championships gold and silver medalist Perdita Felicien of Pickering, ON will take centre stage together once again with a Canadian title on the line.

Men 400m

Saturday at 5:20pm

2008 World Indoor Champion Tyler Christopher of Edmonton, AB will defend his 400m title held since 2006.

Men 100m

Saturday at 5:40pm

All four legs of the 4x100m Olympic team that placed 6th in Beijing will battle it out for the title of Canada’s fastest man. Pierre Browne of North York, ON, Jared Connaughton of New Haven, PEI, Anson Henry of Pickering, ON and Hank Palmer of Lasalle, QC.

Men 800m

Saturday at 5:50pm

Two-time Olympian and World Championships Silver Medalist Gary Reed will light up the track as he races towards his sixth national title.

Men 1500m

Saturday at 6:45pm

Nathan Brannen of Cambridge, ON and Taylor Milne of Guelph, ON finished one-two last week at the Festival of Excellence with just two-tenths of a second between them.

Women High Jump

Sunday at 11:30am

Nicole Forrester of New Market, ON will defend her National title and look to earn a spot on the 2009 World Championships team.

Men Hammer Throw

Sunday at 3:00pm

Lethbridge Alberta’s Jim Steacy is on the prowl to improve his Canadian mark while holding his long standing string of Canadian titles since 2004.

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All welcome on this field of dreams

RENE JOHNSTON/TORONTO STAR

Diane Roy powers her way to victory in the 400-metre wheelchair event at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Toronto (June 25, 2009).

http://www.thestar.com/sports/olympics/article/656947

Para-athletes compete for track and field titles alongside able-bodied in integrated event

Jun 26, 2009 04:30 AM

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Daniel Girard

Sports Reporter

From her muscular shoulders to her sweat-drenched singlet, Diane Roy's athleticism is there for all to see.

But for the veteran racer, it's long been the wheelchair others have focused on.

This weekend, however, for the third consecutive year, Roy, a 38-year-old from Hatley, Que., is participating in the Canadian track and field championships, an integrated event in which para-athletes and the able-bodied compete in events alongside each other.

"We've always known we're doing a real sport," said Roy, who lost the use of her legs as a teenager following an all-terrain vehicle accident and began wheelchair racing in 1992.

"But in terms of visibility, for the people watching, this makes us real athletes."

Canada, along with Australia and Great Britain, are "ahead of the curve" globally in integrating their national track and field championships, said David Greig of Athletics Canada.

This weekend, about 85 para-athletes – in wheelchairs, using prosthetics, visually impaired or with cerebral palsy – are competing at the Varsity Centre at the University of Toronto, and they represent about 10 per cent of the competitors in the championships.

"They're showing people this is legitimate sport, it's not just a feel-good thing," said Greig. "It strips this down to track and field, and ultimately that's what this is all about."

For Roy, who won a silver medal and two bronze at the Paralympics in Beijing in 2008, the event underscores that everyone's focus is on ability, not disability.

"It's athletics," said Roy, who originally won the 5,000-metre race in Beijing only to have the result overturned after a chaotic crash. She was second in the subsequent re-race.

Roy, who won the 400-metre race in 1:01.26 yesterday, also is competing in the 800 and 1,500 at the four-day event, the first national championships in Toronto in 40 years.

Colin Mathieson of Winnipeg, who took the men's 100-metre T54 wheelchair event, said as a member of an able-bodied track club, Sherbrooke (Que.) Athletics, he regularly trains alongside his able-bodied counterparts, so "it's fantastic to be able to race in the same venue and cheer each other on."

But it also sends a message to the Canadian community, he said.

"You can post a billboard and you can write it in legislation, but it's not until something like this that people accept and see that we're exactly the same in our training and commitment," said the 30-year-old Mathieson, a national team member since 1995 who participated in the Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Sydney and Beijing.

"It's equality based on merit."

As he spoke, able-bodied athletes warmed up in the infield and competed in events in the heptathlon and decathlon while others on prosthetic limbs warmed up in the long jump.

"We're making progress," said Jason Dunkerley of Ottawa, a visually impaired runner who competes with the assistance of a guide and won the 800 metres in two minutes 4.07 seconds.

But Dunkerley, a bronze medallist in the 1,500 metres in Beijing, said, "We still have a long way to go," including getting more competitors in each category of para-athletics and helping the general public understand what's a good performance in an event.

"We're getting there, step by step," said Dunkerley, whose younger brother, Jon, 29, is a fellow Paralympian who competes in the same class in the 100, 200 and 400.

"But the fact they have integrated the nationals – sharing the meet and the track and the weekend – sends a message well beyond the stadium."

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