(OTTAWA) Four athletes reiterated their call for national inquiries to shed light on culture in their respective sports in Canada Monday as part of a hearing by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
Soccer players Ciara McCormack and Andrea Neil, as well as boxer Myriam Da Silva Rondeau and fencer Emily Mason have each called for an investigation into the handling of complaints of abuse and mismanagement that plague their organizations respective sports and those across the country.
These women spoke to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage about the barriers they encountered when trying to report inappropriate behaviour. They also stressed that athletes must be better protected, in particular by adopting laws that will protect athletes who choose to report.
McCormack, who penned a piece in which she described the abuse she witnessed from former Vancouver Whitecaps and Canadian women’s soccer coach Bob Biranda, said she no longer feels safe in Canada because of the comments she made. Biranda was sentenced to 16 months in prison in 2022 for sexual mischief that caused “irreparable harm” to four teenage athletes.
Rondeau added that she is being sued by the Canadian Boxing Federation’s high performance director for comments she made on social media about alleged assaults.
Rachael Denhollander, a lawyer and ex-gymnast who denounced the actions of Larry Nassar at USA Gymnastics, also spoke.