(Parental advisory: Today’s post is rated ‘curmudgeon’ and is not recommended for anger-sensitive readers)
Last Thursday, the long awaited ‘official’ Olympic team announcement was finally made at Spruce Meadows. A press release was issued at the same time, a document of the same name as today’s post minus the word ‘correction’ which contained no fewer than 10 mistakes in the form of misspelled names of riders, horses and owners, or incorrectly identified athlete home provinces. I spent no small amount of time over the weekend jumping up and down on my keyboard with huffy emails to EC about the errors. Eventually it became evident to me, through various round-about explanations from various parties, that the announcement had been a joint venture between EC’s and the COC’s totally awesome communications departments.
Without dragging you into the details of the not-very-warm-and-fuzzy emails back and forth, let me jump to the end of the story, or at least to the way it stands right now. EC did correct the errors in the published announcement on their site. The COC tells me they did the same, but I can’t verify if that’s the case because the link to the announcement doesn’t work. I’ve mentioned this a couple of times to the communications team at COC but it still doesn’t work a few hours later, and in spite of the fact that it’s a ‘communications department’ no one has replied with any comment about why the link doesn’t work, or when it might be expected to work. The one thing I can see on the COC news page is that they have used an old photo of Ian Millar with the announcement. Surely there must be something more current kicking around, such as a photo of the team winning silver in 2008 or Eric winning gold…but then again if you go to the ‘equestrian’ pages of the COC site you will be treated to a photo gallery that includes a very small handful of shots no newer than the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
I’m starting to get the feeling I’m the only person who believes that misspelling athlete, horse and owner names on an Olympic Team announcement is anything less than a stellar performance by the duo of communications departments that wrote, proofed and hit ‘send’ last week. No one has issued corrections to their respective distribution lists. Even though EC has corrected the information on its own site(and I will just have to assume the COC has as well, since I can’t access the announcement on their site) , what has been published everywhere from CTV.ca to HorseJunkiesUnited.com contains every single one of those errors. Therefore, I am including in today’s post a little cheat sheet for any of those media outlets who would be ashamed to think they had published misspelled names of the two and four legged athletes (and owners) who so deserve the publicity they have received. I hope my list will make it easier to correct your documents, since EC and the COC seem to have decided they don’t need to help you get it right.
Kilrodan Abbott, not Kilordan
Peter Barry’s home town of Dunham is in QC, not ON
Amistad, not Armistad
Breaking Dawn is owned by Ashley Holzer and P.J. Rizvi, not Ashely Holzer and P.J. Rivzi
Pop Art is partly owned by Moreen Nicoll, not Maureen
Artisan Farms, not Artisan Farm
Torrey Pines Stable, not Torrey Pine Stable (it was written both ways in the same sentence)
Lisa Carlsen, not Lisa Carleson
Lisa’s home town of Spruce Grove is in AB, not BC
Two of the people with whom I have corresponded regarding the errors are EC Prez Mike Gallagher and Dmitri Soudas, the COC’s Exec Director of Communications. In an apparent effort to get me to stop focusing on the negative (something I fully admit to doing in this case) they have both pointed out how much media coverage the equestrian team got as a result of last week’s COC announcement and press conference at Spruce. If you are on the show jumping team, that is probably quite true, though media coverage for all Olympic sports has been more intense than I have ever seen in the past -a likely result of many factors, including residual Olympic fever two years after Vancouver 2010, as well as the recent and ongoing explosion of online media and social media. I would hazard a guess and say that the most probable explanation for the extensive (show jumping) publicity has more to do with the medals of four years ago than with any other single factor. I didn’t see an exact landslide of attention on the Canadian Eventing or Dressage teams, other than some great CTV Montreal footage of Peter Barry that had everything to do with some coordinating that took place with the Bromont CCI organizers weeks before last week’s big announcement. But then again, since the Dressage team was already in England and the Eventers at training camp in Virginia, it’s not as though the July 5 announcement at one of the world’s finest show jumping show facilities was exactly timed or placed to put them in the limelight.
Mike and Dmitri also encouraged me to leave behind all this silliness about spelling, and to focus on the achievements of our athletes and the excitement of the upcoming weeks for them in London. To Mike and Dmitri, I have this to say: I AM excited for the athletes, and I can’t wait to write about their Olympic performances in magazines as well as on this blog. But you still spelled a bunch of names wrong and put home towns in wrong provinces when the correct information was right there at your staffs’ finger tips. Please don’t try to make me the villain because I care enough to be upset by the complete lack of basic proof reading in your press release.