Friday, June 21, 2002

Top producers will be rewarded with more cash
From the Globe and Mail June 20, 2002:
The Canadians Olympic Committee is dropping notions of political correctness or treating all sports the same.

Jim Thompson, the COC's chief executive officer, said the COC recognizes the reality that some sports are better run than others and produce winners for Canada. Those athletes and sports will now hear the jingle of cash to accompany the clink of their medals.

"It's time to reward success," Thompson said in sowing $6.8-million among 45 Olympic and seven Pan American Games sports yesterday. The COC's high-performance support program is weighted toward winners. Of the $6.8-million, $5.25-million went to sports federations, $920,000 directly to athletes, and $650,000 to coaches whose programs achieve success.

From a letter sent to the editor, Globe and Mail, June 20, 2002:

Firstly, the headline should have read "Top producers will be rewarded with (more) cash."

If Canada provided grass-roots, developmental funding an facilities, the new COC funding would not necessarily be a bad thing.

However Canada does not.

The Globe article says that, "But the COC, which changed guard under Thompson 10 weeks ago, will be unapologetic about going for gold, and podium visibility sits well with corporate sponsors who chipped in for the high-performance payouts. Patricia Straker, director of sponsorships for the RBC Financial Group, said "your Olympic partners want to help the COC create more Beckie Scotts and Marc Gagnons."

That is not what the program will do. It will not "create" more Beckie Scotts. To do that it would have to fund developmental programs. The COC program will reward athletes who have made it despite the lack of support - athletes like triathlete Simon Whitfield. Obviously no one asked him his opinion because in an article - in the Globe by the way - last week he said:

"Unfortunately, the way the system is set up, you often get support when you don't need it, but don't have the support when you start.
"They've got a program that rewards you when you get a gold medal, which is totally illogical. Once you win the gold medal, you don't need as much support. When you're trying to get better, that's when you need it."

As a proud sponsor of Olympic triathlete and 2002 Canadian champion, Sharon Donnelly, since 1997, long before she qualified for the Olympics, I am proud that my company, Sirius Consulting, was able to play a role, however small, in helping Sharon on her journey to Olympian status. Canada could use more sponsors getting involved helping the athletes make it to the top as opposed to billboarding them after they achieve success on their own. It appears that if the private sector does not provide financial assistance there will be none forthcoming because our government still thinks it is okay to require our athletes to pay their own expenses when attending international events on Canada's behalf.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Canadian Olympic Committee doles out $6.8 million in funding

Canadian Press

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

TORONTO (CP) - The Canadian Olympic Committee is giving $6.8 million to Canadian sport federations, coaches and athletes, the committee announced Wednesday.

The committee doled out $5.25 million to 45 Canadian sport federations involved in Olympic sports. Included in that sum is $250,000 given to seven sport associations of Pan Am Games sports. The Canadian Olympic Committee, formerly known as the Canadian Olympic Association, said it is rewarding sport federations that have achieved top-eight results in the Olympic or Pan Am Games.

Another $920,000 was going to athletes and $660,000 was earmarked to fund a support program for coaches.

Comment: When you divide the $5.25 million over 45 sports that works out to $116,000 per sport.

To keep this in perspective, last month the Australian Government announced a $65 million dollar budget to expand and upgrade the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

AOC President John Coates said today “if there is one single factor that will lead to improved sports performance in Australia it is the AIS”.

“Funding the AIS is critical to the development of all sports in Australia ” Coates said.”The $65 million allocated to the AIS in the Budget is a major boost and will ensure the continued sporting excellence the AIS creates”.

Coates highlighted the role and initiatives of the Australia Sports Commission, particularly the success of the AIS, which is widely recognised as being at the forefront of world sport.

“The AIS is the envy of every National Olympic Committee (NOC) throughout the world,” Coates said.

The Australian Olympic Committee provides the following support:

Funding of National Federations
A total of $16 million has been budgeted for the 4 years 2001 to 2004 for funding for National Federations. Funding is provided to assist with the cost of international competition.

Athlete Support
The AOC provides funding to athletes through two programs – Funding for Medallists and the 2002 Olympic Dream Medal Rewards.

Athletes and their coaches who win medals in 2002 or 2003 at World Championships or other major international events of a comparable standard (and agreed by the AOC as appropriate benchmark events) will be considered for AOC Funding.
Athletes who win medals at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games or 2004 Olympic Games are considered for AOC Funding of $10,000, $7,500 and $5,000 for a gold, silver and bronze medal respectively.

Australian Youth Olympic Festival
The Australian Olympic Committee committed nearly $3 million to stage the first edition of the Australian Olympic Youth Festival in January 2001 in Sydney.

The main aim of the AOYF, which will be held every two years, is to develop our Olympic stars of the future, and to provide aspiring Olympians a great idea of what the Olympics are all about.

The AYOF incorporates many aspects that athletes will experience in an Olympic Games – Opening and Closing ceremonies, medal presentations, athletes’ villages and drug testing.

The next AYOF will be held in Sydney from 8-12 January 2003.

For the Sydney Olympic Games the Australians also had a budget that was reported to be $280 million, compared to a Canadian budget at the time of $62 million.

Comment: We obviously have a long way to go in Canada.