Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday July 17, 2015
Pan Am Games: 4 members of Cuban rowing team defect to U.S., coach say
Four Cuban rowers have defected to the U.S. during the Pan Am Games, according to the team’s coach, a move one agent says is likely due to economic conditions inside Cuba.
Coach Juan Carlos Reyes says Leosmel Ramos, Wilber Turro, Manuel Suarez and Orlando Sotolongo have left the team and travelled to the United States. There are more than 150 Cuban athletes at the Pan Am Games, competing in a range of sports.
Reyes says Ramos and Turro dropped out before the regatta began on Saturday while Suarez and Sotolongo were in earlier races and then withdrew. Sotolongo won a silver medal at the Games and made a Facebook post about his love for Cuba shortly before leaving the team.
Two Cuban baseball players, Luis Yander La O and Yadiel Hernandez, previously defected during a tune-up competition in North Carolina the week before the Games.
Joe Kehoskie, a U.S.-based agent who has represented several Cuban baseball players, said the defections are likely driven by the economic conditions inside Cuba rather than the chance to pursue a sports career in the U.S.
While the U.S. is in the process of normalizing relations with Cuba, including a recent agreement to reopen embassies, Kehoskie said many Cubans are more concerned with leaving the island now than ever. That’s because, he said, the U.S. may end its “wet foot/dry foot” policy, which allows any Cuban who steps foot on U.S. soil to remain in the country.
U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to keep the policy earlier this year. The Cuban government opposes it, saying the policy promotes illegal immigration and human trafficking.(Source: CBC News)
By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday August 3, 2012
Women claim Canada’s second Olympic silver in rowing
The night before they went for gold, the Canadian women’s eight met and made a solemn pledge.
Others might measure their success by a different standard. But as long as they maintained their trust in each other, as long as they performed as a team, and as long as they expended every last joule of energy in their beings, they would be satisfied with their race.
On Thursday, they met every one of their goals. The silver medals that hung around their necks was just a happy by-product of all that.
“I had so much trust in the work we’ve done,” said Richmond’s Darcy Marquardt, one of the boat’s leaders and a medalist, finally, in her third Olympics. “We’ve been so consistent day after day in training and racing this season. We laid it all on the line today and that’s an Olympic silver. We can’t be upset with that.”
Which was both an honest and realistic assessment of their race.
As much as the Canadian crew did everything in their power at Lake Dorney, they ran into a monster boat in the gold-medal crew from the United States. The Americans, who were the defending Olympic champions, were last defeated in international competition in 2005 and returned six of the nine crew members from Beijing.
They also looked every inch the favourite at the Eton College rowing basin.
In a wire-to-wire win, the Americans beat back an early challenge from the Dutch and a late challenge from the Canadians but never seemed particularly concerned about either boat. The Canadians made a bit of a move over the final 500 metres but still finished almost a second and a half behind the Americans. (Source: National Post)