Lifestyle & Belief

John Furlong, Vancouver Olympics CEO, denies he abused students


John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, watches a sledge hockey game at the Paralympic Games on March 19, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.


Kevin C. Cox

John Furlong, the man lauded in Canada for his work spearheading the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, vehemently denies allegations he physically and verbally abused students during his time as a teacher in the 1960s.

The Georgia Straight – an alternative weekly newspaper in Vancouver – published damning affidavits from Native Canadian students who said Furlong regularly beat them and shouted racist insults at them.

“I was hit on the head all the time,” student Richard Perry told the paper.

“I was hit with a ruler: a meter stick in the legs. I remember one day talking to another Native person in my language. I said, ‘What are you learning in school?’ John Furlong hit me for that. Those days there was not too much learning. I remember John Furlong chased me home one day.”

The alleged abuse happened when Furlong first came to Canada from Ireland in 1969 as an Oblate Frontier Apostle missionary.

He taught phys-ed in Burns Lake, British Columbia.

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In his biography, “Patriot Hearts,” Furlong said he came to Canada in 1974.

After she spoke to the Georgia Straight, student Beverley Abraham told CBC News she went to police about Furlong’s sexual abuse.

“The flashback got so bad that a couple months ago, I went to police,” she told CBC.

“He started with my legs and then putting his hand up and he was saying, ‘You know, you're special to me.’”

Furlong responded to the allegations on Thursday by saying he’s contemplating legal action, The Canadian Press reported.

“I categorically deny absolutely any wrongdoing and I believe that the RCMP in looking into this matter will discredit the complaint entirely because it just did not happen,” Furlong said at a Thursday press conference.

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