Immigrants Coming Up Big at the Olympics and not just for the United States

This was published in the Toronto Sun, August 8.
Article: Open-door policy at work;
Immigrants have history of excelling for Canada at the Olympics

  • Lennox Lewis, who left England for Kitchener at age 12. A decade later, he stepped on to the podium in Seoul to accept gold. A nation cheered.
  • Mark McKoy, winner of the 110-metre hurdles in 1992, is from British Guyana.
  • Daniel Nestor, gold in tennis in 2000, was born in Serbia.
  • Triathlon champion Simon Whitfield holds dual Australian-Canadian citizenship.

There seems to be a global trend towards migration of athletes in international sports. And for the countries that are welcoming, the ‘open door’ has paid off big.

Since 1988, a gold medal has been hung around the neck of a Canadian 20 times at the Olympics — and 11 of those have been worn by athletes who did not start life as Canadians.

“There are two things going on here,” Donnelly said. “One is the global migration of athletes. You can get citizenship very quickly in … a lot of countries if you’re a top-notch athlete. The other thing is that this is a very fluid society built on immigration. More than half the people in Toronto were not born in Canada. Minority Canadians are now 12% of the population and going up. You’re picking up that (Canada) has the second-highest rate of immigration in the world after Australia … percentage wise.”

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