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Sam Edney Addresses CAS Decision in PyeongChang

GOOD MORNING – THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND ALLOWING ME TO TAKE A MINUTE TO SPEAK ON BEHALF OF OUR TEAM WITH REGARDS TO THE CAS DECISION LAST WEEK.

SINCE WE LEFT SOCHI FOUR YEARS AGO, AND NEWS BROKE AROUND RUSSIA’S STATE-WIDE SYSTEMATIC DOPING SYSTEM, MUCH OF THE DISCUSSION HAS BEEN AROUND WHICH ATHLETES FROM RUSSIA HAVE BEEN IMPACTED AS A RESULT OF THE INVESTIGATIONS.

WHAT I BELIEVE WE HAVE MISSED IN ALL OF THIS DISCUSSION IS THE PROFOUND NEGATIVE IMPACT THIS SITUATION HAS HAD ON THE THOUSANDS OF CLEAN ATHLETES AROUND THE WORLD.

THIS MORNING I ASK YOU TO LOOK AT THE FACES OF MYSELF AND MY SEVEN TEAMMATES – THESE ARE THE FACES OF EIGHT CLEAN ATHLETES – SIX OF US WHO WERE DIRECTLY IMPACTED NEGATIVELY BY THE SOCHI EVENTS.

FOUR OF US LOST THE OLYMPIC MOMENT WE ALL TRAIN RELENTLESSLY FOR – A MOMENT TO SHARE IN CELEBRATION WITH CANADIANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY -INCLUDING OUR OWN LITTLE SPORT COMMUNITY.

SINCE MY FIRST OLYMPICS IN 2006, THE CANADIAN LUGE TEAM HAS WORKED TIRELESSLY TO TRANSFORM OUR SPORT IN CANADA FROM A GROUP OF PARTICIPANTS WHO WERE EXCITED TO PUT ON THE CANADIAN JACKET INTO WORLD LEADERS IN LUGE – NOW HITTING THE START HOUSE WITH ONE GOAL IN MIND – TO SLIDE ONTO THE PODIUM.

I AM EXTREMELY PROUD OF WHAT THIS GROUP HAS ACCOMPLISHED –  TOGETHER WE HAVE REWRITTEN THE LUGE HISTORY BOOKS IN ALL RACE CATEGORIES – WINNING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MEDALS, WORLD CUP MEDALS, YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES MEDALS AND WE LEFT SOCHI WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED THREE, FOURTH AND A FIFTH PLACE FINISH.

SO, WE THOUGHT.

AFTER TWO EXTREMELY CHALLENGING YEARS GETTING OVER THE HEARTBREAK OF BEING SO CLOSE TO WINNING OUR COUNTRY’S FIRST OLYMPIC MEDAL IN LUGE – WE WERE FINALLY ABLE TO MOVE ON. WE DID THIS AS A TEAM – BY SHIFTING OUR FOCUS TO LOOKING AHEAD, WHICH RALLIED US TO MULTIPLE GOLD, SILVER AND BRONZE MEDALS ON THE WORLD CUP.

WE HAVE NOT WAVERED IN THIS FOCUS AS A TEAM – WE WANT TO GET ON THE PODIUM IN PYEONGCHANG.

TWO MONTHS AGO – A GIFT WAS HANDED TO US – INVESTIGATIONS DEEMED TWO OF OUR COMPETITORS FROM RUSSIA WERE SAID TO HAVE CHEATED AT THE SOCHI GAMES.

AS YOU RECALL, WE TOOK VERY LITTLE TIME IN DECEMBER TO CELEBRATE THIS ACCOMPLISHMENT. 

OUR FOCUS REMAINED SQUARELY ON 2018, BUT WE DID TAKE A MINUTE TO GIVE EACH OTHER A HIGH FIVE IN TRAINING – NOT ONLY BECAUSE WE THOUGHT WE WERE MEDALLISTS – MORE IMPORTANTLY BECAUSE IT WAS ANOTHER MAJOR STEP FORWARD IN THE FIGHT FOR CLEAN SPORT.

LAST WEEK – NOT ONLY US – BUT ALL CLEAN ATHLETES EXPERIENCED A STEP BACK IN THIS CONTINUED FIGHT WHEN THAT GIFT WAS POTENTIALLY REMOVED AS A RESULT OF THE CAS DECISION.

I TOOK MY FUSTRATION OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA…. BECAUSE I FEEL THIS HAS TO STOP. THE WHOLE SITUATION IS DISTURBING FOR OUR TEAM, AND WE BELIEVE, A NIGHTMARE FOR CLEAN ATHLETES.

LET ME BE PEFRFECTLY CLEAR – THIS IS NOT ABOUT A MEDAL BEING TAKEN FROM ME OR MY TEAMMATES. A CLEAN PLAYING FIELD IS MORE POWERFUL FOR US THAN A MEDAL AROUND OUR NECKS.

 CLEAN ATHLETES AND SPORT FANS AROUND THE WORLD MUST TAKE STRONG ACTION TO ENSURE EVERY ATHLETE IS ABLE TO COMPETE EQUALLY.

THAT IS OUR ULTIMATE WISH – WE WANT EVERY ATHLETE IN EVERY SPORT TO BE ABLE TO LOOK TO THEIR LEFT AND RIGHT, IN FRONT AND BEHIND THEM – AND KNOW – EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEIR COMPETITORS IS WITHOUT A DOUBT – CLEAN!

AS I SAID THIS IS MY FOURTH AND LAST OLYMPIC GAMES….ALEX, MYSELF ALONG WITH TRISTAN, JUSTIN AND KIM HAVE FOUGHT RELENTLESSLY TO TRANSFORM OUR SPORT IN CANADA. THIS MORNING YOU ARE ALSO BEING INTRODUCED TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF LUGE IN CANADA – BROOKE AND REID.

BOTH HAVE WON MEDALS AT THE YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES!

ENCOURAGING THEM TO BELIEVE, THEY TOO, CAN SLIDE ONTO THE PODIUM IS ONE THING, BUT IF I CAN LEAVE ANY LEGACY WHEN I’M DONE THIS SPORT FOR YOUNG ATHLETES LIKE THESE TWO –OR YOUNG KIDS GETTING INVOLVED IN ANY SPORT ACROSS CANADA – IS TO ENSURE THEY ARE RESPECTING THE RULES OF FAIR PLAY.

CLEAN ATHLETES MUST BE PROTECTED!

I WANT TO THANK THOSE WORKING IN RIGOROUS PARTNERSHIP TO LEAD THIS BATTLE. WE WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THEM IN THIS FIGHT – AND WE ARE ENCOURAGING THE IOC TO PUSH FOR ANOTHER APPEAL.

BUT WITH THAT SAID, THE SHOW MUST GO ON. WE CANNOT CONTROL WHO WE ARE COMPETING AGAINST – ALL WE CAN DO IS TO BE FULLY PREPARED AND REMAIN FOCUSED ON THE GOAL AHEAD OF US…..TO CONTRIBUTE TO TEAM CANADA’S MEDAL COUNT NEXT WEEK.

IN CLOSING, I WOULD ASK YOU TO RESPECT THAT OUR TEAM WILL NOT BE COMMENTING ON THIS SITUATION ANY FURTHER, NOR WILL WE TAKE ANY QUESTIONS ON THE MATTER UNTIL THE COMPLETION OF OUR RACES HERE IN PYEONGCHANG.

WE ARE NOW FOCUSED ON FINISHING THE RACE WE STARTED 8 YEARS AGO, AND SEIZING THE MOMENT IN PYEONGCHANG.

THANK YOU.