2015 Year in Review

As 2015 ends, the Canadian Sport Institute (CSI) Calgary has chosen to look back on some of the success stories of the past year.

We have compiled a list of the top five athlete performances of 2015. We began with a long list of athletes who achieved excellence by winning a medal at a major event. The staff then voted from the list based on a criteria of athletic excellence combined with the impact that the CSI Calgary had on the athlete’s performance.  


Cowntdown of the Top 5 CSI Calgary performances from 2015 

#5  McKeeveGolden as he Adds tLifetime MedaHaul
Brian McKeever, along with guide Erik Carleton, won the para-nordic 20-kilometre race at the IPC World Championship. No stranger to winning, McKeever has won 13 Paralympic medals in his illustrious career.

#4  NeCanadiaTakes SpeeSkatinTeatUnprecedented Level

Ted-Jan Bloemen set the 10,000m World Record and was an integral part of the Team Pursuit that won World Championship silver. The previously Dutch competitor has only competed for Canada for one year, taking advantage of his dual citizenship to compete wearing red and white.

#3  WrestleGathers Medals aMultiplMajoChampionshipsGeneviève Morrison won bronze at the United Wrestling World Championships and gold at the Pan Am Games. The 48kg wrestler’s results earned an Olympic berth for Canada.

#2  MultiplWorlChampionshiMedals
Denny Morrison continued his speed skating dominance with two World Championship medals, finishing second in both the Team Pursuit and 1500m.

#1  BiathloHistory is Made!
Nathan Smith won World Championship silver to become the first Canadian male ever to win a World Championship medal in biathlon. Smith also won the men's 12.5-kilometre pursuit race at a World Cup in 2015, becoming only the second Canadian ever to capture World Cup gold.

Further to our athletes’ success, the CSI Calgary has had many other successes in 2015. The CSI Calgary has continued to exhibit leadership in a variety of areas. Here are a few highlights:

 We increased the number of full-time employees embedded in the daily training environment, which has a direct impact on athlete preparation
Game Plan - For the past 20 years, Calgary has been a leader in delivering Life Services to athletes and coaches. The re-launch of the Game Plan program and new partnerships with the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Sport Canada allows us access to more resources to deliver the program

We hosted the first ever Paralympian Search, a Canadian Paralympic Committee initiative to identify the next generation of Canadian Paralympic athletes

We hosted a new Strength and Power Performance Course twice during the year, offering aspiring coaches the chance to learn through interaction and mentorship

We increased our involvement in Own The Podium’s (OTP) NextGen Development Pathway to include bobsleigh, freestyle slopestyle, speed skating, luge, wrestling and men’s alpine

Skate Canada moved their home base to the CSI Calgary, taking advantage of having a training facility and services all under one roof

Three CSI Calgary team members are leading their respective areas in OTP’s National Sport Science Sport Medicine Advisory Committee (NSSMAC), an initiative to share knowledge to provide National Sport Organizations the best support possible

 The CSI Calgary is proud of the direct impact that our staff continues to have on many of the world’s best athletes. Our goal is always to strive for excellence. With the 2016 Olympic Games on the horizon, we continue to move forward with relentless determination.

Heretaamazing 2015 with greaathletic accomplishmentand great things tcome in the neyear!

LimitsPushed 2015


Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler


And…. They’re OFF!

Their bags are packed and they’re READY to go! On Friday August 5, Team Canada will be participating in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies at 5pm MT. Three hundred and thirteen athletes, 98 coaches and 107 support staff from 37 sports make up Team Canada. Eighty one per cent of the Canadian athletes competing in Rio are affiliated with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute (COPSI) Network.

CSI Calgary is proud to extend a special farewell and good luck to 21 CSI Calgary affiliated athletes in athletics, basketball, cycling, rowing, rugby sevens, shooting, soccer, swimming, volleyball (beach and indoor) and wrestling. Each athlete heads to Rio with their CSI Calgary “Team” beside them in spirit.

“I’m very excited,” says Mathieu Bilodeau, competing in the 50km race walk event. “It’s my first Olympics”. Originally competing in triathlon and swimming, Bilodeau made the switch to race walking two years ago.

Kelly Drager, CSI Calgary Performance Dietitian is also looking forward to her first Olympic experience as she travels to Rio with Wrestling Canada Lutte for testing and collecting data. In weight class sports, there are unique nutritional components that can make or break an athlete’s performance. “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to see the work we’ve done with the athletes at CSI Calgary over the last four years come together at the Olympics,” says Drager.

Jasmine Mian, female wrestler in the 48kg event, is one of those athletes. "I relocated to Calgary in 2012 with hopes of making the Rio 2016 Olympic team. I always had an Olympic dream, but CSI Calgary helped me turn that dream into a reality,” says Mian. “The CSI staff combined their expertise in wrestling, strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental performance to help me become the best version of myself. I feel very prepared and hungry to reach the podium. I can't thank CSI Calgary enough for helping me realize my podium potential."

A special send-off to two-time Olympic wrestling medalist and CSI Calgary Next Generation coach Carol Huynh, in her role as Assistant Chef de Mission for Team Canada. Carol’s contribution to sport in Canada and her work with the International Wrestling Federation make her a good fit for this role. “It’s a great opportunity for me to be on Team Canada in a totally different way. I can bring my different experiences to the table,” says Huynh.

The CSI Calgary, is proud to support Canadian athletes training in Alberta in preparation for the Olympic/Paralympic Games. “We are excited for all Canadian athletes travelling to the Games,” says Dale Henwood, President and CEO of CSI Calgary. “We will all be watching them with such pride.”

CSI Calgary would like to thank our funding partners for enabling us to deliver our wide array of leading-edge services to athletes and coaches. We are grateful for their support: Sport Canada/Own the Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee, Alberta Sport Connection, Coaching Association of Canada, Canadian Paralympic Committee, WinSport and the University of Calgary.

They have fire in their hearts and ice in their veins.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto


Better People Better Athletes

High performance athletes are known for their intense focus and fierce dedication toward their sporting careers. In their quest for podium performances, well-rounded athletes look beyond their immediate sport goals and work towards balancing their lives and planning their futures. CSI Calgary has been promoting this holistic development of athletes as a core philosophy since its establishment. Over the years this culture has been nurtured and permeates the current and alumni athlete community.

Understanding that addressing “life outside and beyond” sport is a critical performance factor, the CSI Calgary delivers dedicated programs, and personnel to work alongside athletes, supporting them in a wide variety of areas. Recently, the more formalized national Game Plan program has significantly elevated the content and quality of services available.

In addition to being prepared for performance and life, CSI Calgary firmly believes that athletes who are prepared and confident off the field of play perform better. “Our aim is to prepare athletes to be responsible, confident, self-reliant and contributing citizens that are engaged with, and contribute back to the community,” says Dale Henwood, President and CEO. “Developing them as people helps them grow as athletes. Public support and connection to sport is better if we have good people representing our country.” Henwood has been a driving force promoting this philosophy for more than two decades.

Brad Spence, two-time Olympian and former CSI Calgary athlete is an example of an athlete giving back to the community. Retiring after the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, Spence decided to give back to the community by creating a not-for-profit organization, pulling together a Board of Directors that includes fellow CSI Calgary alumnus Jeff Christie. Originally Helmets for Heroes, the new Creative Impact Health Foundation focuses on concussion awareness and education to minimize the risk of traumatic brain injuries. So far they have completed 14 projects involving athletes with a CSI Calgary connection.

“As an athlete I feel I have a duty to give back,” says Spence. “I couldn’t have pursued my dreams and gotten to where I did, without the support of the community.” Spence is one of many CSI Calgary athletes and alumni using their lessons and success in sport to make our city a better place to live. Whether they are giving their time and energy sitting on non-profit Boards, contributing to existing foundations or starting their own, these athletes have embraced the concept of giving back to their community and acting as positive role models.

There are many organizations with a strong CSI Calgary connection, the following are some examples of athletes leading the development of local community programs: Fast & Female (Chandra Crawford), KidSport (Kathy Salmon), Right to Play (Clara Hughes), Ski Fit North (Becky Scott) and Wickfest (Hayley Wickenheiser).

“It is so encouraging to see the number of CSI Calgary current and alumni athletes dedicating their time towards different community initiatives,” says Cara Button, Director Stakeholder Relations and Game Plan administrator. “Seeing what athletes are doing validates our work.”

Game Plan is a world-class program developed to support national team athletes in living better lives both during their high-performance careers and beyond. The program is being delivered across Canada by the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSIN), supported by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), Sport Canada and is powered by Deloitte.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Lisa Thomson



For some athletes, moving beyond sport can be completing their education and finding a job. For others, the transition may evolve into a full-blown apocalyptic, existential crisis. Leaving competitive sport behind is a tough pill to swallow.

During the weeks and months following an Olympic Games, many athletes fall into a post-Olympic malaise characterized by a letdown after the intense build up to what is often the biggest event of their careers. Regardless of whether one returns home as a newly-minted Olympic medallist or a disappointed competitor, unease about the future emerges.

This post-Olympic period can be fraught with changes at an organizational level, in coaching staff and in program structure. This, combined with an athlete’s inner search for clarity and the desire to continue competing, can make for a tumultuous period.

In anticipation of this phase, the 2016 Game Plan Summit was held this past last weekend to explore each of the five Game Plan elements: career, education, health, network, and skill development. Game Plan is a collaboration between the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSIN), Deloitte and Sport Canada. This second event of its kind, brought together the Game Plan partners and national team athletes at the recently completed Deloitte University, a learning campus at the Deloitte building in downtown Toronto.

The Summit presented opportunities for athletes to network with alumni and industry leaders, reconnect with athletes, attend skill development workshops, and leave with concrete tools and experiences. The theme of the event was ‘Breakthrough’ and the goal was to provide athletes with access to knowledge and resources to perform at their best in and out of sport.

Jessica Zelinka, a two-time Olympian in heptathlon and CSI Calgary athlete, fell just short of her goal of competing in Rio. With lingering feelings of disappointment and love of sport, she’s not quite ready to walk away yet. While she works through what comes next in her life, she continues to train and has taken on two jobs.

In addition to the sessions and workshops at the summit focusing on the practical aspects of transition, what Zelinka appreciated deeply about the experience was the ability to connect with other athletes. “It was a really good opportunity to see everyone and hear their stories, to know that I’m not alone and that there is a lot of support out there.”

This sentiment was echoed by 2016 Olympic Champion in wrestling and CSI Calgary athlete, Erica Wiebe. While Wiebe’s schedule is currently overflowing with appearances and public speaking, leaving little time to address future plans, she welcomed the chance to connect with her fellow athletes.

“I’m so inspired by my peers,” she says. “We are all doing the same thing but we all have a unique story. It’s amazing to learn about how everyone handles the challenges in their lives.”

Cara Button, Director of Stakeholder Relations at the CSI Calgary, was a presenter at the summit. She observed was that the event provided a new connection for many athletes. “It exposed the athletes to the Game Plan program and the wealth of resources available to them as they develop their plans for the future,” she says.

The challenge of transition is not unique to athletes. One of the recurring messages at the summit was the idea that transition happens to everyone throughout their lives and the necessity of embracing it is infinite and universal. For some athletes, difficulty arises in being frank and honest about how they are truly feeling.

“The summit helped open up the conversation I was afraid to have with myself, to learn about the options and resources that are available to me,” says Zelinka. “I know there are some other things I could love but I don’t know what those are yet.”

The Game Plan program is having impact developing mentally stronger athletes who apply what they have learned as leaders in the sport to the betterment of themselves and their communities.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover

Calgary 2026?

By Ken Read

Each winter the Calgary region hosts up to seven annual World Cup events. Another four winter sports stage World Championship or quadrennial World Cups. Alberta is home to eight of the twelve winter National Sport Organizations. Canadian Sport Institute Calgary has matured into the largest of Canada’s seven Sport Institutes.

In 1981, when a fairly obscure western Canadian city called Calgary won the right to host the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, none of this existed.

So much has changed on the sport landscape in 35 years. But to really understand the legacy of 1988, you need to think back to what it was like to be in sport prior to 1981.

There was no Saddledome, no Olympic Oval. The Canmore Nordic Centre and Nakiska did not exist. Canada Olympic Park was everyone’s favourite city ski hill called Paskapoo. The administration of most winter sports operated out of Ottawa, under the watchful eye of Sport Canada. Calgary hosted the Brier and Skate Canada and had held the first-ever World Cup downhill at Lake Louise. The Flames were new in town, housed in the 6,500 seat Corral.

There certainly was a thriving winter sport community. International calibre Olympic talent had emerged from local clubs and programs in alpine ski racing, figure skating, speed skating and hockey. Local boosters wanted to run events to showcase Calgary, Alberta and the Canadian Rockies, to give home-grown athletes as well as other Canadian Olympic prospects and talent in emerging sports like freestyle and short track speed skating a chance to compete at home, to inspire local kids. But we lacked facilities and international experience.

So when Frank King galvanized a renewed Olympic bid from the Calgary Booster Club in 1979, he found a highly receptive audience and community.

I’m reflecting back to these early days of the 1988 Olympic bid, because it is so important to contrast what we take for granted today with what existed 35 years ago. No annual World Cups. No National Teams based in the province. Rare international events. No facilities.

It was an enormous amount of sweat equity, ingenuity and investment that revolutionized sport in Canada. We all know how successful the 1988 Games were. But the real success story started through the preparation and development as Calgary ramped up for ’88.

To prepare for the Games host cities are required to stage “pre-Olympic” events in all sports. A common-sense plan to test venues, give athletes a chance to train on Olympic sites, test logistics that range from transportation to security to pageantry, to train volunteers and work with partners that would include media, sponsors and funding agencies. The investment in people – volunteers and officials – delivered the capacity and know-how to organize annual World Cup events.Result: alpine skiing, bobsleigh, luge, skeleton and speed skating now are regular stops on the international calendar, with hockey, cross country skiing, biathlon, figure skating and curling hosting major events.

Successful annual events were bolstered by a will to build training environments. National Training Centres emerged as funding became available, with National Teams centralizing their year-round programs close to these venues.Result: National Training Centres are now established at Nakiska (alpine), Canmore (biathlon & cross country), the University of Calgary (speed skating), Canada Olympic Park (nordic combined and ski jumping; sliding track for bobsleigh, skeleton & luge).

With National Teams centralized in Alberta, it followed that once Sport Canada allowed the National Sport Organizations to move their head offices to logical locations (rather than Ottawa), the administration of each sport followed the athletes.Result: Calgary and Canmore are now home to Hockey Canada, Alpine Canada, Luge Canada, Bobsleigh/Skeleton Canada, Ski Jump Canada, Nordic Combined Canada, Cross Country Canada and Biathlon Canada.

As Canada established a network of Canadian Sport Centres across the country to support our athletes, with most winter sports housed in the Calgary region, it was a natural evolution that CSI-Calgary became the primary provider to winter sports. Sport Centres are the employer of the support teams that surround athletes including exercise physiologists, strength and conditioning coaches, biomechanics, dieticians, mental performance consultants, anthropometrists, biochemistry lab technicians, physicians, physiotherapists, athletic therapists, chiropractors and massage therapists.

Working with funding partners at the federal, provincial and municipal level, WinSport Canada established the Athlete Centre within Canada Olympic Park that is now one of the leading facilities for athlete training in the world.Result: CSI-Calgary has evolved to become Canada’s largest Sport Institute, now employing more than 75 professionals and working with 345 current and future Olympians/Paralympians and Pan-Am/Parapan athletes and hundreds of coaches, technicians, officials and volunteers working with sport organizations.

The steadily expanding sport expertise and availability of venues has easily accommodated the addition of new and emerging sports that were added to the Olympic program post-1988. First to be included were skeleton and freestyle (moguls and aerials), followed by snowboard (cross, alpine and half-pipe) and ski cross, then expanding to slopestyle and now big air.Result: skeleton, freestyle, snowboard, ski cross programs and events were merged into the Calgary and region sporting mix on venues that are arguably best in the world.

The circle of sport influence driven by the legacy of ’88 and the critical mass of sport expertise has continued to bring even more projects with a core sport focus to bolster the sector.Result: Canada’s Sport’s Hall of Fame, the winter offices of Own the Podium and National Sport School; complementing sport are the Human Performance Lab at the University of Calgary and Sport & Wellness Engineering Technologies (SAIT). Expertise along with bricks and mortar have gravitated to Calgary as a centre of sport excellence.

The human factor has enormous impact. From those who are passing through, to many who came and put down roots, Calgary and area have been transformed. Many recognizable names within the sport community have come from other countries and parts of Canada. They have brought professional credentials and sporting pedigrees. Their children have joined our clubs. Their leadership and expertise populate sport boards, event committees and administration of local, provincial and national organizations.Result: Hundreds of international athletes come to Canada each year for training and competition. Canadians from across the country centralize to Calgary each year for their National Team programs. Many have elected to stay. Hundreds of sport professionals who lead and support our sport programs have been recruited from around the world and now call Canada home.

Just imagine if you can, almost none of this existed in 1981.

The business of international sport is no different than any other business sector. To remain competitive, relevant and to thrive, infrastructure needs to be maintained. Excellence is fluid, with the bar constantly raised. The medium that presents sport to the world is in flux with the expectations of digital delivery and efficient broadcast servicing a requirement for all sporting events from the World Cup level and up. We have an enormous sport business now resident in the region, so a review of existing and potential facilities and the infrastructure necessary to keep our competitive edge is a prudent business decision.

It hasn’t all been sweetness and light through this journey. Mistakes have been made, but an Olympic bid is a once in a generation chance to learn, adapt and improve in the same way Calgary learned from the Montreal experience and Vancouver learned from Calgary. But on balance, without doubt, the 1988 Games have been good for the city and region, province and country and an enormous lift for Canadian sport. Even a review to evaluate a potential bid is a chance to refresh, reinvigorate, renew, redress and rebuild.

This bid is for an event 10 years from today. At the core, the focus of the feasibility study should be on where we, as a community and country, would like to see this thriving sector evolve to by 2050 and beyond. To inspire youngsters, lift the next generation of champions, transfer knowledge to new leaders and officials. At a time where diversification is high on the list of urgent needs for our economy, sport and the related sectors of tourism and communications can figure prominently.

When the IOC announced “Calgary!” in October, 1981, none of us truly imagined the possibilities. What a journey. As we now look forward, what opportunity awaits us.....

More from Ken Read’s blog: White Circus – Weiß Zirkus – Cirque Blanc

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Des cœurs engagés

Il y a un moment dans le sport où tout le monde, sauf l’athlète, se relâche. Toutes les personnes qui ont contribué au façonnement d’un athlète pour qu’il ou elle excelle dans sa performance – entraîneurs, physiologistes, psychologues, entraîneurs en force musculaire, physiothérapeutes – reculent en bordure du terrain, n’ayant plus qu’à regarder, sachant qu’elles ont fait tout ce qu’elles pouvaient pour préparer l’athlète à disposer de tout ce qui est nécessaire pour performer, pour participer aux jeux.

Chez certains, le cœur se débat et les papillons les prennent au ventre; chez d’autres, on crie et on acclame devant un écran de téléviseur, alors que d’aucuns n’ont ni besoin ni envie de regarder : leur travail est fait. Tout comme chaque personne a un rôle différent à jouer pour cultiver la performance de l’athlète, chaque personne a aussi sa manière d’approcher son travail et de s’investir dans les athlètes qu’ils entraînent. Par contre, une constante demeure : quoique leur objectif premier soit d’aider les athlètes à prendre part aux jeux, leurs cœurs y sont également engagés.

Le lien qui se développe entre le personnel de soutien et les athlètes est de nature professionnelle, mais, avec le temps, ce lien prend aussi une texture personnelle. « On ne peut s’empêcher de se lier émotionnellement », raconte Cara Button, directrice des services holistiques à l’Institut canadien du sport (ICS) de Calgary. « Ce ne sont pas simplement des noms qu’on voit dans les journaux; nous nous sommes investis en eux ». Kelly Quipp, la chef du laboratoire de performance sportive de l’ICS de Calgary acquiesce. « On finit par connaître les athlètes sur de nombreux plans, que ce soit en passant deux heures avec eux au laboratoire à observer leur respiration ou à mesurer leur masse musculaire ou adipeuse (composition corporelle). »

Pour plusieurs, c’est le processus d’aider à construire et à façonner un athlète sur un cycle de quatre ans pour des Jeux olympiques qui motive leur travail. M. David Smith, Ph.D., directeur, Sciences du sport, à l’ICS de Calgary, explique que tout le travail se fait au début et au milieu du cycle, et que c’est ça qui le passionne. « Ce n’est pas le résultat final qui me stimule », indique-t-il. Scott Maw, physiologiste du sport à l’ICS de Calgary, confirme : « Pour moi, le processus est plus important que la performance qui en découle. Si je ne portais attention qu’à la performance, je serais incapable de faire mon travail ».

Tant pour M. Smith que pour M. Maw, la récompense, c’est de voir les athlètes atteindre leur plein potentiel. « La chose la plus gratifiante, c’est de voir l’athlète s’élancer pour faire ce qu’il est censé faire; on ne veut le voir accomplir que ce que l’on sait qu’il peut accomplir », précise M. Smith. M. Maw relate qu’il ressent de la satisfaction « à faire ce que je peux pour aider ces athlètes à aller exécuter ce qu’ils aiment faire sur la plus grande scène du monde ».

Quand elle travaille au laboratoire ou sur le terrain, Mme Quipp précise qu’il s’agit de faire ce qu’il faut faire. « Je suis ici pour faire ce travail et je ne laisse pas l’émotion s’y insinuer, mais quand je regarde des athlètes en compétition, les émotions ressortent et me voilà comme une fière maman à nouveau! » Pour M. Maw, tous les aspects de la tâche sont entièrement intégrés à ce désir d’optimiser la performance. « Il n’y a rien d’autre que je préférerais faire : si ça, c’est de la passion, alors, j’imagine que mes émotions sont toujours en cause. J’essaie simplement d’éviter que les hauts soient trop hauts et les bas, trop bas », dit-il.

Les hauts et les bas sont partie intégrante du sport – pour chaque instant de joie, il peut y en avoir un moment de peine aussi. Mme Button se souvient que « Quand l’équipe masculine de water-polo s’est qualifiée pour les Jeux olympiques de 2008, tout le monde à notre bureau était fou de joie, et, lorsque la quête de l’équipe féminine a échoué en 2010, nous avons tous éclaté en sanglots. Ça va dans les deux sens ».

Cette relation profonde avec leur travail et avec le parcours des athlètes renforce en fin de compte l’incidence des membres du personnel de l’ICS de Calgary tels que M. Smith, M. Maw, Mme Quipp et Mme Button sur le sport au Canada. « Nous avons été formés pour faire notre boulot, mais nous sommes également humains, souligne Mme Button. Nous ne sommes pas de la même famille biologique, mais c’est tout comme. »

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto


Pour certains athlètes, la vie après le sport peut signifier terminer leurs études et trouver un emploi. Pour d’autres, la transition peut devenir une crise existentielle aux proportions colossales. Abandonner le sport de compétition est une dure pilule à avaler.

Lors des semaines et des mois suivant les Jeux olympiques, beaucoup d’athlètes ressentent un malaise post-olympique caractérisé par une déprime après l’anticipation intense de ce qui s’avère souvent la compétition la plus importante de leur carrière. Peu importe si l’athlète revient nouvellement médaillé olympique ou déçu de ses performances, un doute quant à son avenir s’installe.

Cette période post-olympique peut être ponctuée de changements dans l’organisation, le personnel d’entraîneurs et la structure du programme. Tous ces facteurs, combinés avec la quête identitaire et le désir de poursuivre la compétition d’un athlète peuvent rendre cette période très chaotique.

À l’approche de cette étape, le Sommet Plan de match 2016 la fin de semaine dernière avait pour but d’explorer les cinq composantes de Plan de match : carrière, éducation, santé, réseau et perfectionnement des compétences. Plan de match est un programme collaboratif du Comité olympique canadien (COC), du Comité paralympique canadien (CPC), du Réseau des instituts du sport olympique et paralympique du Canada (RISOP), Deloitte et de Sport Canada. L’événement, deuxième du genre, a rassemblé les partenaires de Plan de match et les athlètes des équipes nationales dans la toute nouvelle Université Deloitte, un campus d’apprentissage dans l’immeuble Deloitte, au centre-ville de Toronto.

Le Sommet donnait la chance aux athlètes de réseauter avec d’anciens athlètes et des dirigeants d’entreprise, de revoir d’autres athlètes, d’assister à des ateliers de perfectionnement et de repartir avec des outils et des expériences concrètes. Le thème de l’événement était « Percée », et l’objectif était de donner accès à des connaissances et à des ressources aux athlètes pour qu’ils offrent leur meilleur rendement, tant dans le sport que dans la vie.

Jessica Zelinka, double olympienne en heptathlon et athlète de l’ICS Calgary, a tout juste raté son objectif de participer aux Jeux de Rio. Malgré sa déception, son amour du sport persiste et elle n’est pas prête à jeter l’éponge. Alors qu’elle prépare son avenir, elle poursuit l’entraînement et a accepté deux emplois.

En plus des séances et des ateliers du Sommet ciblant les aspects pratiques de la transition, Jessica a vraiment aimé pouvoir tisser des liens avec d’autres athlètes. « C’était vraiment une belle occasion de voir tout le monde et d’entendre leurs histoires, de savoir que je ne suis pas seule et qu’il y a beaucoup de soutien offert. »

Erica Wiebe, championne olympique de 2016 en lutte et athlète de l’ICS Calgary, partage ce sentiment. Bien que l’horaire d’Erica déborde d’apparitions publiques et de conférences, lui laissant peu de temps pour planifier son avenir, elle a saisi l’occasion de rencontrer les autres athlètes.

« Mes pairs m’inspirent tellement, a-t-elle déclaré. Nous faisons tous la même chose, mais nous avons chacun notre propre histoire. C’est génial de découvrir comment tout le monde gère les défis dans sa vie. »

Cara Button, directrice des relations avec les intervenants à l’ICS Calgary, était conférencière lors du Sommet. Elle a remarqué que l’événement a permis à de nombreux athlètes de découvrir une ressource. « On a présenté aux athlètes le programme Plan de match et la richesse des ressources qui leur sont offertes alors qu’ils préparent leur avenir », a-t-elle souligné.

Les défis associés aux transitions ne touchent pas que les athlètes. L’un des messages récurrents du Sommet était que la transition touche tout le monde à un moment ou à un autre et que le besoin de s’y adapter est perpétuel et universel. Pour certains athlètes, faire preuve d’honnêteté face à leurs véritables émotions est difficile.

« Le Sommet a facilité le début du questionnement intérieur que je redoutais et m’a permis de découvrir les options et ressources qui me sont offertes, a souligné Jessica. Je sais qu’il existe d’autres choses que je pourrais aimer, mais je ne sais pas encore quoi. »

Le programme Plan de match permet de rehausser la force mentale des athlètes qui appliquent ensuite à titre de leaders les connaissances qu’ils ont acquises afin de s’améliorer et d’améliorer leur communauté.

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Kristina Groves: @kngrover


Post Secondary Education Support For Athletes

Athletes at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC) are well prepared for life after sport thanks to tuition support provided by the Sport Canada Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) and services provided by the CSIC.

Sport Canada supports carded athletes in Calgary by paying for up to $5000 in education fees annually. The AAP contributes to athletes' "pursuit of excellence" and helps Canadian athletes combine their sport and academics. This program also allows athletes to bank their tuition support for use once their athletic careers are completed thus eliminating the pressure to take full time classes while they are in the midst of training and competing.

This Means Everything

Juggling full-time school, training, and working a part-time job at a local coffee shop is a lot to manage for a young athlete. Slalom kayaker Ryley Penner is doing just that - which is why he’s thrilled about recently getting a little boost to help him on his way. The U23 national team member and CSI Calgary athlete is one of this year’s three recipients of the ARC Resources Inspiring Excellence Scholarship.

In partnership with the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, ARC Resources, a leading conventional oil and gas producer located in Calgary, awards three $2,500 scholarships annually. The goal is to inspire excellence by enhancing academic and athletic opportunities available to student athletes. The purpose of the scholarship is to lower financial barriers and enable student athletes to reach their full potential while also being strong and valuable members of the community.

Wayne Lentz, ARC Resources Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, says the scholarship targets youth sport and education. “We are looking for genuinely passionate athletes who are pursuing sport and education as well as giving back to their communities,” he explains. “They are humble about their accomplishments and show balance in their lives.”

This year, ARC Resources is proud to award three scholarships to CSI Calgary athletes:

  • Ryley Penner, Slalom Kayak
  • Carla Shibley, Para Cycling
  • Matthew Soukup, Ski Jumping

For Penner, who is in his first year of a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology at Mount Royal University, this scholarship means everything. “My sport is not well funded in Canada and I rely on scholarships like this to do my sport. I need to cover my expenses all on my own, which is really challenging,” he says.

Penner plans to use the funds for races next year, including the World Championships in Slovakia. The scholarship will also allow him to do more training camps and attend the senior national team trials in Whistler next May.

Carla Shibley is a Paralympic cyclist who was diagnosed at age ten with Stargardt disease, an inherited form of juvenile macular degeneration that causes progressive vision loss. Shibley has big goals of representing Canada at the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020 and is working towards qualifying for a World Cup this season. She plans to use the scholarship to help fund her education – she is pursuing a Youth Justice diploma in Criminology at Bow Valley College.

Despite her disability, Shibley has never been one to let herself be limited by her vision loss and credits her mom with not letting her use it as a crutch. “My vision is deteriorating and I’m slowly going blind,” she says. “Deep down it’s a scary feeling but I’m not going to let it get me down.” This kind of attitude and optimism are qualities that ARC Resources is proud to support.

The scholarships are awarded on both merit and financial need. It can be a huge relief for athletes like Shibley and Penner to receive financial support like this. “All the costs add up,” says Shibley. “It’s a choking feeling.” Penner agrees, “My sport is not very high profile so it’s difficult to attract sponsors. I have to work really hard to make it happen.”

It’s for this reason that ARC Resources keeps on giving. After six years of awarding the scholarships, the company has welcomed and enjoyed updates from past recipients, many of whom have moved on to successful new careers and are active members in their community.

ARC Resources is also grateful for the opportunity to partner with the CSI Calgary. Says Lentz, “We are very proud of this initiative and thankful to the CSI Calgary for helping us to keep it going,”


Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover


Copyright © 2013 Canadian Sport Institute Calgary | All Rights Reserved | Photo Credit : Dave Holland