Read sets new direction for Alpine Canada Alpin 

Podium 2010 is intended to make Canada a world power in skiing

To understand that things are changing at Alpine Canada Alpin you only have to read to the second paragraph of Chairman Renaud Beauchesne’s report on the 2002 season.

"We did not meet our objectives for the year in overall World Cup and Olympic standings. This situation is not acceptable and a new plan is being put in place with the help of our coaches and the athletic vice president to make sure that we can deliver podiums in the future, with a definite target for 2010."

That plan, Podium 2010, was outlined at a town hall meeting in Whistler last weekend by new ACA President Ken Read.

"Let’s be absolutely clear – we are in the business of producing champions," Read states in the ACA annual report.

But it’s been more than eight years since a Canadian male has stood atop a World Cup podium – Cary Mullen at Aspen in March of 1994. Melanie Turgeon was the last Canadian female to win on the World Cup, in February of 2000.

That reality, combined with the disappointing results at the Salt Lake City Olympics last February, led to a wholesale re-assessment of ACA. Kerry Moynihan was "relieved of his duties" as ACA president on March 5. Later that month the board of directors announced The Course Ahead, five principles for the next quadrennial plan based on input from parents, coaches, athletes, sponsors, stakeholders and others.

In May, Read was hired as president. Since then the Podium 2010 Strategic Plan for Excellence has taken shape. The plan touches on virtually all aspects of ACA’s operations with the goal of making Canada a top ski nation again over the next eight years.

"We are performance centred and athlete focused," Read said Saturday. "We want to win World Cup medals by 2006 and to dominate by 2010."

Podium 2010 identifies five general categories to broaden the national team:

• Talent identification & athlete development and retention;

• World class coaching;

• Leading edge training and development technology;

• Access to the best training facilities;

• Aligning, co-ordinating and unifying Canada’s elite athlete development system.

Specific steps include melding provincial ski teams with the national junior team to create a national development group. Nationally co-ordinated development camps will be part of this program.

An athlete-focused education program is also part of the plan. Read noted that the average age of the male medal winners at Salt Lake City was 30.

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