Athletes share Olympic experiences 

Sport Centre wants "to avoid reinventing the wheel every four years"

Most sporting organizations in Canada revolve around the Olympics in some way. While it’s not the only important event on the competitive calendar, it’s the event that matters the most.

A strong Olympic performance can mean more funding, public and private, for a sport. It can draw more media attention for the sport and its athletes. It can also ensure the future well-being of a sport by increasing public interest and athlete participation at the entry level.

But while many of our athletes may compete well internationally before and after the Olympics, in some cases they don’t perform as well as they are capable at the Games. The events may be the same, but the whole atmosphere is different and often distracting.

To get a bird’s eye view of the most recent Olympic Winter Games and learn what worked and what didn’t for our athletes, the Telus Whistler Sport Centre brought together a group of athletes and sport experts for a Post Salt Lake Summit at Millennium Place on April 13.

"We need to learn from the successes and challenges we experience at a Games to avoid reinventing the wheel every four years," says Todd Allison, the general manager of the sport centre. "B.C. athletes will be heading off to the Canada Winter Games in Campbellton next February as well as to Athens and Torino (Olympics) in two and four years time. By bringing together this experience we hope to document their ideas and help move our teams towards further success."

The participants came from as far away as Winnipeg to share ideas at the summit. Some of the local athletes who participated include Whistler Paralympic skier Mark Ludbrook, and Tami Bradley, Andy Capicik, and Kelly Ringstad from the freestyle team. Other contributors included paramedical staff, coaches, and sports officials. More than 30 people participated in the summit.

Marion Lay, the former chair of the 2010 Bid Corporation and the current president of the bid’s LegaciesNow program shared her insight into the 2002 Games as the morning session’s keynote speaker.

Jonathon Geiger from the Centre for Substance Use in Sport and Health also discussed the organization and the tools that are available to help athletes decide if a supplement is fair and useful.

In addition, Sian Blyth from the Whistler Adaptive Ski Program was presented with the Investors Group Community Sport Administrators Award for her work with disabled skiers.

According to Allison, all of the ideas collected will be organized and put together on a CD-ROM that will be accessible to all Canadian sports organizations and athletes in the next few months.

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