Saul Garcia is a former Mexican team international lightweight athlete. Having studied in Canada and trained in the national development squad there, he has a unique insight into the differences between both systems.
03:00 Background in rowing – I chose University of Victoria in Canada for my rowing career. Howard Campbell was my training partner. https://govikesgo.com/sports/mens-rowing/roster/coaches/howard-campbell/112
10:30 The differences between Canada and Mexico rowing. We “tropicalize” rowing in Mexico
07:00 I just asked Mike Spraklen if I could join his group in Canada. The Mexican system has less structure. In Canada people and careers in rowing after university; in Mexico it’s juniors. I was too serious for Mexico and spend as too light hearted for Canada!
15:00 Kenia Lechuga Alanis is the most famous Mexican rower – she’s from Monterrey who row on a windy dam but trains in Mexico City on the man-made basin. It’s really flat water. She is fearless!
18:30 Corruption in rowing. It’s a sad topic. In Mexico public funds were used to fund the President’s Federation and lifestyle.
22:30 The Canadian system is more sophisticated. Giving jobs to people for years who pander to their interests while athletes have to fund raise for their expenses. $6m spent on salaries while athletes have $1500 per month to live on.
24:00 Is there systemic racism in rowing? There is no program for First Nations or inner city kids in Canada, Rowing Canada posted on Instagram about their “Podium Program” and I was one of only 2 non-white athletes on the team. The other was Chinese Canadian.
30:00 The old boys club. In Mexico it is much more open and the people are changing in leadership. In Canada you don’t rock the boat. You get punished if you throw rocks. It’s more the coaches, There’s always someone else willing to take your slot on an olympic team.
33:00 Can athletes initiate change? Alumni and current team athletes need to speak out. Question decisions and funding; form a union for the national team. Alumni with resources need to get involved. Scholarships or your own club – agglomerate around a goal.
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