COC pleased with progress on Whistler venues 

National Olympic committee trying to secure best legacy possible from 2010 Games

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"Now we’re not a decision maker, but we are involved in the discussions. We’ve made some tough decisions in the COC recently that not all funds can be distributed equally to sports… but we would like to see funding for those sports that we haven’t had a lot of success."

Ski jumping is a sensitive issue because Canada wants to put athletes with a chance of winning in every sport in the 2010 Games, including ski jumping and Nordic combined. If the Calgary jumps close and VANOC does not build a training centre or summer training facility to accompany the Whistler jumps, that will be difficult.

Rudge would like to see the money that would be spent on capital and operating costs to keep the Calgary or Whistler jumps open go back to the athletes and coaches to fund training in other countries. He pointed out that the Canadian freestyle team has been successfully training in Lake Placid for years.

"There’s not a large number of athletes using the jumps in Canada, so it may make better sense to use that (facility) money to send them somewhere they can train alongside the best in the world," said Rudge.

Another controversy in Canadian sport was the COC’s 2004 decision to only send athletes ranked in the top-12 in the world, or who had a strong chance of winning a medal, to the Summer Games in Athens.

The decision was made in order to better concentrate funding on athletes that were contenders, rather than sending everyone who met reduced qualifying standards in various sports. In previous years the COC’s standard was top-16, but with numerous exceptions for athletes who showed potential.

While that decision has been held up as one of the reasons Canada did so poorly in 2004, Rudge stands by the COC decision because of the limited funds available, and the fact that he believes it is damaging an athlete’s confidence to send them to a Games when they have virtually no chance of winning a medal.

However, with 2010 on the horizon, the COC has no plans to extend the top-12 standard to the Winter Games.

"It’s understood that the standard for Torinto would be opened up… because we have a home Games in Canada and Canadians want to see our national athletes in every event," said Rudge. "If the athletes meet the international federation standards, and the standard of our national sports organizations, then they will go to the Games in Torino and in 2010."

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