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Σάββατο, 6 Οκτωβρίου 2012

H απάντηση του Spracklen

 

Fired Canadian national team rowing coach 

Spracklen fights back


A day after having been criticized for his “destructive ways” and for creating a “culture of fear,” former Canadian national team rowing coach Mike Spracklen had a few words of his own.
From his home in Victoria, B.C., the 75-year-old British coach of the men’s eight said he was the subject of a vendetta launched by rower Scott Frandsen, whose blog on CBC.ca supported Rowing Canada’s decision not to renew Spracklen’s contract and detailed why. According to Frandsen, Spracklen wore out athletes with his relentless training program and demanding attitude then played favourites, allowing certain rowers to be “protected from the impact of his wrath.”
Spracklen, who has one of the most successful records in the history of the sport, winning Olympic medals while coaching different countries, dismissed the complaints against him as Frandsen’s way to strike back for not being part of the men’s eight that won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“He wanted to be on the eight and had a race-off with Kevin Light to determine who got in,” Spracklen said. “Kevin won and Scott went with David Calder in the pairs. They won a silver and the eight won gold. It’s a vendetta. It’s all about Frandsen not being in the eight and not getting a gold.”
Spracklen added Frandsen “is not a big guy [physically] and he felt I didn’t like little guys, which is not true. What better way to go about it than to take it to you [in the media]? It’s been said that I’m abusive and it’s totally untrue. But people believe it. People love spice.”
Sometimes caustic, always calculating, Spracklen has forged a reputation for doing things his way. He’s as old-fashioned as a handshake and isn’t big on all the new technology. Olympic gold medalist Adam Kreek described Spracklen as an introvert, “a gentle man” who likes to read and write poetry who can also “be brutally honest as a coach.”
After the men’s eight was relegated to repechages at the London Olympics, Spracklen lit up his crew like never before for not following instructions. The next day, he apologized by saying he didn’t know how else to get his point across. The men’s eight went on to win the silver medal.
“He does not yell very often,” Olympic coxswain Brian Price said of Spracklen. “You could say he can be blunt and sarcastic. He once called out Malcolm Howard in front of the guys. Malcolm is always a slow starter and Mike would say to him, ‘How does Will Crothers [who is smaller] beat you off the line, beat you to 1,000 metres in the single [boat]? Why do you continue to do that?’ The feeling was if Mike would do that to the captain, he’d do it to the rest of us. We understood what that meant.”
Frandsen, currently coaching in California, acknowledged he’s been taking heat over his blog and for campaigning to have Spracklen ousted, as members of the 2012 men’s eight team have stated. The three-time Olympian said he understood why he’s the focus of the Spracklen story but insisted there is more to it than that.
“The common thread, all the way back to 1992 [when Spracklen first coached for Canada], is that there are guys who still can’t talk about rowing because it’s still too raw for them,” Frandsen said of Spracklen’s tactics. “You don’t get that kind of reaction if you don’t just make the team. Mike can shrug it off but the training environment in Victoria was toxic …
“This is not just for me,” Frandsen continued. “It’s for some of the young guys coming up who have already experienced being second-class citizens under Mike.”
Spracklen, who has been receiving countless phone calls and e-mails from his supporters, isn’t sure where he’ll coach next. While many wonder how Rowing Canada is going to win more Olympic medals in 2016 without Spracklen’s wealth of knowledge, the man himself has a different question – how did his tenure as head coach of the men’s eight and national heavyweight program end with an Olympic silver medal and him losing his job?
“You’ve got one person [Frandsen] and he gets as much publicity as 50 people. It’s beyond me how one person can make so much noise and get listened to,” Spracklen said.


ΚΑΙ ΤΑ ΣΧΟΛΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΚΑΝΑΔΩΝ ΣΕ ΑΥΤΟ ΤΟ ΑΡΘΡΟ

sparkles5

12:34 PM on October 4, 2012
LOL. Its great that you people actually think this is about a different of opinion between 2 people. Do you seriously think that RCA would make this big of a coaching change based on one athlete's disagreement with a coach? Get real! Discord and angst have followed Spracklen wherever he has gone and RCA is tired of dealing with it. Sure, Scott is speaking up against him and telling the about why a good number (probably the majority!) of the athletes that have come into contact with Spracklen have a big problem with him, but lets not jump to the conclusion that he is dictating what RCA does. Its actually funny that people will believe that!
Score: 2

PAULICAN

9:51 PM on October 3, 2012
The British rowing programme improved and won more medals after Spracklin left. Losing him is not the end of the world, he still has a bridge or two he hasn't burned yet but not many.
Score: 2

Perspective2016

1:16 PM on October 4, 2012
What is being lost in all this is that the damage done for one medal is substantial. A truly successful program yields multiple medals from multiple boat classes not just one. If Canada wants to guarantee one medal in 2016 then this would be the way to do it. However, if more medals are the objective then a hard loss may be needed for a substantial gain. Scott is simply speaking up for those who are still too afraid of the consequences of doing so for fear that if they do they will suffer if the decision is reversed. Is that right for people to feel that way? but its the truth, and the brunt he is taking is why they continue not to speak.
Score: 1

hammers

2:54 PM on October 4, 2012
Life goes on. Did anyone die.....no. Time will heal all wounds and rowing will survive.
Score: 1

davekealey

9:56 PM on October 3, 2012
Frandsen failed. A reprobate repudiated.
Score: 1

Hab's fan

10:48 PM on October 3, 2012
Most times perception can become reality .
It is up to the modern coaches to allow the team to become exactly, that a team.
Lets be honest the athletes have changed and the coaches have to revaluate there coaching methods to gain the maximum results.
The days of driving athletes with the whip are gone.
Score: 1

Cathsco1

8:22 AM on October 4, 2012
If you watched the Olympics this past summer, Marnie McBean was quite critical of Spracklen's coaching style. She said the rowers were strong but that their technique was poor which is why they struggled when the wind came up and the water was rough. She mentioned several times that the Canadian team did not focus on proper technique.
Score: 1

Whatchusay

9:19 AM on October 4, 2012
Frandsen and Jennerich who are on opposite sides of the fence as it relates to Spraklem BOTH didn't live up to expectations in London. Whose fault is that?
Score: 0

StewNWT

8:40 PM on October 5, 2012
Frandsen is a chump. get over it dude
Score: 0

moosep

11:43 PM on October 3, 2012
The men's 8 is still the premier rowing event in the world.

Name another coach who has a better record in Olympics and World Championships in the 8.

There are only 8 seats in the boat. It's brutal. It's rowing.

Over Mike's term, Canada's rowing team has the best record of any summer olympic program.
Score: 0

Dave Brutus Brown

1:04 PM on October 4, 2012
Mike Spracklen has been a controversial figure almost since the day he arrived in Canada. It was clear then that things were going to change. Rowing Canada's results in Seoul had been a disappointment, and it was obvious that the program needed transformation.

From square one a couple of things were made clear by Mike Spracklen:
1) if you wanted to race at the Olympics (on the men's team), you were going to have to move to Victoria and train side by side with everyone else in a very competitive environment
2) the training volume was going to exceed Canadian convention

I remember very well how excited everyone was back then. Any room for doubt was dismissed by the results produced at the World Championships in Tasmania in 1990 (1 gold, 2 silvers and 1 bronze). Further inspired by those results, I was one of the many that packed up my life in Ontario and headed out to the coast in late 1990. Over the next two years, I was challenged like I never had been before, and indeed witnessed a soaring standard as EVERYONE there pushed each other to the limit. It was tough, even brutal at times, but the spectacular results in Barcelona showed that the system worked (4 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze).

It seems that the competitive culture that Spracklen built in '90/'91/'92 has remained largely unchanged since then. What seems to have changed is the sense of gratitude in and around that Training Centre for the work of its chief architect.

I'm very disappointed to hear that Mike Spracklen was handed his hat. And while I'm sure there are critical complexities behind this decision, I can't overcome the uneasy feeling that it has as more to do with interpersonal politics than keeping Canada at the front on the international competitive rowing scene.
Score: -1

Rickardo b

3:48 PM on October 4, 2012
I'm am speaking as an outsider of Mike's training regiment, so although maybe I lack a little knowledge of his true presence, I also lack the bias and one sided words of people inside his realm.

Clearly Mikes training program is a constant issue of questioning with certain people and I very much agree that if you are concerned about the ultimate outcome of your training or what the benefits of certain workouts are you should ask questions, but within reason rowing is one of the most physically demanding sports out there and pain is at sometimes a constant throughout practices no matter the coach.

I have only met Mike a few times, but am always amazed of his attention to detail and how he can break a stroke down into the tiniest of incraments. its his attention to detail and ability to push people to that point of no return that has made him probably one of the most well decorated coaches out there and controvery asside in the bigger picture he has had a very succseful career. Great athelets come and go and to be able to produce such high caliber boats every time is not a fluke.

I was told once in rowing as a junior the only alternetive to success is death! this is a very bold statement and not many would understand, but when you see the time, effort, strain and sheer drive it takes to be succeful at any level of the sport then and only then will you understand. Yes Mike is a tough coach everyone has heard it, but you have to be able to push yourself to the limit to succeed and he knows this.

In my own opinion Mike has been dealt a bad card and its dissapointing to see him go.
Score: -1

GHodg

5:38 PM on October 4, 2012
The RCA decision to let Mike go is a very clear message that they are more interested in playing politics than in winning medals. Mike worked tirelessly for his team, demanding that they be giving the resources necessary to win, and this rubbed the old boys at RCA the wrong way. He was just as demanding of his athletes, and would always let anyone know where they stood, sometimes in private and sometimes in front of the rest of the team.

sparkless5, you are right that this is more than a disagreement between 2 people, but you are completely wrong if you think most athletes have problems with him. He built winning crews out of pools of athletes many times smaller than the German, American or British teams, and most of those athletes have a deep respect for him. The few who don't mainly did not like that the final selection of the crew was a subjective decision by Mike, and there was no recourse.

Mike was dedicated to winning, and would not waste time playing politics London, Ont, nor waste effort playing favorites. If someone didn't make the 8, it would be because there was a faster boat that could be assembled.

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