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True Sport Lives Here Manitoba

"True Sport Lives Here Manitoba" Launched Today

May 17, 2016, Winnipeg, MB – At an event hosted at the Sport for Life Centre today, seven local organizations joined together to officially launch True Sport Lives Here Manitoba, an initiative aimed at responding to the negative public perception of sport. This comes following the 2015 Attack on Sport Forum at the University of Winnipeg, which explored challenges facing the province’s sport community amid increasing reports of bullying, harassment and doping, and national studies showing declining participation in sports due to related factors.

“The consensus was that [we] needed to respond to the negative public perception of sport," said Calvin Hawley, Vice President of Baseball Manitoba. "We looked for a campaign that would clearly promote the positive benefits of sport, one that would engage all sports throughout Manitoba and whose success could be measured. We didn’t have to look very far to find True Sport.”

True Sport is a nationwide movement that empowers communities and sports-related groups – from grassroots to high performance – to combat the negative perception and act on their positive beliefs about what good sport can do. To achieve this, True Sport promotes seven principles: Go for It, Play Fair, Respect Others, Keep it Fun, Stay Healthy, Include Everyone, Give Back.

What does True Sport mean in a high performance context?

There comes a point in competitive sport where the True Sport values of excellence (Go for It) and inclusiveness (Include Everyone) may appear to be in conflict. Jeff Powell, general manager at the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba, speaks to this issue:

“Where it is clear that a selection must take place for a team or event, it is the process of selection that must adhere to the True Sport values. In particular, selection should be absolutely transparent. The criteria should be published in advance and be as objective as possible within the constraints of the sport.

“In practice, this means that a National Sports Organization (NSO) publishes a selection document early in the season so all athletes and coaches know on what elements they will be judged. It means that specific performance criteria are developed, and that where the coach’s discretion comes in to play, it does not do so in the form of favouring family, athletes of a particular race or sexual orientation or any other criteria not specifically mentioned in the policy.

“It also means that we, as supporters and service providers, must act with absolute respect for the hopes and efforts of the athletes with whom we come in contact. The time the athletes devote to their task must be respected. There is no greater sin for a coach or administrator than to place the very short time the athlete has at the pinnacle of their athletic abilities in anything other than top priority. Those individuals or organizations willing to trade a quadrennial of an athlete’s career for anything other than helping them realize their dreams are not adhering to True Sport principles.”

A digital media kit is available here.

Participating organizations include: Baseball Manitoba, Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba, City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Council, River East Transcona School Division, Sport Manitoba, True Sport Foundation and the University of Winnipeg. 

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