On Friday Triathlon Canada posted a news story on its website titled “Triathlon Canada Safesport Update.” The story was to “inform the Canadian triathlon community about the outcome of a recent disciplinary process that was conducted pursuant to its safe sport policies.”
It went on to say that a national team coach had received a “disciplinary sanction” after a national team athlete had made a safe sport complaint against a Triathlon Canada coach. The story does not name the athlete, or the coach, but does say that the disciplinary sanction has “been satisfactorily completed.”
Last night Canadian national team member Matthew Sharpe posted a statement on twitter on the suspension, revealing that he is the athlete involved.
My Statement on the Suspension of a Triathlon Canada Coach pic.twitter.com/bi9xEVSXRP
— Matt Sharpe (@mdshrp) June 25, 2021
Sharpe says that he was contacted by World Triathlon last fall “regarding an investigation they were conducting into Triathlon Canada.” After his discussions with the sport’s world governing body, Sharpe says another investigation was opened on Sharpe’s behalf, during which “they recommended that I submit a formal complaint through Triathlon Canada’s Discipline and Complaints policy.”
“The complaint I made through Triathlon Canada’s Discipline and Complaints policy resulted in an independent investigation into the conduct of a Triathlon Canada Coach and a Triathlon Canada employee,” Sharpe’s statement continues. “After a formal discipline hearing was conducted, a decision was rendered resulting in the suspension of a Triathlon Canada coach.”
“The road to representing Canada at the Olympics is certainly not an easy endeavor,” Sharpe writes. “However the conditions I had to endure in order to achieve this were above and beyond simply qualifying. It has been an extremely difficult journey, which almost had me quit the sport.”
“In Canada, and across the sporting world generally, there has been and continues to be a reckoning that exposes harassment and abuse of power within high performance sport,” Sharpe continues. One of the reasons I brought this complaint forward is because I felt a responsibility towards future athletes. I hope that this suspension will catalyze positive change and ensure the next generation of athletes are protected.”
He ends his statement saying that he’s “looking forward to helping Canada win a medal in Tokyo” if he’s selected to the Olympic team.
Last year we reported that Sharpe had left the national team program because the “training situation was not healthy or sustainable through 2021” and that his “working relationship (with Triathlon Canada head coach Jono Hall) was never easy for either of us.”
Triathlon Canada does not have any further statement after yesterday’s announcement or Sharpe’s statement.
We have reached out to World Triathlon for details on the investigation cited in Sharpe’s statement – they cannot comment as the investigation, which is independent of the sanctions imposed by Triathlon Canada, is still ongoing.