Tag Archives: David Bedford

David Bedford kicked out as CEO of Athletics Canada over sexual tweets

David Bedford has been kicked out as head of Canada’s governing body for track and field late on Wednesday after a controversy over comments he made on social media.

Athletics Canada announced the change in the evening in a statement posted on its website and Twitter, then removed it without explanation and released it again after a board meeting.

“It has been agreed that Mr. Bedford will be retiring from the organization effective immediately,” said the statement, which made no mention of the circumstances of the departure.

Mr. Bedford told The Globe and Mail he had no comment, but said on his personal Facebook account that he’d planned on retiring in 2022 when he took the role of chief executive officer in April, 2019.

He did not mention the controversy over his tweets as a cause for his decision to step down from Athletics Canada.

Last Saturday, a member of the track and field community notified Athletics Canada’s board about sexualized comments from Mr. Bedford on Twitter, going back to at least August, 2021.

The chair of the board, Helen Manning, confronted Mr. Bedford about the social media activity, and he deleted the tweets and made his account private. Screenshots of the tweets were then circulated in the media. The Canadian Press first reported about the issue on Monday.

The turmoil within Athletics Canada follows sexual abuse and harassment scandals the board had to deal with in recent years.

Two sources told The Globe on Tuesday that the Athletics Canada board of directors had concluded Mr. Bedford’s actions were firing offences.

Athletics Canada’s board of directors assembled in an emergency meeting on Monday evening, and voted to explore his dismissal after the 12-member group was near unanimous in concluding he was no longer fit to lead the organization, according to two sources familiar with the board’s decision making process.

Members of the board said Mr. Bedford acted unprofessionally while presenting himself as the head of the organization on Twitter, and that his behaviour is contrary to the organization’s stand on gender equity and inclusion, the sources said.

Mr. Bedford’s personal Twitter account listed him as head of Athletics Canada, and he joined discussions on the social media platform with tweets that included sexually charged comments aimed at female participants. Some of the activity appeared to take place during last year’s Olympic Games, while Mr. Bedford was overseeing Canada’s track and field team in Tokyo.

Mr. Bedford defended his actions, saying he never directed comments at anyone involved in track and field, did not harass or abuse anyone, and that the posts were meant to be humorous. The board disagreed, and sought external legal counsel with the aim of dismissing Mr. Bedford with cause, according to the sources.

The two sources and two others at Athletics Canada’s administration said the process that allowed Mr. Bedford to retire in place of dismissal did not involve all 12 board members.

The Globe is not identifying the sources because they are not authorized to speak publicly about internal matters.

Athletics Canada’s chief operating officer, Mathieu Gentès, will step in as interim CEO, effective immediately. He has worked with Athletics Canada since 2005, and was named COO in 2016.

Mr. Gentes says he doesn’t see the controversy around Mr. Bedford’s social media posts as a step backward for the organization. “I think that we have done so much on the safe sport side, we’ve been moving forward and haven’t put our head in the sand with these issues,” he told The Globe shortly after being named interim-CEO. “We had so much momentum over the last couple of years. Has the organization made mistakes? Yes. Do individuals make mistakes? Yes. But right now our leaders are making decisions to improve the organization.”

Former world Marathon Record Holder Patrick Makau Retires

Former marathon World Record holder, Patrick Makau, has called it quits and gone into early retirement.

A recurrent patella tendon injury has forced the 33-year-old Makau, who won Berlin Marathon twice; in 2010 and in 2011 with a World Record time of 2:03:38.

“I know this is the right time to say it is enough,” said Makau in an emotional statement on Wednesday.

Makau, who ran his maiden marathon in Rotterdam in 2009 finishing fourth, said with age catching up and a persistent patella-tendon injury forced him to withdraw from last year’s Boston and Berlin marathons.

Makau an Administration Police (A) officer opined that failure to embrace physio work and strength and conditioning early enough during his career is perhaps what led to the slow recovery with injuries.

He regretted that he is leaving a sport that rescued him from extreme poverty as it was able to put food on his table and sustain his livelihood.

“I had a wonderful career as an athlete, a career which profoundly changed me, allowing me to grow and to make positive impact on lives of my family and our community,” said Makau, the 2007 World Half Marathon champion.

The marathoner has now turned his focus to coaching with a view of developing and guiding the next generation of distance runners at his Ngong training base.

Makau, who started his road running career with victory at the 2005 Zanzibar Half Marathon, paid tribute to the late Danish coach Zane Branson saying he was instrumental to his running my career and to his Adidas Running team led by Spencer Nel.

He also expressed his gratitude to Berlin Marathon race director Mark Milde his London Marathon counterpart David Bedford and Frankfurt Marathon race director Jo Schindler among others for the opportunity.