by Irvin Muchnick
The campus newspaper at the University of British Columbia is reporting the cancellation of a speaking appearance there by John Furlong — CEO of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, leader of an effort to mount a bid for future Winter Games in Calgary, and a Canadian bestselling author and motivational speaker and Irish native who is running hard from a history of sordid allegations against him in his adopted country.
Concussion Inc. reported three weeks ago on new public initiatives on the part of First Nations accusers of Furlong’s alleged abuses, including sexual abuse, during his time as a missionary school teacher in Burns Lake, British Columbia. Furlong unaccountably wrote this entire phase of his biography — movements from Ireland to Canada to Ireland and back, permanently, to Canada — out of his book Patriot Hearts: Inside the Games That Changed a Country. The First Nations accusers have taken their fight to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the International Olympic Committee, and Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi.
On December 24, under the headline “John Furlong removed from UBC banquet based on letter detailing child abuse allegations,” The Ubyssey reported that he is out as keynote speaker at next month’s breakfast benefiting the school’s sports scholarship programs. The newspaper added that “it is unclear whether the decision was made by the university or Furlong himself.” The university had awarded Furlong an honorary law degree in 2010. UBC president Santa Ono is substituting for Furlong as the banquet speaker.
This is all happening while Furlong’s fellow 1970s sports administrator at Dublin’s Newpark Comprehensive School, George Gibney — Irish Olympic swimming head coach in 1988 and now the most-wanted at-large sex criminal in global sports — faces renewed scrutiny thanks to our Freedom of Information Act case in U.S. federal court. Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security was ordered to produce additional records from Gibney’s American immigration files on his entry in 1994 and residence status ever since. In the next weeks, the government will be deciding whether to comply with or appeal the order.
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