July 25, 2003 Features & Images » Feature Story

First Person: Steve Podborski 

The Games of our lives

Page 3 of 7

When we started the bid phase internationally we set aside some money in a fund known as LegaciesNow. We had $5 million to spend on athletes, trying to get kids to the podium in 2010. We went to Kimberley and sent half-a-dozen kids to the luge track in Calgary and ended up with two of them in the top 10 in the North American juniors.

We also did a jumping camp here in Whistler and it ended up that four kids, including mine, went to Calgary to go off the ski jump.

I didn’t watch and I didn’t even think about going. I have this tremendous fear of heights and so I was delighted when they came back. They said the scariest thing they have even done was to let go of that bar, but they did it.

And the kid next door wants to go in the luge in the Games and she can’t wait for a track to be built here.

All those things will happen now that we have the Games and there is money set aside. There has also been a $110 million endowment fund set aside for the sport facilities in Whistler and Vancouver so they will be able to be used before, during, and after the Games.

So everyday kids who live in a little town will have a chance to go off the jumps or down the track, as will the finest athletes in the world.

The athletes can now come here and go in World Championships and World Cups and the Olympics because we will have an Athletes Centre in the Athletes Village with 400 beds. We now have the ability for them to come and stay here without it costing them a fortune in scarce Whistler hotel beds.

We want to have high performance sport do well and that is vitally important and I hope it continues to grow in importance in Canada.

Just as an aside people have said, "Do we need two winter sporting centres in Canada? After all we have one in Calgary."

I say absolutely. We need one in Vancouver and Whistler, we need one in Toronto, and Calgary and one in Quebec and one even further east so that we become truly a sporting nation.

We need to make sport part of our culture by having bricks and mortar and money to support it.

The Games can and do make dreams literally come true.

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