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Board members supportive of Bid Chair



Members of the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Bid Corporation are expected to overwhelmingly back bid chair Marion Lay next week when the executive committee meets on Aug. 29 – despite the fact that her history of shoplifting has come to light.

According to a story in Business in Vancouver , she was caught stealing and charged in November of 1995. Lay admitted her guilt, underwent therapy, and took part in a diversion program that allowed her to keep the charge off her record.

Lay told Business in Vancouver she regrets the incident, which she says came at a low point in her life – she spent months providing bedside care for a friend with brain cancer. Lay said her therapist believes the shoplifting was a cry for help.

On Oct. 15, 1999, Lay was accused of stealing $65 worth of cheese from Stong’s Markets on Dunbar in Vancouver. No charges were laid, Business in Vancouver reports, and the former Olympic bronze medal swimmer swears she is innocent. The store manager, however, banned from the store and posted a Polaroid of her on a board in the staff lunch room.

Lay told Business in Vancouver she would step down from her position if her past hurt the bid, but she feels she has paid for her mistake and would prefer to continue in her role as chair. She has no shortage of supporters.

"I certainly haven’t heard anything from any board members that are not supportive," says Bob Foulkes, the vice-president of corporate communications at Westcoast Energy and a member of the bid’s nomination and governance committee.

"We have talked to the executive committee, which is about 12 board members, individually and they’re all supportive of Marion in this particular little reporting. We haven’t heard from any board members who are not behind Marion."

Although it was a minor offence "Marion took it seriously, went through a diversion program, did community service, got counselling – it was obviously a very difficult thing that she was going through. She was looking after a friend with brain cancer who was going through a palliative program, who ended up passing away, and that’s obviously a very stressful thing," says Foulkes.

"It happened six years ago and we ought to leave it at that. I don’t think it in any way negates or subtracts from all the work that Marion has done over a career of over 30 years, working for sports in B.C., working for athletes, and working for sports programs.

"Like I said to Business in Vancouver , if we didn’t have a Marion Lay we would have had to invent her."

Lay was recently awarded the 2001 Women in Sport Trophy for the Americas by the International Olympic Committee for her work in advancing the status of women in sport. She is a two-time Olympian, a bronze medalist in the 4x100 relay in the 1968 Olympics, a Canadian freestyle champion, and the founder of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity.