Dangerous Games, Suspect Science
Grant Robertson, Rachel Brady
The image of elite amateur athletes as young people at their fittest was shattered by the Globe and Mail’s investigation, which revealed a significant number of them binge, purge and starve themselves, often under pressure from coaches and national sports organizations. The series exposed how some athletes were presented with dubious claims about “sports science” and pushed into eating disorders which took a devastating toll. The reporting was difficult — athletes were clearly afraid to talk for fear it would hurt their careers or sponsorship. But over months, journalists Grant Robertson and Rachel Brady won their trust and uncovered more than 40 cases of severe eating disorders in Canadian Olympians in the past five years. The series’ revelations sparked calls for action from athletes, parents and medical professionals and led to a series of federal policy changes. The Minister of Sport announced national sports organizations would have to sign on to a new system to handle investigations into athlete abuse. Swimming Canada changed the way coaches are trained about eating disorders. Canada Artistic Swimming introduced new policies to better protect its athletes. The series also gave athletes a voice to speak about a widespread issue that had long been hidden.