Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Prelude to the 2014 Atlantic Regional Wrestling Camp





The Atlantic Regional Wrestling Camp is set to take place this upcoming Monday, July 28th, and run until the 2nd of August at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. This will be our first event, and it is shaping up to be a great endeavour.

This camp started out of a conversation I was having with one of my best friends, Cj Thoms. We we're training for the 2013 Jeux du la Francophonie, and we began reminiscing about the old wrestling camps we had attended in our youth. These camps had helped shape us into the athletes we are, and taught us valuable life lessons about hard work. We realized that wrestling camps had been absent from Atlantic Canada for some time, and that the quality of youth wrestling had suffered for it. It then dawned on us that we were now in the position to give back to the wrestling community in this capacity, and decided to run one ourselves.



At first the idea seem ridiculous, but after consulting with another one of my wrestling brothers, Shawn Daye-Finley, the camp started to come together. A few phone calls turned into tangible agreements. And before I knew it, 3 guys with an idea turned into the 2014 Atlantic Regional Wrestling Camp.



We now have 9 staff members, and 20+ athletes confirmed for the event. I can't wait until 6:30pm next Monday when we all step on the mats for our first mat practice, and I get to see our plans put into place!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Meet your 2014 Atlantic Regional Wrestling Camp Staff: Grayson St-Laurent!





Glad to have Grayson St-Laurent on board for the 2014 Atlantic Regional Wrestling Camp! He was one of the young mat rats when I was a counselor at the JAR Wrestling Camps, and now he's one of our many talented staff members.




The 2014 summer edition of the Atlantic Regional Wrestling Camp will take place July 28 to August 2 at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.


Camp Pamphlet: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B65QtPQ-buo1QWVpV3N4aEJ4dVk/edit?usp=sharing


Camp Registration Form: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B65QtPQ-buo1OENCd0ZYMURFSEU/edit?usp=sharing

During the camp athletes will be housed in MacIssac Hall, dine at Morrison Hall, and train in the Oland Centre Gym.

The camp will consist of:
• 13 on-mat training sessions
• 4 morning workouts
• Daily education sessions on subjects such as goal setting, mental preparation, conditioning methods, nutrition, and video analysis
• The 1st annual AR Wrestling Ironman Challenge
• & various other fun activities

The Atlantic Regional Wrestling Camp is designed for wrestler between the ages of 10 to 18, and participants of various skill levels. Training sessions will consist of technical instruction, drilling, live wrestling, and review.
Athletes who attend the Atlantic Regional Wrestling Camp will have the opportunity to work with Atlantic Canada’s best talent, and gain the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to be the best!

Sanctioned by Wrestling Nova Scotia

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Securing Sport: Why is Sport the target for Terrorism?

This past September I had the privilege to attend the 2013 Jeux de la Francophonie in Nice, France. The games are a combination of artistic and sporting events, and 55 countries attended in 2013. I had the good fortune of placing 3rd in my weight category, which I think is great, but I considered the games much smaller in scope compared to other “Mega Events”, such as the Pan American Games or Olympics.

However, the security was extraordinary at the games. Armed soldiers patrolled the streets, entire rail lines and highways leading into the heart of the city were shut down, and cameras everywhere were documenting every second. During the event we were informed that security was tightening because of the rise in threat level. Participants from African nations were “disappearing”. Chances are that they were most likely defecting, but the mission staff could not rule out that the causes was more malevolent.

The large scale security of the event made me ponder a question I've had many times in the past while attending other sporting events: “Why is Sport the target for Terrorism?” After further research I can now offer up two explanations why sporting events are desired targets of aggression.

First sporting events are highly viewed spectacles. Mega-events are high-profile, deeply symbolic affairs. These events generate a global audience through intense media coverage. For example, the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China was broadcast in 220 countries. Another example is the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which more than 3.2 billion people, or 46.4 percent of the world population, watched live coverage for a minimum of one minute. Individuals and groups see these events as opportunities to make a statement for the same reason advertisers seek commercial space at mega events: viewership.

The second reason these media-saturated events are targeted by extremist is because of the large gathering of crowds creates a climate for political opportunism. Both state and social movements can draw viewers from the spectacles of the International sport to the arena of their choosing, and sway public opinion.

Governments use sport as a ring for national and global politics. Political capital and social prestige is to be gained by hosting, attending, and being successful at the Games. This is because success is linked with the promotion of a nation’s brand image. This is illustrated by the ambition of the British government was to use the 2012 Olympics to promote British culture at home and abroad. According to the article Britain’s mission was to project an image of a ‘modern Britain … open (welcoming, diverse, tolerant), connected (through our involvement in the UN and G20, politically, geographically, in terms of trade and travel), creative, and dynamic. Governments also use Mega Events to exert leverage on specific issues. For example, Presidents George W. Bush’s threat to boycott the Beijing opening ceremony due to Tibet, or Western Leaders skipping the events Sochi’s due to Russia’s Anti-Gay laws, and later the incursion into Ukraine.

Groups and individuals also harnessed sport’s global audience for protest activity. This happened at the 2010 Winter Olympics Vancouver with the anti-poverty campaigners (Heart Attack) and the Free Tibet protests in Beijing during the 2008 Games. Most have been (relatively) peaceful, with little or no impact on the delivery of the Games themselves, but there have been numerous examples of extremism with both domestic and international terrorist groups. In fact, for the 2012 Olympics, the UK security services believed that the most serious security threats emanate from militant individuals or groups, including Al Qaida, their associated networks, and those who share Al Qaida's ideology but do not have direct contact with them, or domestic terrorist related to Northern Ireland, chiefly from Republican terrorist groups.

With so many individuals attention grasped by a single sporting event, Governments have gone to great lengths to secure their interests. This means incurring huge expenditures in security, which has created a culture of risk aversion. This raises further questions such as whether security becoming a bigger spectacle then the sporting event, and what trends does the future hold for security of sport.

References:
Houlihan, B., & Giulianotti, R. (2012). Politics and the London 2012 Olympics: the (in)security Games. International Affairs, 701–717.

Securing Sport: What Trends does the Future Hold for Security of Sport?

As mentioned in the past post Securing Sport: Is Security becoming a bigger spectacle then the sporting event? more and more major sporting events are being award to unstable regions in the world. For instance:


Russia FIFA World Cup 2018, Winter Universiade 2019

Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014, Summer Paralympics 2016 & Summer Olympics 2016, & Summer Universiade 2019

South Korea Asian Games 2014, Military World Games 2015, Summer Universiade 2015 & Winter Olympics 2018

Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022

Peru Pan-American Games 2019

Ivory Coast Jeux de la Francophonie 2017

Azerbaijan European Games 2015




This trend of awarding major sporting events to developing nations or countries in understable regions will likely cause the security budgets of these events to continue to rise. Unfortunately this will cause more funding to be diverted into security infrastructure, and less away from other aspects of sport & recreation that could better the populace of the host cities and nations, such as grassroots development.

However, the investment in security has led to a number of innovations in technology designed to help secure sporting events, such as millimetre-wave technology, facial recognition, smartphone access control, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) drones.
Millimetre-Wave Technology

The emergence of mass non-intrusive ‘stand-off’ screening will changed the way people are screened entering sporting venues. This technology is already employed in airports around the world. Though still in development, devices are being created to utilize millimetre-wave technology to facilitate the screening of larger clusters or groups of people, improving on the current system whereby fans are screened one by one.

Facial Recognition

Closed-circuit television systems with powerful digital enhancement and facial recognition capabilities have significantly augmented the security services’ abilities to control access to events and to identify known dangerous and/or disruptive individuals and deny them entry to an event. This application was most notably used to identify and charge numerous rioters after the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup.



Smartphone Access Control

Monitoring mobile phone and internet transmissions already occurs in some cases, as demonstrated by the Russian Government during the Sochi Games, but this practice could become more common. As sport organizations move to engage fans in social media, and do so by encouraging them to tweet, share, and like during events, it may become common practice as security officials begin to scrutinize the data transmitted during events.



UAVs

Though some people may be reluctance to utilize this technology, especially on their home soil, the use of drones is becoming come place in sport. UAVs are being fitted with increasingly sophisticated surveillance cameras, high-resolution streaming video, explosive detection devices and chemical-detection sensors. They are also being used to capture footage for sporting events that was once thought impossible, as illustrated by the following video:



Though regulations and air traffic control issues need to be resolved before these devices are fully accepted, drones will be patrolling the skies of Brazil's football stadiums during the 2014 FIFA World Cup thanks to a recent purchase of 2 Drones from the Israeli company Elbit Systems for $12 million.

3D Holographic Projection

The final trend that may change security of sporting events is the proposed holographic projection of sports. 3D Holographic broadcasting of sporting events is on its way to being a reality. In 2009, Japan’s 2022 World Cup bid stated that they would be able to bring the World Cup to stadiums around the world via holographic projection. The bid committee proposed the idea of projecting a game being played in São Paulo on to a football pitch in Tokyo. This could lead to 3D video games, as one of the bid committee mentioned “…sports fans are able to not only create their own avatar players and virtual football teams, but also to set up and run their own virtual leagues…”





In an article penned by Shaun McCarthy predicted holographic projection of sport would lead to “Studio stadia” – media broadcast facilities that are only just large enough to house a football field, but with state-of-the-art television and broadcasting equipment so that matches can be televised without the need to host a large crowd of spectators. This would mean a smaller venue to secure.

However, sporting event have special is the distinct atmosphere that can only be generated by an exuberant fan base. Traditional supporters would also no doubt point out that the technology that is being discussed above has a long way to go before it will become ubiquitous and free of glitches.

References:

McCarthy, S. (2013). The evolution of sport and stadia in a hyper-interactive world. International Centre for Sport Security Journal, 13 - 17.

Securing Sport: Is Security becoming a bigger spectacle then the sporting event?

A security operation for a major sporting events is often the biggest defence projects undertaken by a host nation in peacetime. Millions to billions of dollars are spent securing small geographic areas against the “what ifs” of terrorism.

The 9/11 attacks of 2001 escalated the process of identifying potential threats. Gone was the belief of securing borders against invasions and lone wolf extremists. Instead everything to, and including, complete apocalypse was foreseeable. This caused security budgets to skyrocket. This is illustrated in Boyle & Haggerty' 2012 article which examines the cost of security for the Summer Olympics. The security budget for the 2000 Olympics was US$179.6 Million, while the 2004 Olympics was US$1500 Million (8X the cost 2000), and the 2008 Olympics was US$6500 Million (4X the cost of 2004).

Sport is lost in the hyper security of the event. Sporting events such as the Olympic Games & FIFA World Cup are beginning to feel less like a sporting event with a serious security operation attachedand more like security operation with a serious sporting event. Security planners are combating this problem by instituting a light touch approach to security during events while still responding to threats. Measures such as visible unarmed police, armed plain clothed officers, CCTV systems, & robotics are all being employed to create a sense of safety without making the event feel like a military operation.

However, with more and more major sporting events being award to unstable regions in the world it is inevitable that spectacle of security will continue to be the 800lbs gorilla in the room of sporting events.

References:

Boyle, P., & Haggerty, K. (2009). Spectacular Security: Mega-Events and the Security Complex. International Political Sociology, 257–274.