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Park Rider Sessions wrap up with a slopestyle

The Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival is on and organizers have extended an invite to visiting athletes to participate in the final Park Riders Sessions slopestyle, presented by Telus, Sunday, April 18 on Whistler Mountain.

The Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival is on and organizers have extended an invite to visiting athletes to participate in the final Park Riders Sessions slopestyle, presented by Telus, Sunday, April 18 on Whistler Mountain. While slopestyle contests are always popular, this one could give riders a chance to compete alongside pros.

Pre-registration is $26 and available at Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations. Event day registration is $30 at the Roundhouse until 9:45 a.m. The competition gets underway at 10 a.m.

Helmets are mandatory and minors require a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.


Sunday last day for Whistler Olympic Park

While the snow promises to hang around for a little while longer, operations at Whistler Olympic Park are wrapping up this Sunday, April 18.

Late season skiing will still be available at Callaghan Country until May 2, while snow lasts. Visit for more information.


Gymnasts strong at provincials

The Whistler Gymnastics team had a strong outing at the B.C. Championships in Langley last weekend, despite missing three weeks of training during the Olympics and another week for spring break.

Rebecca Flynn placed 10 th all around in the Provincial Level 3 category after missing most of the training season with a knee injury. Her best results were an eighth place finish on the floor followed by a ninth place finish on the bars.

Nicola Halliwell also competed, one week after winning four medals at the B.C. freestyle championships. She placed 20 th all around in the province, tying for 10 th on the vault.

In Provincial Level 2 Tyro Keely Wentzel earned a bronze medal on bars and placed 16 th all around. Carly Mann was 26 th in that category.


Jackson, Rudge stepping down

Two of the biggest wigs in Canadian amateur sports stepped down from their positions this week, having delivered the biggest Winter Games yet for Canada with 24 Olympic medals and a record of 14 gold medals, followed by Canada's best performance to date in the Paralympics.

Last week Chris Rudge, CEO and secretary general of the Canadian Olympic Committee, announced that he would be stepping down from his post on April 15 after more than seven years on the job.

"They say timing is everything and throughout my many careers I've always observed that it is important to know when to go," said Rudge. "The past seven plus years have been inspiring and were highlighted by an unforgettable Vancouver Games that are sure to leave an indelible mark on our national soul."

Rudge was named CEO in January of 2003, six months prior to Vancouver being awarded the 2010 Games. Among other things Rudge changed the tone of sport in Canada by embracing winning and an atmosphere of confidence. He also backed the athletes by lobbying for increases in sports funding for athletes and national sports organizations through programs like Own the Podium.

"Support for high performance sport in Canada has come a long way and our athletes no longer toil in obscurity," he wrote. "The Own The Podium program conferred upon us the right to debate whether we are capable of setting and pursuing audacious goals."

As the head of the COC Rudge also worked closely with Roger Jackson to make Own The Podium a reality.

As for Jackson, he stepped down as the chief executive officer of the Own The Podium group this week following a board meeting. He was appointed to the position in 2005 and maintained that he would be stepping down once his contract was fulfilled in April 2010.

Own The Podium was originally focused on winter sports, but in 2006 Jackson was asked by the Canadian Olympic Committee to create a similar program for summer sports called Road to Excellence. Alex Baumann took over Road to Excellence in 2007, allowing Jackson to focus on winter sports once again.

Following the closing of the 2010 Olympics in February the federal government announced that it would continue to fund Own The Podium in the future. Work is underway to replace board members representing the Vancouver Organizing Committee, which is in the process of winding down, and planning Own The Podium's future role and goals.

Own The Podium's original goal was for Canada to place first in the overall Olympic medal tally and third in the Paralympics. Canada missed the first goal with a third place finish, but athletes still managed Canada's best performance to date in a Winter Olympics while earning a record 14 gold medals - the most by any nation in a Winter Games. Canada met its goal in the Paralympics with a third place finish, improving from a previous best ranking of sixth.

"It certainly has been a privilege and an exciting challenge to have had the opportunity to build OTP and to work with the sport community and our government and corporate partners on such an important national project," said Jackson.

"I now have the opportunity to move on to new interests and ventures. I do so with sadness at leaving such wonderful and talented colleagues who I recruited as we built this team, but I am confident they will carry on and take this program to the next level."

Alex Baumann will replace Jackson as the interim CEO until a replacement can be found.