Olympic officials: stay off our turf!

Canada denies foreign athletes access to Olympic grounds

It’s our home field advantage, and Olympic officials want to keep it that way. Citing rules of access to competition sites, Canadian officials have denied foreign athletes the ability to train on the grounds of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. “I guess I can intellectually say I understand,” says Ron Rossi, who directs USA Luge. “But as an honourable thing, I don’t support it, and I think it shows a lack of sportsmanship.” For decades, an open-access agreement between the U.S. and Canada allowed athletes from each country to train on the other’s competition sites. Now, American athletes are arguing that Canada should honour that practice. “They’re playing nasty,” charges American speedskater Catherine Raney. But committee rules allow Canada to bar foreign athletes from practicing on Olympic grounds and some say we must exercise that right if we hope to excel in 2010. “We’re the only country to host two Olympic Games and never have won a gold medal at our Games,” explains Cathy Priestner Allinger, executive V.P for sports at the Vancouver Organizing Committee.

The New York Times

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