Posts Tagged ‘Native athletes’
And speaking of Native athletes (See previous post about Louis Sockalexis, the first Native American to play Major League baseball) – it’s been a full quarter-century since a Native American competitor won an Olympic gold medal.
Jim Thorpe, who is Sac and Fox, who won gold medals in 1912 in Stockholm, and Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota) who won gold in 1964 in Tokyo.
And, in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, Canada’s Alwyn Morris, who is Mohawk from Kahnawake, Quebec, and his partner Hugh Fisher won the men’s 1,000-meter doubles kayak race.
When Morris won, he held an eagle feather high As he tells Canadian Press, here, that salute meant everything to him.
It honored the grandparents who raised him, and his heritage as an aboriginal.
“It was important for me to be self identified in order to share that with the other part of who I am,” he says.
So it’s frustrating to report there are no aboriginal athletes on the teams that Canada will send to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Aaron Marchant, of British Columbia’s Squamish Nation aims to change that.
In 2004, he helped develop First Nations Snowboard Team with the goal of putting a snowboarder in the Olympics. The program has snowboarders training on nine mountains in British Columbia and one in Washington State, he tells CP.
“What we’re doing is very positive,” he said. “We’re striving to get more athletes to have the support to get to that level. I definitely see our program progressing.”
For his part, Morris says that it’s important aboriginal people are being included in the staging of the Games, something he says could inspire indigenous athletes.
“If the Four Host Nations for the 2010 Games show that there is legacy, that there is ability, and it’s more than just being the facade of the Olympic Games in Vancouver,” he says, “that’s going to lend a tremendous amount of support for athletes who are saying, ‘You know what, that’s where we were in 2010, and in 2020 we’re at the top of the podium.”