Tag Archives: Simon

Survey shows Simon Fraser athletes want Clan nickname dropped

A survey shows a majority of the student athletes at Simon Fraser University support a move to drop the Clan as the name for the school’s sports teams.

Originally called the Clansmen, but shortened to Clan, the name was meant to honour the Scottish heritage of Simon Fraser, the fur trader and explorer who the school was named after. But for some, the name provokes images of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.

“For student athletes and fans, you should be able to represent your school with pride and honour,” said Othniel Spence, a former captain of the men’s basketball team who has been outspoken in his criticism of the name. “Instead, the emotions that come [from] the name is more of shame and embarrassment.”

Since 2011, SFU, which is located in Burnaby, B.C., about 20 kilometres from downtown Vancouver, has competed in the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference against American universities ranging from Alaska to Oregon.

Spence said even though the SFU team name is the Clan, many American athletes and fans hear Klan.

“It’s kind of weird,” he said. “A team name should be inclusive to everybody, but this team name is more conflicting, especially to student athletes of colour. It’s just exhausting to have that conversation time after time. Or hear snide remarks or hear snide comments.”

WATCH | Black athletes find their voice amid racial tension:

CBC Sports’ Jamie Strashin reports on Black athletes finding their voice amid the rising racial tension. 1:45

As far back as 2017 there were calls for the Clan name to be changed.

Ryan Stolys, president of the SFU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, said the protests that have swept across North American following the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta accelerated the debate.

“With the events of the past week, they ramped up [discussions] more recently to kind of address the issue more immediately that we’d previously planned,” he said.

“I think we’ve all experienced a sense of awakening and opened our eyes to the racism that in exists in our world.”

Athletes in favour of name change

Last summer, the student athletes’ advisory committee conducted a survey of 246 returning athletes. They were asked “should SFU initiate the process to change the team name?”

Of the 163 people who responded, 125 were in favour, 25 opposed and 13 abstained, said Stolys.

There have been conversations around a new name, but nothing has been decided.

“There are so many parties that are involved in what that would look like,” said Stolys. “We want to make sure it’s inclusive to everybody, unlike our previous name, and [that] it instills a sense of pride among not just student athletes, but all students at our school.”

In 2019, Montreal’s McGill University said it would change the name of its men’s varsity sports teams from the Redmen after Indigenous students, faculty and staff said the name was discriminatory. In the U.S., several university teams have undergone name changes.

Spence said most of the athletes he knows supports dropping the Clan. Any pushback has come from alumni or donors.

Interview requests sent to the SFU Alumni Association were not answered.

School aware of concerns

In an emailed statement, SFU’s media relations department said the school is aware of the “many different perspectives and opinions about the Clan athletics team nickname,” and while playing in the U.S. “some have mistakenly made associations between our Scottish nickname and the Ku Klux Klan.”

SFU “is deeply troubled by and attentive to the emotions and concerns to which these associations have given rise, particularly in light of our revulsion to and condemnation of anti-Black racism.”

WATCH | David Amber, Kevin Weekes and Paul Jones discuss racism:

CBC Sports’ Rob Pizzo discusses racism with David Amber, Kevin Weekes, and Paul Jones. 7:20

A review process has been underway for several months within the university to provide “the basis for a decision on this difficult issue.

“The university is deeply committed to Black students, faculty and staff, and to the community at large. We acknowledge that we have much work to do to ensure that our ideals for a just society are reflected in our own practices, policies and procedures, and we are actively engaged in efforts to better support the Black community.”

Spence said SFU has the opportunity to send a positive message to its students.

“I believe if SFU really changes this name soon it’s actually showing action, not just using their words, but their action towards supporting athletes of colour and supporting an all-inclusive environment,” he said.

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Gabrielle Union Files Discrimination Complaint Against Simon Cowell, NBC and More Over ‘AGT’ Exit 

Gabrielle Union Files Discrimination Complaint Against Simon Cowell, NBC and More Over ‘AGT’ Exit  | Entertainment Tonight

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Kardashian Family Friend Simon Huck Gets Engaged — See Kim, Kourtney and Khloe’s Reactions!

Kardashian Family Friend Simon Huck Gets Engaged — See Kim, Kourtney and Khloe’s Reactions! | Entertainment Tonight

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Erin Foster Marries Simon Tikhman in Nashville (Exclusive)

Erin Foster Marries Simon Tikhman in Nashville (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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Simon Whitfield credits play with pals for putting him on road to Olympic Hall

When discussing his Olympic dream, Simon Whitfield often circles back to playing pick-up road hockey with five neighbourhood buddies in the 1980s on Cooper Street in Kingston, Ont., where a pothole served as the centre-ice dot.

Whether it was there or a couple of blocks away on the frozen water of Lake Ontario, this is where the Canadian triathlete’s path to Olympic stardom began.

“It bred in me this love of play, pick-up sport and community,” Whitfield told CBC Sports on Wednesday before he was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame along with six others and two teams at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.

While his friends went on to become bankers, musicians and tree surveyors, Whitfield made history in his Summer Games debut in Sydney, where he unexpectedly became the first-ever Olympic champion in men’s triathlon in 2000.

Whitfield, who was 25 at the time, sat in 25th place after the 1,500-metre swim and 40-kilometre bike race. He unleashed a devastating kick in the 10K and passed his friend Stephan Vuckovic of Germany with about 200 metres left and crossed the finish line first in 30 minutes 52 seconds.

14 World Cup victories

“I just had this mission and internal belief,” Whitfield, now 44, said. “When I [took the lead] I thought, ‘Here I am, leading at the Olympic Games.’ I had a real love for doing it, enjoyed being there and wasn’t consumed with all the pressure.”

The 2008 Olympic silver medallist told a story of when he was a youngster and beat the older brother of one of his friends on a race around the block riding a banana-seat bike. His friends wondered if Whitfield had cheated and taken a shortcut through an alleyway but he said it was legit.

“I remember thinking I was good at it and that translates, years later, to be that seed in a young kid’s head, and those people in that legacy end up here today [in the Hall of Fame],” said Whitfield, the 2002 and 2009 Commonwealth Games champion who also had 14 World Cup victories and eight top-10 finishes at the world championships before retiring at 38 in 2013.

Whitfield remembers watching the Olympics with his parents as a child and among his early recollections was Canada’s Dave Steen winning a bronze medal in decathlon at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea.

“I wanted to hear the [Canadian] anthem and see the flag flying,” he said. “My parents never asked how [my sister and I] did in sports. They just asked, ‘Did you give a great effort today?’ It was a key in my development that I’ve passed on to my daughters Pippa and Evelyn.”

At the beginning of his acceptance speech, Whitfield deviated from sports, calling on Canadian politicians to expand the Canadian Trans Mountain pipeline, a controversial project in Alberta and British Columbia.

“Please work together on behalf of Canadians towards ensuring effective and affordable use of our micro resource endowments,” Whitfield said. “Let this effort be guided and governed by local communities, Indigenous peoples with oversight from senior levels of government.”

WATCH | Simon Whitfield calls for Trans Mountain pipeline expansion:

During his acceptance speech at the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame induction, Olympic champion triathlete Simon Whitfield implored Canadian politicians to expand the Canadian Trans Mountain pipeline. 3:00

The 2019 class also includes:

  • Alexandre Despatie (Diving: 2-time Olympic silver medallist)
  • Christine Girard (Weightlifting: 2012 Olympic gold medallist, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist)
  • Emilie Heymans (Diving: First Canadian summer Olympian to win medals at four consecutive Olympics)
  • Women’s 2010 Olympic hockey gold medallists
  • Women’s 2012 Olympic soccer bronze medallis
  • Hiroshi Nakamura (Judo coach)
  • Jack Poole (Builder: Largely responsible for landing 2010 Vancouver Olympics)
  • Randy Starkman (Builder: Late Toronto Star writer)

The individual inductees will be commemorated with murals painted in their honour that will appear in their respective local communities across Canada. 

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Alex Despatie, Simon Whitfield among Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame inductees

Four athletes, two teams, a coach and a pair of builders will be inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame this year.

The class of 2019 includes two-time Olympic medal-winning diver Alex Despatie of Laval, Que., two-time Olympic medal-winning weightlifter Christine Girard of Rouyn-Noranda, Que., two-time Olympic medal-winning triathlete Simon Whitfield of Victoria, B.C., and four-time Olympic medal-winning diver Emilie Heymans of Greenfield Park, Que.

The gold medal-winning women’s hockey team from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the bronze medal-winning women’s soccer team from the 2012 London Games also will go into the hall.

Five-time Olympic judo coach Hiroshi Nakamura will enter the hall along with two builders inducted posthumously — 2010 Vancouver bid corporation volunteer chairman and chief executive officer Jack Poole and longtime Toronto Star sports reporter Randy Starkman.

The inaugural winner of the Randy Starkman Award, given to a Canadian national team athlete who has used their sporting excellence for the benefit of the community, will be named at the induction ceremony on Oct. 23.

Since 1949, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame has inducted 429 athletes, teams, coaches, and builders.

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Garth Brooks Responds to Simon Cowell's 'America's Got Talent' Challenge

Garth Brooks says a collaboration with America’s Got Talent hopeful Michael Ketterer might happen after all!

Following Ketterer’s incredible performance during the first night of this season’s AGT semi-finals, judge Simon Cowell suggested that a country icon like Brooks would be the perfect person to write a song especially for Ketterer to sing during the finals.

A little over a week later, Brooks appeared in a new installment in his Facebook Live video series, Inside Studio G, where he addressed Cowell’s suggestion, and said there’s a chance that he might be able to make it happen.

“I actually got to talk to Michael, I talked to him on the phone, just to get ideas about, if we did write a song, what in the world would it cover?” Brooks explained. “He’s a good dude… you can tell this kid was raised right.”

Ketterer has become a fan favorite this season, both for his soulful, raw voice and his tremendously inspiring personal story as the father of six children, including five adopted sons who he and his wife took in off the street and from orphanages.

The contestant was brought to tears when Cowell first called on Brooks to write something for the finals, and the 56-year-old country icon said he appreciated that Cowell thought of him for the challenge.

“Thank you. That’s a pretty cool vote of confidence,” Brooks said. “And it’s pretty cool to get to do anything with people like [Ketterer]. And it’s a chance to create music, which is what it’s all about for me.”

We’re talking Notre Dame ON SALE tomorrow…AND, don’t worry, I see you America's Got Talent and Simon Cowell!! HA!!! love, g #StudioG

Posted by Garth Brooks on Thursday, September 13, 2018

However, Brooks also said that nothing is set in stone, and try as they might, it’s possible that they won’t be able to create something for Ketterer in time for the AGT finals next week.

“These things, you just can’t make them happen, you have to chase the music. So I’m working on it,” he said. “If it happens, I hope it’s something he likes, [and] I hope it’s something [the fans] like.”

“The truth is, you don’t know if you’re going to be able to do it. And what happens if you do it, and the kid’s like, ‘Ugh, this isn’t me,'” Brooks added, referring to the challenges of writing music under a deadline and for another artist. “So I think the best thing to do is everybody take a breath [and] let this kid do what’s best for him.”

ET’s Denny Directo caught up with Cowell on Tuesday following the second week of the AGT semi-finals, and the English TV personality said that Brooks “loves Michael,” and praised the country music legend for being “a gentleman and a class act.”

“Just the fact that Michael knows he’s got that support, that’s a big deal,” Simon added.

For more on Ketterer’s journey to the AGT finals, check out the video below.

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'AGT': Simon Cowell's 4-Year-Old Son Steals the Spotlight After 'Walk of Fame' Tribute to His Dad

Simon Cowell received a standing ovation from the audience on Wednesday’s America’s Got Talent results show after they played a pre-taped video tribute to him in celebration of his recent star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

After the touching segment, host Tyra Banks walked over to Simon to get his reaction to the sweet tribute, but was startled by his adorable 4-year-old son, Eric, who ran over and popped up from the side of the table.

Eric was decked out in his giant sound-dampening earmuffs that protect his hearing while sitting in the cheering crowd, and he jumped onto his dad’s lap to play with Simon’s microphone stand on the judges’ table.

“What do you wanna say to daddy?” Banks asked the precocious toddler.

“I’m the biggest star ever!” Eric adorably declared with a level of confidence and bravado that he undoubtedly inherited from his father.

Reflecting on the tribute, Simon admitted that getting a star meant a lot to him.

“That probably was the best feeling, actually being alive when getting the star, it was great,” Simon said. “I have to tell you, it was one of the best days of my life ever. I’m very grateful.”

Eric continued to steal the spotlight as he yelled into Simon’s [now muted] mic over and over as Tyra went on to present the next segment of the show.

Simon was presented with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last Wednesday, and he spoke with ET about his little boy after the ceremony.

“He’s the apple of my eye. Just seeing him here today, [I’m] just praying one day he’ll be standing up there,” Simon said, referring to the podium where he had just been presented with a plaque commemorating the occasion.

For more on Simon’s star-studded Walk of Fame ceremony, check out the video below.

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Raonic downs Simon in straight sets to cruise into U.S. Open 3rd round

Milos Raonic felt he stepped up in the second round of the U.S. Open — and the scoreline indicates the Canadian did just that.

After an inconsistent performance in a four-set win over qualifier Carlos Berlocq to open the final Grand Slam of the year, the No. 25 seed downed France’s Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on a hot and humid Wednesday at Flushing Meadows.

"Overall, I did things well and took care of my serve," Raonic, of Thornhill, Ont., said. "I was a lot more disciplined with myself. I wasn't going up and down in the match like I did my previous one. Overall, I'm happy."

Raonic had 17 aces to Simon's none and broke his opponent on three of six chances.

The hard-serving Canadian improved to 5-1 against Simon, with victories in all three of their hardcourt matches.

"He does a very good job of sort of throwing you out of the rhythm, where he plays very slow, sort of gets you to slow down your intentions and will sort of surprise you by taking the ball early," Raonic said. "So I was happy that I was able to, in those important moments, just, you know, be patient and sort of trust my legs that I would be able to hold on, just to keep that pressure on him."

With temperatures reaching close to 35 C, Raonic was happy to have a relatively quick match (two hours six minutes).

"It's nice to get by, and in an efficient manner today," Raonic said. "I don't really regard the heat as a disadvantage or advantage. I think both guys have to deal with it. Both guys have to start preparing for it, not the day before, two days before, as soon as this match finishes if it was the case for another match. So I think it's how you go about the things."

Wawrinka up next

Raonic will next face 2016 U.S. Open winner Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.

Wawrinka, who missed the 2017 U.S. Open, is on a nine-match winning streak at Flushing Meadows.

Raonic, who also was out for the 2017 U.S. Open, has beaten Wawrinka just once in five matches over his career.

"It's going to be good," said Raonic, who is 15-4 since the start of the grass-court season. "I watched him play two matches last week. I watched him play a little bit of his match against Grigor [Dimitrov] on Monday. He's playing well again. He's moving well. He's doing his things, you know. He's stepping up. He's playing well in those big points. He's hitting the ball hard … He's effective with his backhand. It's going to be tough. I'm going to have to play well."

There are plenty of similarities between the two. Raonic and Wawrinka both have a career-high ranking of No. 3 and live in Monte Carlo. They're both seeking their first hardcourt title since 2016 and are coached by former world No. 2 players — Raonic by Goran Ivanisevic and Wawrinka by Magnus Norman.

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Simon Pegg Was 'Really Angry' At 'Star Trek Beyond' Trailers for Spoiling Key Scene

Simon Pegg is opening up about Star Trek Beyond’s lackluster box office performance, and has some specific ideas regarding why the movie failed to connect with audiences as well as its predecessors had.

Speaking with Geek Exchange recently, the actor — who played Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in the rebooted series and co-wrote the third film — said he felt the film was “poorly marketed,” which resulted in it under-performing financially.

“If you look at a film like Suicide Squad, that was around for such a long time before it finally came out and people were so aware of it. Whereas with Star Trek Beyond, it was left too late before they started their marketing push,” Pegg shared. “It still did great business, but it was disappointing compared to [Star Trek Into Darkness].”

Beyond, which hit theaters in July 2016, had a budget of $ 185 million, but only managed to make back $ 158.8 million domestically and $ 343.6 million worldwide.

By comparison, Into Darkness earned a worldwide box office gross of $ 467.3 million off a $ 190 million budget.

Some fans of the franchise have said the film’s first trailer — which was set the Beastie Boy’s “Sabotage” and focused primarily on the movie’s action sequences instead of its characters or levity — turned them off to the idea of watching it.

According to Pegg, the trailer actually spoiled the movie’s major climactic scene.

“I was really angry about that,” he said. “[The trailer] used ‘Sabotage,’ which was our surprise moment in the end. It was supposed to be a very fun and heightened twist, and something that was a big surprise and they blew it in the first trailer, which really annoyed me.”

Pegg also lamented the fact that the promos “made the film look like a boneheaded action film.”

While Pegg was disappointed about the film’s advertising campaign, the 48-year-old actor — who is currently appearing in Steven Speilberg’s new sci-fi epic Ready Player One — he appreciated the love the film ended up getting from many fans.

“From a professional standpoint for me, it was such a great experience in the end, because the critical response that we did get was exactly what [co-writer] Doug Jung and I and [director] Justin Lin had hoped for.”

As for the upcoming fourth film in the franchise, Pegg explained that there is “a script that’s been written.” However, things are somewhat up in the air amid the news that Quentin Tarantino could be involved with the creation of the next installment in the franchise.

“There’s also the story of Quentin Tarantino coming and chatting with J.J. [Abrams] about an idea that he’s had for a long time. That idea is going into the writer’s room to be looked at,” Pegg said. “I think it might take something like him to restart it.”

The actor admitted that Tarantino penning a Star Trek script could actually be “an interesting proposition.”

“I don’t know if that means everybody will be blowing each other’s heads off with phasers and calling Klingons mother f*****s, but, who knows?” Pegg said. “That could be fun.”

However, before any iteration of a new Star Trek hits the big screen, Pegg will also be starring alongside Tom Cruise in the upcoming Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

ET’s Cameron Mathison caught up with Pegg at the Hollywood premiere of Ready Player One on Monday, and he opened up about working alongside Cruise for the third time in the series, and the wild stunts the movie promises — including one that led to Cruise getting seriously hurt.

“It was almost a year [of shooting]. We took some time out [of production] because Tom broke his foot, but he recovered in a bizarrely quick way as only he probably would,” Pegg joked. “[But] it’s crazy what we do in this one. I mean, it’s falling off things again, but higher and more dangerous.”

According to Pegg, the take showing Cruise’s injury is actually in the film. “Your foot shouldn’t touch your knee, not on the same leg. But it did and it’s gross,” he joked.

While he said he’s impressed by Cruise’s dedication, he’s concerned about the star’s determination to one-up himself in each Mission: Impossible film.

“I worry because every time we do one he has to kind of raise the bar and at some point that’s going to mean death,” Pegg said.

Ready Player One comes out March 29. Mission: Impossible – Fallout explodes into theaters July 27.

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