The 35th Workshop

3 October 2019
Theme: Canada's Success in Sport
Lecturer: Todd Nicholson, Chairperson, Own The Podium, Canada

The performance of athletes is evolving year by year in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games against a backdrop of growth in the physical faculties of athletes and the evolution of training techniques and tools. Own The Podium aims to create a system that allows all athletes to access a variety of resources that contribute to improving competition performance.

In Canada, citizens are encouraged to participate in sports based on a program called Long Term Athlete Development. Its distinguishing feature could be described as a comprehensive view encompassing everything from local sports clubs through to sports at the national level that enables a range of interaction with sports throughout a person's lifetime, irrespective of age or gender. As part of this, Own the Podium is dedicated to the development of elite athletes, from the state level to the national level.

One of the features of Canada's high-performance programs is the extensive support for next-generation athletes. Own The Podium uses scientific evidence as the basis for proposals on the allocation of public funds to athletic organizations and athletes. This kind of scientific analysis is based on competition performance, and as such means athletes who are unable to lift their performance will lose the opportunity to acquire funding and various types of support. By compiling and analyzing athletes' data over several years, Own The Podium makes it possible to discover highly promising athletes and offer them additional support. Success in the development of the next generation of athletes will result in success for Canada five to ten years from now.

Canada believes that the Paralympic Games and Olympic Games are of equal importance when it comes to the performance of its athletes. For this reason, Own The Podium provides equal enhancement and training support for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, something that is a rare occurrence even on the international stage. Own The Podium is promoting the creation of environments in which athletes can deliver consistently, including training excellent coaches and technical leaders, enhancing medical support, and securing comfortable training locations.

Building separate support systems for the Olympics and Paralympics involves investment to cover a great many costs. In Canada, various resources, ranging from coaches and technical leaders to facilities, are all shared assets for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and this has led to cost savings and effective utilization of resources. Accordingly, there are many coaches who coach both Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and there are many athletes who share training locations.

The efforts of a country's athletes in international competitions makes citizens proud and has the ability to bring a country together. For this reason, the value of each medal can be described as being extremely high. The Canadian team is steadily preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I hope that this will be an opportunity for societal change in the host nation of Japan.