ORILLIA — Ontario Winter Games organizers are apologizing for a medal faux pas.
Officials were excited to include the athletes’ oath on the medals for the first time in the games’ history, but it didn’t turn out as planned. On the approximately 1,500 medals awarded to athletes during the games hosted by Orillia at the beginning of March, the French translation of the oath included a misspelled word and an omitted word.
The oath, in English, reads: “For the glory of sport and the honour of our teams in the spirit of true sportsmanship.” In French, the word “équipes” (teams) was left out, as was the letter “p” in “sport.”
“We missed the typo and the misprint on the proofing. It’s something we take full responsibility for,” said games general manager Michael Ladouceur.
Someone who noticed the error brought it to organizers’ attention last week. They are now reviewing their options with the medal manufacturer and the province. It could include replacing all of the medals.
“There will be a cost associated with the medals,” Ladouceur said.
What it will cost is not yet known.
When speaking with OrilliaMatters earlier this week, Ladouceur noted the grant the city received for the games included $100,000 for a legacy fund, to go toward sports and recreation in town. He said at the time that figure could change if the games came in under or over budget. Asked Friday if the medal mix-up would cut into that legacy money, Ladouceur said, “We hope not.”
He noted there was a contingency built into the operating budget and expects that is where the money will come from.
“We hope to get to the bottom of it and rectify it as soon as possible,” he said.
The “huge oversight,” as Ladouceur described it, is a blemish on an otherwise successful event.
“It’s unfortunate. The games were so positive,” he said.
The city will host the games again in 2020. During the interview earlier in the week, Ladouceur said, “One of the reasons we wanted to (apply) for both years is because we knew there would be a lot we would learn from the first one.”
The lesson learned from the medal mistake: “Quadruple check everything.”
Medal winners will be contacted early next week and will be informed about what the next steps will be, Ladouceur said.