An Olympic bronze medallist answered dozens of questions from students in kinesiology professor Krista Loughead’s first-year course in sports ethics on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
Dave Steen, who won bronze in decathlon for Canada at the 1988 Seoul Games, is now a firefighter in Windsor.
He spoke to more than 150 students in the class spoke to the students on many topics, from his career and Olympic experience to his life after sport and being parent of an athlete. However, one major theme came through most of the conversation — the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport.
Steen’s medal in the decathlon was recently brought back into the limelight, as his competitors in Seoul — gold medallist Christian Schenk and his East German teammate and silver medal winner Thorsten Voss — admitted to using steroids in their training.
Still, Steen said he does not feel the need to claim the gold medal.
“The bronze seems appropriate,” he said. “I knew then that they were doping, and I chose not to partake in the same unethical and immoral tactics they chose to pursue. I am at peace with the medal I earned, and I am proud to not have been one of the athletes who cheated to win.”
His message of strength and integrity rang true to Lancer long jumper Ashley Langelier, who noted how hard it must have been for Steen to stay clean, despite knowing many other athletes were using performance-enhancing drugs.
“He has very strong values and it was great to hear that Canada’s best athletes stayed true to being ethical in sport,” she said.
Dr. Loughead said that his direct experience with ethical questions made Steen perfect to address her class.
“Wherever possible, it is important to the students’ learning to hear first-hand accounts of challenges in sport and life,” she said. “Dave’s message was vital to helping these students remain ethical as they move forward in their own career path.”
Loughead has brought in six guest speakers to benefit the students’ learning, including: Steen on doping in sport; Ryan Donally on culture in hockey; Dusty Johnstone on sexual and gender-based violence and sport; Margery Homan on gender issues in sport; and Suzanne McMurphy and Pierre Boulos on ethics in research.