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Stephen Bronfman is chairman of the board and France Chrétien Desmarais is a member of B2ten, an organization that contributes to amateur sport.

This week, we watched four courageous women, Geneviève Simard, Gail Kelly, Amélie-Frédérique Gagnon and Anna Prchal, all former alpine skiers, step into the light after suffering in the dark for nearly 20 years. Their troubling stories began when they were mere teenagers. They suffered multiple forms of abuse: sexual, physical, mental, and emotional over an extended period.

The details of what happened to these four women stretch the bounds of human suffering. Rising up in 2015, they brought the man responsible to justice, and in 2017, he was sentenced to a lengthy prison term. These women have not stopped there, and their courage deserves the support of all Canadians.

This week, we heard their voices and saw their faces. We learned their names. Our stomachs turned as we grappled with how to talk with our kids, family, and friends about what happened. But we need to talk about it, no matter how uncomfortable it might be. We need to step out of our comfort zones. By doing so, we can put an end to this abuse, once and for all.

There are recurring themes in sport and in success: both require making sacrifices, pushing limits and overcoming pain. As we encourage young people to excel in sport, we entrust coaches and sport organizations to accompany them through their challenges.

Watching these four women who had been pushed too far in the wrong directions, for the wrong reasons reminds us that power can easily be abused. This abuse robbed these women of their youth, their pride and their self-esteem. It stole from them the opportunity to be the best they could be. But their resolve remained intact. Their courage and dignity in front of cameras and microphones – in full view of their spouses, children and communities – to push for essential change is the story we should all be talking about.

When something is not right, we need to stand up and demand change. We need to match the resolve of the victims. We cannot allow one more young athlete to suffer one more sordid episode of abuse. We cannot tolerate coaches that abuse power, nor allow organizations to ignore or tolerate such abuse.

Four more women succeeded in raising the publication ban on their names this week; their stories may also be coming to light soon.

It is now time for action. The path forward is simple. Just as sport organizations must comply with a list of prerequisites to receive federal or provincial funding, it is time to add one more: putting in place an accredited safety program. It should be a program that ensures that all those dealing with our athletes have specific training and education regarding the multiple forms of abuse. These programs must be monitored.

Accredited safety regulations must be created and enforced for all organizations active in this field. The U.K. and Australia are well ahead of Canada in mounting proactive safety programs and have spent millions of dollars to protect their athletes. We have leading experts prepared to adopt such programs and materials developed in these countries for use in Canada. All we need is the will. We need the will from government to demand that sport organizations seeking funding have an accredited safety program in place. We need the will on the part of these organizations across the country to make sport free from abuse. We expect some of these organizations will be leaders; others will need to change their behaviour. In all cases, Canadians will be better off for it.

B2ten salutes the courage displayed by these women as they step forward to highlight the issue of abuse in sport. B2ten is proud to take up this social problem and will work tirelessly to achieve a resolution. Doing so is part of our purpose to make a significant contribution to amateur sport and the greater good of society in providing training and preparation services to elite amateur athletes, investing in the development of Canada’s coaches and service providers and developing a legacy of enhanced sport, play and well-being.

We ask that all Canadians join us in demanding an end to abuse at every level of athlete training and support. Our athletes deserve no less. We must never fail them again.

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