Play as you are: Olympians set positive goals for LGBTQ in Canadian sport


Originally appeared at Olympic.ca The news: On Tuesday the Canadian Olympic Committee announced plans to foster LGBTQ inclusivity in national sport. The #OneTeam Athlete Ambassador program will hit schools to speak about mental fitness and equality, supported by a first-ever school resource Read more

Olympic.ca: The Sochi plan and the hockey team that won with it


Originally posted at Olympic.ca We all sort of chuckled when Canada’s men were playing ball hockey in the summer. It was strange yet familiar, there was something about insurance, and it looked fun. But when Mike Babcock had the floor, he Read more

Olympic.ca: Contrasting Cowboys: The differences between Canada’s medal-chasing alpine men


If cowboys in the wild west come in all varieties, then maybe it makes sense the Canadian ski racing buckaroos are all so different. A silver medallist at 2013’s test event in Sochi, Ben Thomsen is a ‘scrappy skier’ according toJan Hudec, Read more

2-time Olympic medallist Elizabeth Beisel talks to Callum Ng

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I sat down with 2-time Olympic medalist Elizabeth Beisel. Sometimes interviews take on a life of their own and get AWESOME!

We talked about lululemon, Olympic medals, Vancity, tough races…she even showed me how to do the Gator Chomp. Check it out!

Callum Ng covers the 2013 BC Provincial Election

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The 28 days until May 14th were a lot of fun! I had the chance to follow very closely the BC Provincial Election, and it was compelling from start to finish.

BC politics are rarely boring.

Election night proved it yet again.

Christy Clark and her BC Liberals pulled off a surprise win, even taking a few extra seats in Legislature.

Here are some interviews I did in the weeks leading up.

Callum Ng covers 2013 Women’s Hockey Championship

Posted on by Callum Ng in Hockey, Uncategorized, WRITING | Leave a comment
For immediate release from CiTR 

CIS Women’s Ice Hockey Championship 2012-2013 Season Finale on CiTR 101.9 FM Sports

March 7, 2013

Vancouver, British Columbia — CiTR 101.9 FM Vancouver proudly announces live play-by-play broadcast coverage of the Canadian Interuniversity (CIS) Women’s Ice Hockey Championship March 7-10. Canada West conference champion University of British Columbia Thunderbirds will contend for the national title — for the first time in the program history — in the finale of their ‘Cinderella’ turnaround season in Toronto.

The tournament has its six contending teams split into two pools. Pool ‘A’ sees UBC battle Quebec (RSEQ) conference champion Université de Montréal Carabins, and host team University of Toronto Varsity Blues in round-robin play leading up to championship Sunday. Pool ‘B’ showcases defending CIS champion University of Calgary Dinos, Ontario (OUA) conference champion Queen’s University Gaels, and Atlantic (AUS) conference champion St. Francis Xavier University X-Women.

The Pool ‘A’ match-up of UBC versus University of Toronto on Friday starting at 4:30 PM PST will be broadcast online at www.citr.ca. The final Pool ‘A’ game with UBC facing Université de Montréal on Saturday (starting at 4:30 PM PST), and UBC’s tournament ending game on Sunday (match-up and start time to be determined) will be broadcast on the air in Vancouver at 101.9 FM.

In post-season play, the Thunderbirds have won six of eight games, including key victories in elimination away games at the University of Regina, as well as the University of Calgary, the defending national champion. Already having accomplished the deepest playoff drive in program history, UBC fifth-year forward and co-captain Kaitlin Imai says her team is focused and ready for the next challenge:

“I’m so proud of our group — just how far we’ve come — it seems every game we play, we reach a new milestone. We are hungry for nationals where this program has never been before. Most of all, just to be able to skate together as a team for one more week, it’s amazing.”

Head coach Graham Thomas earned the 2012-2013 CIS Coach of the Year Award for leading UBC to a historic breakthrough season, his first at the helm of the Thunderbirds. Milestones this season for UBC women’s hockey have included a first ever playoff home series, playoff victory, and Canada West Conference championship title; as well as a debut berth to the CIS championship.

The hockey commentary tandem in the CiTR Sports broadcast booth is UBC varsity swimming alumnus and Executive Director of BC Athlete Voice Callum Ng (@CallumNg) on play-by-play, alongside Thunderbirds hockey alumnaHaleigh Callison (@HockeyHaleigh) as hockey analyst.

Entering the ultimate stage of Canadian varsity playoffs, Ng notes the significance of this opportunity for UBC:
“After an incredible turnaround season, the UBC Thunderbirds are on fire. Honestly, after knocking off the defending champion University of Calgary Dinos in the conference final, I’m pretty sure anything is possible. With great anticipation, I look forward to calling the action this weekend.”

CIS Championship — Broadcast Schedule
(FRI) MAR 8: UBC vs. U. of Toronto — Pool ‘A’ Game 2: 4:30 PM PT on CiTR.ca
(SAT) MAR 9: UBC vs. U. de Montréal — Pool ‘A’ Game 3: 4:30 PM PT on 101.9 FM
(SUN) MAR 10: Tournament final Game: Time TBD on 101.9 FM

Callum Ng covers Canada West playoffs for CiTR 101.9 FM Sports

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For immediate release

Canada West Women’s Ice Hockey Playoffs Continue on CiTR 101.9 FM Sports

February 21, 2013

Vancouver, British Columbia — CiTR 101.9 FM Vancouver proudly announces live play-by-play broadcast coverage of women’s varsity ice hockey as the Canada West Conference playoffs continue on Friday, February 22. The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds will travel to Saskatchewan to battle the University of Regina Cougars in a best-of-three semi-final series.

Regina and UBC face off in Game 1 at 5:00 PM PST on Friday, broadcast on the air at 101.9 FM. Game 2 on Saturday starting at 5:00 PM PST is available streaming online at CiTR.ca; while Game 3 on Sunday (if necessary) starting at 1:00 PM PST, will be broadcast on the air at 101.9 FM.

Already having accomplished the deepest playoff drive in program history, UBC head coach Graham Thomas has his team entering the conference semi-finals on a nine-game winning streak and eager to face off against a Cougars squad that defeated the Thunderbirds three out of four games in the season series:
“We’re all relishing the fact to play this team that has had our number. We’re really excited and up for the challenge. It’s great to come in with some momentum; our team is just playing so confident right now.”

In the quarter-final round last week, the Thunderbirds swept the University of Manitoba Bisons. On the strength of steady goaltending by Team Canada alumna Danielle Dubé  – who earned Canada West Conference Athlete of the Week honours with a 1.50 goals against average and 94.7% save percentage in the best-of-three series — UBC claimed victories of 7-2 and 4-1 on home ice at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. The Cougars, meanwhile, rested last week holding a bye on the merits of their second place finish in conference standings.

The commentary voice in the broadcast booth for CiTR Sports is UBC varsity swimming alumnus and Executive Director of BC Athlete Voice Callum Ng (@CallumNg). Entering the second round of Canada West Conference playoffs, Ng notes the significance of this opportunity for UBC:

“I’m personally very excited to continue our coverage of what is already an overwhelmingly historic season for the UBC Women’s Hockey program. It’ll be interesting to see what one of the hottest teams in the CIS can do on the road against a tough conference opponent.”
Canada West Conference Semi-final (Best-of-three Series)
  • Game 1 Fri. Feb. 21: UBC vs. Regina — 5:00 PM on 101.9 FM
  • Game 2 Sat. Feb 22: UBC vs. Regina — 5:00 PM on CiTR.ca
  • Game 3 (if necessary) Sun. Feb 23: UBC vs. Regina — 1:00 PM on 101.9 FM

Why I hope Lance says he’s sorry.

Posted on by Callum Ng in Commentary, WRITING | 1 Comment

This week word spread that Lance Armstrong had made a long awaited confession regarding performance enhancing drugs during a taped interview with Oprah.

Which is no surprise. As a colleague pointed out, Oprah is one tough lady. She’s not going to give you airtime for anything less than the truth.

His full interview will air in a few days and I’m sure it will answer many questions. Did you Lance? For how long? Who did it involve? Why Lance?

I’m interested in the answers. His tale with its storied peaks and valleys would intrigue anyone, sports fan or casual observer.

But I want a lot more from Lance.

When I was a teenager I had big sport dreams. (I still do, they’re just different). For my birthday one year my Mom, a runner and cyclist, bought me Lance’s first book: It’s Not About the Bike.

I poured over its pages, re-read chapters and still finished it in mere days. I felt nauseous when I read about his bouts with chemo, grit my teeth when he described training on the Pyrénées in pouring rain when no one else would. I also liked the details about his family.

I cared about Lance.

One night a few years later I couldn’t sleep and so I pulled out the book again and started reading. I became so enthralled and fired up that I went to morning practice on no sleep. I think I even forgot to eat.

Up until fairly recently I didn’t believe he cheated. I think a lot of people didn’t because we didn’t want to. We accepted his story so organically that the suggestion it might be based on chemical elements was hard to absorb at first. But after time the evidence was just too much.

I hope eventually Lance will say he is sorry, and for more than the appeasement of our broken hearts.

His lie was so elaborate. We all wanted to believe in his ascension to history and he let it happen.

He also made a lot of money. Sure, he has raised hundreds of millions through Livestrong, but he sold the cancer survivor story and was paid handsomely for it.

He killed the bike. At least for the time being it is hard to watch a cycling event of any discipline without the slightest pause for thought. Pause to wonder about who rides clean.

More than anything I hope he apologizes for himself. The weight of such a dreadful scheme must be appalling. And then after some time spent self-loathing maybe he’ll do what I always thought he would and keep fighting. Not against the insurmountable evidence but to fix the sport that gave him so much.

And I don’t care why he does it. Someone who took a lease on our trust like that must be incredibly selfish. If he joins the anti-doping movement for the purpose of his own legacy, so be it.

I don’t believe in Lance anymore. At least what he used to stand for, but I do believe he can stand for something else. And I hope he does.

For me, an apology is just the start.

[Commentary] Revolting Against Yourself

Posted on by Callum Ng in Commentary, WRITING | Leave a comment

Last night I met with some top notch people. Actually, the official purpose of the evening was to review a book we all read called “The Start-Up of You”. That fully makes it a book club. I’m not even ashamed to say that. It was a Sunday night, whatever, no one does anything classically cool on a Sunday night.

More important is that I really enjoyed that little bit of time and it gave me the opportunity to talk with some interesting folk.

What does it mean to revolt against yourself? It means to constantly be challenging your own definitions and your own direction.

In “The Start-Up of You”, (written by Reid Hoffman who is responsible for LinkedIn), there is a section about having a Plan A and Plan B for your life’s direction.

I’d hereby like to throw out the phrase ‘career direction’ because no one has a career anymore. (Hopefully, just a lot of cool projects from graduation to physical death).

We all just have life, and within life we have work, love and play in all forms and expressions. Anyway, according to Hoffman, Plan A is your current direction and Plan B is a slight alteration based on market realities, changing passions and circumstances.

I figure the best way of managing this is always to be revolting against your current position and planned future.

And it goes beyond just questioning various aspects of your life. A revolution is careful, planned, passionate, sometimes violent, and occasionally sudden. A revolution is impactful because something almost always changes as a result.

And isn’t change needed all the time?

To clarify, I’m not suggesting you actually engage in violence. OBVIOUSLY. Haha, more so I am advocating some sort of passionate and acute effort against the grain, especially in your own life.

For example, if you’re a designer for an ad. agency and want to eventually be creative director, why not investigate being a marketing manager at one of the brands you work for? It will either eliminate this as a possible Plan B, or change the way you see your current Plan A.

Maybe Reid went into this in the book. I don’t know. I tend to skim read because Tim Ferriss told me to. (I take direction well).

Ok, that was a tangent, back to the point. Let’s all try revolting a little or revolting a lot, it can’t hurt and it will likely be fun.

5 Things Swimmers Miss Most About The Off Season

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Originally appearing at SwimSwam.com, September 14, 2012

Chances are that if you’re an age group or collegiate swimmer, you’ve been back in the pool for over a week now. Just long enough to be a little sore and to remember how hard swimming actually is. Also, you’re probably starting to miss what it was like in the off-season, (all two weeks of it), when you were able to act like a real person.

Since I’m convinced that I’ve characterized all swimmers perfectly with my last few sentences, here is a thought for you:

You’re not normal.

A swimmer on an off-season “bender” is not behaving in any way similar to how normal people live. And that’s ok. Obviously, during the swim season, we swimmers lead a lifestyle that is unlike any other athlete. (Except maybe rowers, dude, that sport is hard). Therefore, by the Socratic method, I conclude that swimmers spend 365 days living a completely strange, (but awesome), lifestyle. (Thank you college philosophy. Boom. Just used you).

By that logic, and just because I say so, swimmers are some of the most dedicated people on earth. That means a lot of sacrifice. Doing stuff in the off-season that everyone else can do all year round.

Because you had to give it all up, here’s a list and some advice on how to deal with it.

Chocolate and Candy

After your last big meet of the season you went to 7-11 or the Circle K and bought an enormous bag of candy, two bottles of coke and a chocolate bar. It’s ok, so did everyone else. The worst part is that you didn’t learn from last season and ate it all at once. Then felt sick for hours. Wait, why are you missing this? That’s gross. Go have a granola bar and forget about it.

Fast Food

People think swimmers can eat anything they want. And it’s true. Hallelujah. We can. But it doesn’t mean we actually do. Except for the blessed off-season. Ignore the news stories about e-coli and Jack in the Box. Who cares that Carl’s Jr. is sort of overpriced. Inn-n-Out is 30 miles away!? N.B.D. What about every single nutritionist and health study reporting on wacky chickens at KFC. Those people cray. Swimmers eat it all. Here’s my advice friends: imagine putting a Big Mac meal with fries, ketchup, mayo and root beer in a blender. Then pour it into one of those long balloons, (the ones they make balloon animals with), and tie it around your waist. It’s a small intestine belt! Now try swimming fast. That is equally gross and not at all hydrodynamic.

Sleeping

Let’s all hold hands and mourn our collective loss of sleep and sanity. This is a big one. That first morning is SO WEIRD. Your alarm goes off playing Maroon 5 and you CANNOT figure out why anyone would get up at 4:45 AM. (Or listen to Maroon 5). Then you remember. Swim practice. It’s heartbreaking. Not only can you not go back to sleep but you have to force food into your mouth and get in a cold pool. Plus, there’s probably a back-to-back hits thing on the radio and Adam Levine with still be playing when you get in your car. (Damn that guy). The cool part is that by the time the rest of the world wakes up, you’ll have swam 6 k. And you’ll feel energized the rest of the day. And since you went to practice, you’re actually going be closer to accomplishing something awesome. Not so bad after all. PLUS: Naps are AMAZING!

Doing Nothing

I love doing nothing in the off season. Especially when you’re watching TV, or at the beach, or having a bbq EXACTLY when you would have been at practice. It’s sweet. Swimmers do weird stuff however. Like when your coach tells you to do ‘conditioning swims’ to keep ‘feel’ for the water and you actually do it. WHHHY!? BUT, it’s pretty satisfying swimming 400m and then just peacing out. Here’s some solace: swimming is pretty tough, but you get to hang out with your friends and if you’re lucky one day experience pure satisfaction when you swim a PB. Plus if you didn’t swim, what would you honestly do instead?

Doing Everything

From doing nothing to doing everything. (I love when I write a direct contradiction into a post. That’s talent. Wait…NO IT ISN’T). But seriously, doing everything you want to do whenever you want to do it is the best. Staying up past 10:30 PM. AMAZING. Not smelling like chlorine all the time. AMAZING. Hanging out with your ‘non-swimming’ friends. AMAZING. Coping with this sucks. Just remember that nothing ‘positive or inspiring’ ever really happens after midnight, smelling like chlorine is a conversation starter and your ‘non-swimming’ friends will still be alive next August.

Have a GREAT season and don’t forget to stretch.

What Sport has to do with Syria

Posted on by Callum Ng in Commentary, WRITING | Leave a comment

Image Credit: Reuters

It is entirely possible that for the month of August, my television will contribute to at least half of my electricity bill. That’s because it was always on. Right up until the closing ceremonies on August 12th my Samsung burned in the background, filling my office with the athletic feats of the world’s best.

I have to say, it was easy to get wrapped up in the rings. CTV’s coverage was visually stunning. Across all their networks and platforms, (fancy words for channels and internet), there was always something on. People loved it. According to the TEAM 1040′s Tom Mayenknecht, Canadians actually watched more Olympics on a per capita basis than our US buddies. We were into it and I definitely was.

But as my old Ma always says, everything good has to come to an end. She was usually throwing that around when my Dad was letting us watch hockey way past bedtime. In the case of the Olympics, it meant that I had a mini frazzleout on August 13th when I flipped over to Sportsnet and there was nothing cool on. (Actually I was pissed). (Then sad).

I defaulted to international news. Much less of a friendly friend to my daily work routine. At that time, I noticed something.

I paid attention to the nastiness. Syria blazed across my TV and I was struck by how real it was.

It’s obvious why this happened. For 16 days I was immersed in Olympic sport, a shimmering fantasy world of power and grace.

There were features on Oscar Pistorious, who has carbon fiber between his body and the track instead of flesh and bone. Mo Farrah ran a perfect 15 km over two races to win double gold in the 10,000 and 5,000. Then he did that heart thing with his slight runner’s arms bent over his head and charmed the world. Like every Olympiad, this paragraph could be a book, filled with the elation, tragedy and nonsense of the athletic pinnacle. Leading nonsense in my mind has to be the twitter indiscretions that led to Voula Papachristou’s ejection before the cauldron was lit. And of course that other Swiss fellow.

The days after the Games forced me to consider my awareness. It felt like an art gallery in a partially gentrified neighbourhood. Inside the gallery, under the lights and artistic impression everything is so beautiful and dazzling. Then imagine yourself later on street, the low income housing and ‘broken glass’ seems more ugly and real.

However, I don’t believe it is that simple. For me, it isn’t just the contrast. It is the slight shedding of my own insensitivity. My empathy is on higher alert. Taking Syria for example, I am more inclined to imagine what it might be like to lose my home, to sleep on the floor at night in fear of shelling, to carry the body of my brother through the streets. Holy hell that is sobering.

Under the lights of the Olympic Games I see faces and personalities from around the world, in the smoke of Syria I can see nothing but I know that humans are there, suffering and struggling. And I can feel them a little more.

Sport is often lauded for being a powerful vehicle for change. I’ve said this myself. The truth is that it isn’t really clear what that means. Sport can’t directly solve the Syrian conflict. Of course. Nor can it offer even a glimpse of how you might stop what is happening. Syria is a complex political situation, from a foreign policy standpoint, and inside the country’s borders religion and power are catalysts of sickening destruction. But, (and there must be a but), sport can teach us something about our humanity and what happens when we best relate to each other.

The Olympics reminded me that real people live utterly different lives. Whether or not that means I can do anything about Syria is both relevant and depressing. Nonetheless, getting lost in a sporting event helped me find something I’d forgotten, and I don’t think that is entirely insignificant at all.

Must-See Women’s Races in London

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(Photo Courtesy: ©Tim Binning/TheSwimPictures.com)

Originally posted SwimSwam.com

Storylines abound in the women’s category. There are young stars in the making, and veterans seeking final glory. Here are a few women’s races you just can’t miss.

Day 2 – Women’s 100 Butterfly
VOLLMER VS. SJÖSTRÖM

Every swimming fan loves a heavyweight tilt. (By heavyweight we mean swimming credentials of course). In one corner we have Vollmer, as the 2011 World Champion and current world #1, racing the current World Record holder Sjöström. The young Swede, (who won’t turn 19 until shortly after the Games), is creeping closer to her mark from 2009 Worlds. She swam under 57 in March, going a healthy 56.79. Posting that early in spring means she might have been able to fit in another shorter cycle before London. Vollmer looked poised in Omaha, swimming a PB 56.42 to register the top time in the world. Both have similar powerful strokes, so this one could literally come down to the touch.

Dark Horse Medal Threat: Alicia Coutts, AUS

Day 3 – Women’s 100 Backstroke
FRANKLIN VS. ZUEVA

The Russian national is a consistent big meet performer, with a tendency to break records in preliminary swims. At 2009 Worlds, aided by a rubberized exterior, Zueva swam a WR 58.48. That mark lasted less than 24 hours as Gemma Spofforth, GBR reduced the record to 58.12 in the final, Zueva was second. Also the silver medalist from 2011 Worlds, Zueva will battle Missy Franklin, and the young American’s first shot at individual gold. Barely a hair separates their season bests, and it could take a 58.low to win. It will be Franklin’s youthful poise against Zueva’s experience in a big final. Also, there will be an element of fitness at play, considering the Franklin will likely swim the 200 Freestyle semi earlier on.

Dark Horse Medal Threat:  Aya Terakawa, JPN

Day 3 – Women’s 100 Breaststroke
SONI VS. LARSON

Google ‘Breeja Larson’. Go ahead, do it. On the first page of results you’ll find the line, “Who is Breeja Larson?” The world is about to find out. As American swimming fans, and teammate Rebecca Soni discovered in Omaha, Larson can lay down a 100m of breaststroke. However, Larson’s 1:05.92 from US Trials isn’t Championship material. Soni went 1:05.05 to win 2011 Worlds in Shanghai, not to mention 1:04.91 in semis. But considering that Larson, a product of Texas A&M was ranked 42nd in the world last year, you have to wonder if her trajectory is on course to threaten for gold. Soni is seasoned, and she likely has another layer of taper from Omaha which would render this no contest. This one might be reaching, but at the Olympics, anything is possible.

Dark Horse Medal Contender: can Jessica Hardy enter the event for Qatar?

Go enter our Great SwimSwam Pick Em’ Contest! Do it!

The Games start in a few days! Can’t wait? Tell me about it.

Ryan Lochte is a bigger star than Michael Phelps

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(Photo credit @swimswamnews)

Also appearing on SwimSwam.com:

Since Beijing, Ryan Lochte has legitimately swum himself into the same stratosphere as Michael Phelps. Whether or not their rivalry is real, or by definition a rivalry at all, people are talking about Ryan and Michael as equals. But they’re not.

Lochte is currently the bigger star. He has been for some time. He is currently more accomplished, more recognizable and overall more interesting.

In a sport like swimming, we often measure athletes against each other in terms of their Olympic performances. It is the biggest stage. Of course, Michael has 10 more Olympic medals than Ryan. But that only means Phelps has a better Olympic history, not that he is better today. Swimming should be measured like more traditional professional sports, in snapshots, only as good as your last game. Before Wimbledon you could have argued that Roger Federer was the best of all time, but that Djokovic or Nadal were the best in the world. (Of course in the time since, Federer has put his name back in the latter category). With similar reasoning, I would argue that the most recent World Championships, where Ryan swam to 5 gold medals, including beating Phelps head to head in 2, makes him swimming’s world #1.

With the media explosion in the months leading up to London, Ryan Lochte has come out on top. Lochte has sizzled on magazine covers such as Vogue, Men’s Health and TIME Magazine. He is the US Olympic Team Ralph Lauren poster boy. He gets himself trending with hashtags like #Jeah and nicknames like Reezy. Michael has more followers, but that is changing pretty quickly. (Phelps also frequently uses the word ‘tweeps’ but that is content for another entire blog post). It is abundantly clear that Ryan Lochte is just more marketable. In fact, he is a sport sponsor’s dream. Charismatic, likable, cool and now…the best at what he does.

Not disrespecting perhaps the most dominant Olympic performance in history, Michael just doesn’t have the same star power. Sport is a business, especially the Olympics. The burning reason why Tiger still leads golf coverage or Beckham still fills stadiums is because they are stars, regardless whether the reasons are positive or negative. It definitely isn’t because they are the best. But Lochte is, which makes his trajectory steep.

Ryan Lochte will fill your television screen in a few days and charm the world. There is no question. The only doubt is whether or not Phelps can pull a Federer and remind the world how good he is.