Haley, equality and inclusivity


TO say that Canadian Olympian women’s canoeist Haley Daniels has had an eventful 19 months is an understatement. The past 19 months, in my opinion, have been the most challenging and difficult for an athlete.

With the all the uncertainty surrounding the opening of the Tokyo Olympics, the 2015 Pan-Am Games bronze medalist had to keep training and working as if the Olympics were pushing through.

She travelled across three continents to look for areas that simulate the canoeing conditions in Tokyo. The 30-year-old narrated that they’d land in one country then fly to the next looking for the best conditions and environment closest to Tokyo.

In the midst of all the preparation and training, Haley’s father made a life changing decision to transition to being a woman. There was no manual to prepare the Daniels family for what happened. Nothing in life prepares you for a loved one’s decision to transition to the opposite gender.

Mr. Duncan Daniels is now Ms. Kimberly Daniels. What I sensed from Haley is that nothing changed, Kimberly is still her father and nothing will change that. Ms. Daniels became the first transgender woman judge in Olympic women’s canoeing.

It took a lot of courage for Ms. Daniels to acknowledge her truth, as a brother of an advocate for LGBTQ rights, we support the men and women who acknowledge who they are, and make the agonizing and difficult choice to transition to the opposite gender. Agonizing and difficult because of society’s judgement and the difference in their awareness.

Haley, along with other women canoeists, fought for the inclusion of women’s canoeing in the Tokyo Olympics. The ethos of the Olympics, according to Olympics.com, “The three values of Olympism are excellence, friendship and respect. They constitute the foundation on which the Olympic Movement builds its activities to promote sport, culture and education with a view to building a better world.”

Part of the ethos should include equality and inclusivity.

We wish Haley the best of luck as she begins preparing and training for the Olympic qualifiers. Our hope for her is to win an Olympic medal in Paris.

Erratum: We apologize to Coach Chris Daleo for the error in last Tuesday’s column, “No dallying with Daleo” where yours truly wrote, “Thai basketball officials have reached out to him, but nothing is definite.”

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