Prof. Kathleen Rodenburg

Recent reports suggest Canadian Olympic Committee leadership would like to have Team Canada athletes vaccinated early so they will be ready to compete when the Tokyo Olympics begin on July 23. Should Canada’s athletes be prioritized for early vaccination?

Three University of Guelph business professors recently considered this question in a commentary for The Conversation Canada.

Dr. Kathleen Rodenburg is a professor in U of G’s School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management at the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, with extensive corporate experience in business strategy, marketing and sales.

Dr. Ann Pegoraro

Dr. Ann Pegoraro is the Lang Chair in Sport Management at U of G and co-director of the newly formed National Research Hub for Gender Equity in Sport. She researches sports marketing and communication as well as gender equity in sport.

Dr. Lianne Foti is an assistant director of U of G’s International Institute for Sport Business and Leadership and researches ethical decision making, consumer behaviour, and social marketing.

They noted in their commentary that in order for Canada’s athletes to be vaccinated ahead of the Tokyo Games, they would need to be prioritized in the government supply chain over other Canadians. Other countries such as Israel and Denmark have said they will prioritize athletes, while some such as Britain have emphasized that athletes will need to wait their turn.

Dr. Lianne Foti

“So we are left with the following ethical dilemma: Are there compelling arguments in favour of prioritizing athletes’ access to the COVID-19 vaccination?” they wrote, suggesting a step-by-step approach to solving dilemmas.

Pegoraro, Rodenburg and Foti are available to discuss what can be done if athletes do not want to jump the queue – or do not want to take the vaccine. They can also discuss whether the IOC or sponsoring corporations should consider purchases directly from vaccine suppliers, thus potentially creating a second queue for national athletes reducing the global supply.

They are available for interviews.



Ann Pegoraro

Kathleen Rodenburg

Lianne Foti