Posted by Editor on 12/18/02
Hamilton Bids for 2010 Commonwealth Games - A Commentary
You have probably heard by now that Hamilton won the battle with Halifax to become the Canadian bid city for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. At about the same time as this announcement was made, Singapore withdrew their bid, leaving New Delhi, India as the only current bid competitor.
While we are pleased at the possibility of this major event coming to Canada, we were extremely shocked to find out that the bid does not include track cycling (it was not in the Halifax bid proposal either). The response from Hamilton bid people when we pointed out the omission to them was that track cycling is not a required sport (the required sports are athletics, swimming, lawn bowls weightlifting (paralympic) and table tennis). While this is technically true, it should be pointed out that track cycling has been a part of the Commonwealth Games since 1934. Ironically, the only Games not to have included track cycling was the first one, held in 1930 in, you guessed it: Hamilton!
Canadians have performed well on the track over the years, winning 7 gold, 6 silver and 9 bronze medals - 55% of the total cycling medals won by Canadians at the Games. Track has also proven to be a very popular sport with spectators and television. Track cycling is also an Olympic sport, and the Commonwealth Games are a key stepping stone to Olympic results.
The Canadian Cycling Association have already expressed their concern to the Hamilton bid group, as has Curt Harnett. To add insult to injury, I saw the bid group asked Curt to appear in a video for their bid, and then get completely baffled as to why he was visibly annoyed.
The Hamilton bid cannot point to the cost as a huge stumbling block. An outdoor track of the quality used for the Victoria Games (1994) could be constructed for under $2 million easily; not a drop in the bucket certainly, but relatively minor compared to the $75 million figure being thrown around for a sports complex.
The Hamilton bid has the audacity to say that the success of the Road Worlds next year (just prior to the awarding of the 2010 Games) will be a key factor in showing how well the city can put on a major event. What a backhanded compliment to use cycling to gain the Commonwealth Games, while ditching the sector of the sport that has the longest history in the Games itself.
Do you agree? Well, then it is time to start a campaign to get track cycling into the Hamilton bid. Write a letter stating your concern (attach this commentary, if you wish) and send it to:
Sheila Copps (Hamilton East MP and Canadian Heritage Minister) - Copps.S@parl.gc.ca
Jogoda Pike (Hamilton Bid Chair and Hamilton Spectator Publisher) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Klees (Ontario Minister of Tourism and Recreation) - email@example.com
Bob Wade (Mayor of Hamilton) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Commonwealth Games Association of Canada - email@example.com
Hamilton Supervisor of Sports & Scheduling (Greg Maychak) - firstname.lastname@example.org
John Kernaghan (Hamilton Spectator Sports Reporter) - email@example.com
Steve Milton (Hamilton Spectator Sports Reporter) - firstname.lastname@example.org
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