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Canada's Jared Connaughton (L) and Justyn Warner react after the men's 4x100m relay final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 11, 2012. Canada finished third but were disqualified. (LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS)
Canada's Jared Connaughton (L) and Justyn Warner react after the men's 4x100m relay final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 11, 2012. Canada finished third but were disqualified. (LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS)

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Aug. 18: Defining moments, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Defining moments

I appreciated your front-page story on Olympian Jared Connaughton (The Aftermath Of A Misstep – Aug. 17), but I must disagree with National Football League star Wes Welker’s suggestion that Mr. Connaughton not allow himself to be defined by one unfortunate moment in London.

Indeed, I believe the event does define Mr. Connaughton. His integrity, accountability and depth of character represent everything the Games are supposed to stand for, and set an outstanding example we should all strive to follow.

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Craig Ritchie, Burlington, Ont.

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What was refreshing about Mr. Connaughton admitting that he was the one who inadvertently cost the Canadian relay team a bronze was not only the fact that he admitted it but also that he did not tear up while doing so. His philosophy is: “Sometimes you get a chance to perform – you perform well, sometimes you perform poorly, but it’s that opportunity that means the most.”

The Games are supposed to be about participation and effort and doing one’s best. Aren’t they?

Geoff Rytell, Toronto

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Chip-ridden couches

The fact that the more money we spend on elite athletes, the more childhood obesity rates soar (Road To Olympic Glory Should Start With Active Children – Aug. 17) is a needed wake-up call.

Our real playing fields are chip-ridden couches in front of huge plasma TVs. Televised sports have provided us with our own fitness surrogates and a vicarious sense that we’re a nation of fit individuals.

Graham Watt, Sackville, N.B.

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The Olympics are a series of global real-estate projects disguised as popular freak shows. The more obese humans become, everywhere, the freakier it gets. Cirque du Soleil has made a fortune understanding the connection between these “performers” and their paying audiences.

So enjoy the show. With snacks.

Barbara Klunder, Toronto

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Not bloody likely

So British Foreign Secretary William Hague does not consider “the harbouring of alleged criminals” a proper diplomatic function (Britain And Ecuador Spar Over Assange – Aug. 17)? Presumably that means that he thinks we ought to have extradited Ken Taylor to Iran.

How many other foreign nationals are there in Britain who are wanted for questioning in one jurisdiction or another? Are they all being pursued as relentlessly as Julian Assange? Not bloody likely.

Peter Reid, Burnaby, B.C.

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Ethnic groups

The headline Image Of Asian-Looking Woman Banned From New $100 Bills After Complaints (online – Aug. 17) immediately made me think of the church in Mississippi that, fearing complaints, told their own parishioners they couldn’t get married there because they were black. In fact, I was impressed by the focus groups’ perspicacity, and their thoughtful concerns about stereotypes and inclusiveness.

But I couldn’t say the same for the Bank of Canada’s position. Now that the features of the woman illustrated “appear to be Caucasian,” the bank assures us that their policy “eschews depictions of ethnic groups on banknotes.”

Perhaps ignoring the obvious is something central banks just can’t help doing. But in Canada, at least, they shouldn’t have to be told that Caucasian is an ethnic group.

Jeffery Ewener, Toronto

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Who’s laughing?

While English Canada is having a field day with Quebec during the current political campaign (Charest Comes Out Swinging After Poll – Aug. 17), I was reading in the same pages about Toronto’s populist mayor driving his own SUV (Ford’s Days Of Driving Over, Brother Vows).

English Canada has a full table with Rob Ford and Stephen Harper. If Quebec is blessed with its difference, Canada is now a mirror image. (Not sure who’s laughing?)

Guy Charron, Montreal

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Spanish imposition

Re Peru’s Nazi Party Leader Believes Even The Conquistadors Were Jews (Aug. 17): As Jean-Paul Sartre wrote in Reflexions sur la question juive: “If the Jews did not exist, the anti-Semites would create them.”

Jean-Jacques Hamm, Kingston

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Talk about rats

As long as the rats taking up residence in Alberta continue to wear the cute little East Village T-shirt shown in the picture (Alberta’s Rat-Free Status In Jeopardy: More Than Dozen Found In Landfill – online, Aug. 15), Albertans should have nothing to fear. The only ones who should be concerned are any geeky, brace-wearing mice that may be bullied by the new kids.

That said, I will draw on your depiction to suppress my fear the next time I dodge a giant rat near my place of work in the Downtown Eastside.

Grace Lore, Vancouver

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Lots to like

I heartily endorse the challenge issued to federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkak by Valerie Swinton (Chance To Prove It – letters, Aug 13).

The effects of amending this flawed legislation to permit the export of generic antiretroviral medications can be beneficial, both at home and abroad.

In Canada, brand-name patent holders receive a royalty on each order, while generic manufacturers enjoy continuing employment. Canada’s humanitarian reputation is enhanced without a dime’s cost to taxpayers.

Meanwhile, in developing countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, a source of high-quality, more affordable drugs can change AIDS from a fatal to a chronic disease, as it is now experienced here in Canada. And since it has been clinically proven that treatment greatly reduces transmission of the virus, the spread of the disease is also curtailed.

I urge every compassionate Canadian to contact legislators in both Houses, challenging them to support Bill C-398 when it comes to a vote later this year.

Dorothy Johns, Hamilton

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Professionals all

There should be no confusion about the oldest profession (Next Week In Folio – letters, Aug. 17). One need look no further than Genesis 2:21: “So the Lord God made Adam fall into a deep sleep, and, while he slept, took away one of his ribs and filled its place with flesh.” Oldest profession: anesthesiologist. Second-oldest: surgeon. This relegates the erroneously held “oldest profession” to bronze, at best.

Marcus Niessen, plastic surgeon, Windsor, Ont.

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Erma Bomback’s book Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession was published in 1983. Asked what was the oldest profession, she smiled and said, “Agriculture.”

Ali Weisenberg, Kingston

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