The Sporting Pedigree of “You Can Do It! The FYD Story”

The launch of You Can Do It ! The FYD Story has been successful, the first order of books has sold out and we are going to re-print as fast as we can.

Stuart R Harrison & Morag Rosie

Stuart R Harrison & Morag Rosie

The background to my collaboration with Morag Rosie is very interesting, not in the least that she comes from a family with a powerful sporting pedigree. Her father, James MacLean was a professional footballer with Cardiff City. 

James MacLean, Cardiff City FC

James MacLean, Cardiff City FC

Morag  competed nationally in deaf sports competitions and she was successful at first with swimming, badminton and then table tennis. She competed right up until she started a family and sports became a lifelong hobby.

Her eldest daughter Fiona is a successful Deaflympian having competed in both badminton and tennis. She won two silver medals for mixed doubles and singles badminton at the 1985 Los Angeles World Games. More recently, she was Chef de Mission of the GB Deaflympic team in Sofia 2013. Her own daughter Bethany has also followed in her Mother’s sporting footsteps to the Deaflympics and Deaf Tennis World Championships earlier this year.

The FYD story makes several references to the brainchild of Morag and her colleagues at FYD/Breakthrough – Communication Through Sport (CTS). Using sport as a mechanism for developing sucessful partnerships between deaf and hearing people.

UK Deaf Sport Trustee Piers Martin, Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch MP, Craig Crowley MBE.

UK Deaf Sport Trustee Piers Martin, Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch MP, Craig Crowley MBE.

One of those to benefit from CTS is former President of the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf, Craig Crowley, who has been proactive this afternoon by meeting the  UK government Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch MP. The recognition of the Deaflympics was a primary item on their agenda. Craig was accompanied by UK Deaf Sport Trustee, Piers Martin.

If you have a couple of minutes, you can watch Fiona in action as C.de M. at the  Sofia Deaflympics, commenting on the performance of her daughter Bethany who was competing in the tennis competition !

10 Reasons why Russia won the game.

Last Tuesday, ice hockey officials awarded a highly controversial last-second goal to Russia, which has most likely denied the Americans the opportunity to compete in the Deaflympic gold medal match today.

Rules of sport are always complicated and fraught with difficulty. But it s also the responsibility of competition organisers to ensure that the selection of tournament officials is done correctly in order to avoid any doubt when it comes to the interpretation of rules.

The controversial goal has been analysed from different angles by television and amateur video footage. The Americans submitted the initial protest within the 30-minute window. When the result came back still in favour of the goal, the Americans lodged an appeal – this too was overruled despite overwhelming evidence in favour of America.

You can see the video evidence for yourself here. Thanks to “Juciermk”

Two days ago, Two Big Ears consulted with their own contacts in Ice Hockey, who are independent from Deaf sport. Their conclusion is that the referee’s decision is final.

Now, normally, we would move on and chalk it all down to experience. But not on this occasion, because the Americans are now waking up and coming to terms with what it is really like to get into bed with the Russians. The official USA Winter Deaflympic news service believes “This event will most certainly result in continued discussions, and hopefully changes so that other teams so not suffer similar injustices in future events.”

Based on the evidence presented to us, the conclusion is that, as long as Russia is in charge of the Deaflympics, the ICSD will allow mismanagement to continue. Host nations will continue to select tournament officials that swing decision-making in their favour. The Russians are not stupid, but they are arrogant, and corrupt deep within their national psyche. Here are the ten reasons why Russia beat America 6-5 on Tuesday evening.

1. HOST NATION-BIAS

The Russian government has invested heavily into Deaf sport and the Deaflympics. On the one hand this is to be applauded, and puts other nations such as the USA and the UK to shame. However, they are a nation whose politics, economy and sport is so heavily entrenched in corruption that they should not have been allowed to host in the first place. The Russian Deaf Sport Federation (RDSF) did not pay the required $25,000 registration fee when originally applying to host the games, this action contributing to the fiscal mess that the ICSD now find themselves in. Approval was only given once RDSF’s own people had taken over the asylum.

2. THE ICSD ARE NOT IN CHARGE.

First of all, evidence strongly demonstrates that the ICSD have lost control of the 13th Winter Deaflympics and the Russians are taking every advantage possible to ensure they win. Whilst Two Big Ears applauds Russia for working in partnership with non-deaf people to host the games, they are seen by others to have taken advantage of the controversial last-second goal to ensure that a team of veteran ice hockey professionals are not defeated by a young and upcoming team of American youngsters.

Secondly, sportsMX TV reported that ICSD President Rukhledev was brought in to mediate between the Russians and the Americans over the goal controversy. By participating in this way, Rukhledev and demonstrated yet again his incompetency to lead the Deaflympic movement;

a) He is the President and therefore cannot be involved with any disputes – but he chose to ignore this and carry on anyway.

b) He is Russian, so how was he going to make himself impartial to any decision-making? Why did he not instruct his neutral Vice President to attend the meeting instead?

c) It was the responsibility of the ICSD TD to resolve the dispute, not the President.

3. THE PROTEST COMMITTEE IS BIASED

The ICSD regulations allow the host (The Organising Committee) to choose who takes control of each sport. In this case, the Russians have appointed three of their own countrymen headed by well-known skating coach. Given reason 1 and 2, it is not surprising that the last-second goal could have been voted 3-1 against. The American protest and subsequent appeal has so far failed to extract “… a clear explanation as to why the goal was counted…” (official US Deaflympic media)

4. RUSSIANS DON’T DO COMPROMISE

According to the USA Deaflympic news reports, there have now been several days since the controversial result was made for officials to have made a correction. Either to have the two teas plan an overtime period, or just agree to a 5-5 tie. Sorry guys, that isn’t going to happen. This is the Russians you are dealing with.

5. RUSSIANS DO CORRUPTION AND CHEATING – IT IS BUSINESS AS USUAL

The Russian Deaf Sports Federation has been found guilty by a court of Law of falsifying an athlete’s audiogram to discredit him. The ICSD Congress has voted to ignore this and carry on. This is normal behaviour from Russians when it comes to participating internationally in sport and foreign policy, as the next two reasons will show:

6. DOPING IN SPORT IS A RUSSIAN NORM

The IAAF is struggling to find real evidence of doping amongst the ranks of Russian athletics. Good luck, it does not have the resources against the Russian system. The same goes for the ICSD, and the audiogram ‘doping’. And;

7. RUSSIAN TACTIC: DENIAL, DENIAL, DENIAL

When Russia invaded the Ukraine, they denied accusations that they had sent in their own troops to take control. When they had control of the Crimea, they clarified that “volunteers” had crossed the border. When faced with the clear evidence of audiogram fraud, they have remained silent and taken advantage of ICSD amateurism and distrust amongst nations to shield themselves from having to come clean.

8. IF THE RUSSIAN’S DON’T LIKE YOU…

One day you will be minding your own business, crossing a bridge and you will get shot from behind.

9. RUSSIANS BLAME OTHER PEOPLE:

  • The invasion of the Ukraine was not their fault
  • Shooting political activists is not their fault
  • Campaigning to overrule the early cancelation of the 2011 Winter Deaflympics, and then blaming others when it all fell apart is not their fault.
  • Concerns about audiogram cheating is just ‘sour grapes’

10. RUSSIANS TAKE CREDIT WHERE IT IS NOT DUE:

  • Contemporary recognition from IOC is not down to Rukhledev, it is thanks to Crowley’s diplomacy (2009-2013)
  • The concept of the International Deaflympic Committee is not Rukhledev’s idea. It was created during Ammons’ residency (pre 2009).
  • Russians have not contributed any beneficial actions to safeguard ICSD or the Deaflympics.

The world should not be surprised then, that the Russians have never been given the opportunity to lead, in any shape or form, a multinational sport federation, commercial entity or geopolitical organisation that includes Western nations. The ICSD Presidency has been a gift to the Russians to practice their imperialism and anti-IOC agenda.

A pity then that Russia has not taken the greatest opportunity to demonstrate good practice by ensuring that the Protest Committee of the ICSD Deaflympic Ice Hockey tournament was multi-national. Something that was well within their means to achieve to ensure that Olympic-level sports governance is transparent. Instead, they have chosen to play the game their way and have done the Deaflympic movement a further disservice by creating further controversy.

 

Deaf Sports takes another backward step into obscurity.

Kang Chen, the Vice President – World Sports, International Committee of the Deaf (ICSD), has appointed former president and vice president Donalda Ammons and Josef Willmerdinger to join him onto the three-person Deaflympics Evaluation and Coordination Commission. Both Ammons and Willmerdinger were responsible for heading up the catastrophic selection of host countries for the 2011 Winter and 2013 Summer Deaflympics and yet, Kang believes that they are his best choice of counsel to safeguard future games.

The major task of the commission is to monitor the progress of the Deaflympics Organising Committee (DOC) and assist the DOC in the delivery of future games. Their first task will be the scrutiny of the 2017 DOC host Turkey with site inspections and inspections of forward plans and preparations.

Such an appointment demonstrates once again the inability of the ICSD Executive to make rational decisions based on previous experience. They have approved the full time appointment of their CEO Rebrov from Russia who has been found complicit in the falsifying of athletes audiograms in order to discredit an athlete and now Chen has appointed Ammons and Willmerdinger whose decisions to choose the one-man operation in Slovakia that swindled millions of dollars in the Winter Deaflympics that never was and both were also in charge when ICSD simultaneously, allowed Greece a nation with insurmountable debt to go ahead and host the 2013 Summer Deaflympics.

Chen and Rebrov should be asked why they did not appoint former president Craig Crowley onto their Evaluation and Cooordination Commission. He would be a good candidate as he demonstrated that he was capable of identifying the major flaws in Slovakia and Greece as soon as he was appointed. If the ICSD Executive is looking for someone with backbone and an eye for detail, then Crowley would have been seen as a good choice.

The present incumbents were amongst those who were highly critical of Crowley’s decision to stop the Slovakian Winter games in May 2010 when his due diligence and site visits discovered major flaws – the current president of the ICSD, Ruhkledev was instrumental in the defiance of Crowley and persuading the ICSD to overule him in December 2010 and reinstate the Slovakian games which, in the end, had to be cancelled when Crowley’s concerns were proven right. It is not surprising then, that ICSD has reverted to type, pre- Crowley.

Is this the beginning of the end of the Deaflympics ?

IPC refutes Deaf comments about 2012 Paralympics

There was an interesting article by Joel Hammer on the BBC Sports website this week discussing the accessibility of the 2012 Paralympics in relation to Deaf spectators and athletes.

The headline ran with Craig Crowley’s comment that some people were made to feel like ‘second-class’ citizens when the attended or participated in the 2012 Paralympics.

The IPC responded on the defensive as an IPC spokesperson “we refute any allegation.”

The IPC refuse to accept the comment that deaf people felt like ‘second-class’ citizens because “absolutely no concerns were expressed to the IPC from deaf athletes or spectators before, during or after London 2012.” and on that basis no deaf people were made to feel like second-class citizens “at the best Paralympic Games ever.”

This is a rather unfortunate response from the IPC, especially as Craig Crowley was diplomatic in in comments on the BBC Sports Hour programme because he did commend the efforts that the organisers had made to improve communication and accessibility but they were still not ‘offered on a full basis’. Crowley justified his comments because in his role as president of the ICSD, he had the opportunity to tour the athletes village and attend some events and in his conversations with people he received feedback that prompted him to suggest that people felt treated like second-class citizens.

Is the IPC really not willing to accept criticism ?

According to their spokesperson they have never received any complains – and so according to them, Crowley is wrong. But the facts speak for themselves – people have spoken to Crowley and shared their experiences with him. I have also gathered comments from others who were also at the Games – athletes, officials and volunteers which suggest that if the ICSD is going to be able to make any progress in discussing the possibility of agreeing to have Deaflympic athletes and sports in the Paralympics, then they really have got their work cut out because it would appear, from the response we read this week, that the IPC are going to be difficult to negotiate with.

LOCOG themselves published a report on the accessibility of the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, it makes interesting and extremely positive reading. Whilst it does not reveal any negative criticism, the recommendations in the report do suggest that there were things that were not ideal and thus the report has listed ways in which future world class event organisers can accommodate and include spectators to avoid treating them as ‘second-class’.

In my role at UK Deaf Sport am looking forward to joining my colleagues and discussing matters of accessibility and inclusion with representatives of the British Paralympic Association as soon as possible in order that we can help them improve things for deaf athletes who already qualify to compete under IPC classifications. Our discussions will be constructive, but they will also be frank and at times uncomfortable. They will include testimonials from athletes, volunteers and officials who were at the 2012 Paralympics and the recommendations of the LOCOG report. I am confident that we can work collaboratively for the benefit of deaf people in sport.

Does this mean that we will be asking for Deaflympic athletes to be included in future Paralympic Games ? Realistically, it is not a matter than can be resolved and agreed at one meeting. The politics and structures of the Olympic family are contrived and will take time. Through these discussions and meetings we will all be able to look to the future possibilities and determine what can be achieved in the best interest of deaf people in sport.

It is rather difficult to explain everything here on the blog. For more information and in-depth discussions about the relationships between the ICSD, IPC and IOC and the issues that will need to be covered in terms of potentially taking the ICSD back into the IPC and entering athletes into the Paralympics under a Deaf classification, you can read Same Spirit Different Team a new book, which will be released for sale shortly. You can order your copy here.

Would you like to contribute to our discussions with the IPC and BPA ? Did you attend the 2012 Paralympics as a spectator, athlete or official ? You are welcome to share your comments here both or you can email in confidence to me at my UKDS email sharrison@ukdeafsport.org.uk.

Let’s do the right thing.

The BBC asks questions about the Deaflympics

As Russia announced that they will be hosting the 2015 Winter Deaflympics, the BBC interviewed a discussion with former ICSD President Craig Crowley and Andy Palmer, Deputy Editor of the deaf news website The Limping Chicken.

A transcript of the radio discussion is available

They discussed:

  • The importance in difference between the Deaflympics and the Paralympics and the reason for separate games.
  • The big question : Are we Deaf or Disabled?
  • The relationship between the ICSD and the IPC and the pros and cons.
  • The concerns about ‘time running out for Deaf sport’ if it does not deal with the question about Deaflympics and Paralympics.

As with many other important questions like this, there is never enough time in a radio show to really cover everything in detail. Fortunately, the latest book on the Deaflympics,  Same Spirit Different Team  allows you to read up further on the topics raised in the show.

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The book is proving popular in the UK and also overseas. International readers have been having difficulty placing orders over the internet but fortunately the publishers have now been able to deal with the technical issues involved and they hope that the problem has now been solved.

The book is available to pre-order

 

Why did you choose Rukhledev ?

A few days ago, Valery Rukhledev of Russia narrowly removed Craig Crowley to become the new president of the ICSD. 

It is a bizarre result because Rukhledev made no public commitment of his intentions or vision for the future, so what exactly have people voted for?

Perhaps you voted for Rukhledev and you can explain ? 

I wait to hear from you.

 

 

What are we learning from the Russians?

Eleven days ago I mentioned the three-way race for the Presidency of the ICSD, for the right to lead the Deaflympic movement for the next four years. 

At the time, we did not have much information from the Russian candidate Valery Rukhledev, that was, until yesterday, when there was a press release announcing that the Russian President Putin had given his support to Valery

Whilst it is  great to see a world leader of Putin’s standing recognise the importance of the Deaflympic games – we must not get  distracted.

We must focus on the real world and the real work at hand. We have an important decision to make and it must be made on the basis of a plan or manifesto that the candidate outlines for their term of office. Since my last blog, Barish has published his promise of “Global Change Through Sports” but, we still have nothing from Rukhledev, all we know is that just like Crowley and to some extent Barish he was an athlete and he has been a  leader for deaf -rights in his home country. But, what about his vision for global sport in relation to Deaf people? 

If you still have not made up your mind who you would vote for, here are the links to the candidates campaigns again.

Craig Crowley (GBR)

Valery Rukhledev (RUS)

Joel Barish (USA)

 

We only have eight days remaining before Congress make their decision, you the public can make your opinions known here. Your influence could make a difference. Let’s hear what you have to say.