Canadian Sport Instute
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  • 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 aMultiplMajoChampionships
    Geneviève 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

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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  • Imagine that you are world-class alpine skier. Every year you get about sixty days of training on snow, where you fit in up to six runs a day of about 60-90 seconds each. That’s roughly six to ten minutes a day of skiing over sixty days. Doesn’t sound like much, does it?

    But when you factor in the logistics, coordination, early wake-ups, travel and endless transporting of gear, those six runs add up to one very big, long day.

    According to Matt Jordan, Director of Strength and Conditioning at CSI Calgary, training for alpine skiing is not the same as most other sports. “The days are long with a lot of logistics and travel, which can be very fatiguing. Skiers get tired in a very different way than the average athlete,” he explains.

    That is why, when the alpine team centralizes for a month-long training camp every summer at CSI Calgary, they put in incredibly long, challenging and diverse days of training. “With this camp, we are trying to set them up with big, long days of training with a variety of activities to develop their work capacity to handle the demands of the sport,” says Jordan.

    This is the sixth camp for Phil Brown, 25, a slalom skier and team veteran. He says he enjoys his time in Calgary every year. “There are long days and it’s very focused. But everybody here has bought in and are really excited about what we have going; there is a positive vibe.”

    In addition to a lot of mornings in the gym weightlifting, there are on-ice edge and gliding sessions to practice slalom turns and outdoor field workouts focused on jumping, landing and general strength.

    Perhaps the most unusual session is the one in the boxing ring. Every Thursday afternoon the team takes to throwing punches instead of carving turns. The goal is to learn skills that transfer to skiing, like eye-hand coordination, but where fitness improves too. “It’s a layered workout where physiological goals are met and the skill development is tied in,” says Jordan.

    Add in aerobic power workouts on track bikes at the velodrome and you have several weeks of some very diverse training. “We are pushing them in different ways,” adds Jordan. For Brown, the training is great but it’s enjoyable too. “It’s not fun to be in the gym all the time so we’ve been incorporating a lot of different activities in the afternoon sessions, which help keep the atmosphere lighter,” he says.

    All of these activities develop skills that skiers rely on when they are training and racing on snow. “The idea is to foster their ability to take in environmental information, process it and generate a motor response,” explains Jordan. “This will help them on the hill where conditions are always changing and they have to react appropriately.”

    The overriding goal of the camp is to ensure the athletes understand that their performance is triangulated, where the coach, strength team, para-medical team and all other support staff are working together to find as many benefits they can to help the athlete perform. Ultimately this gives the athletes confidence that they are prepared for the season.

    Preparation is key, and so is staying healthy. Jordan says that because alpine skiing is such a high-risk sport they also focus on training that will help them be fit, strong and able to move in a safe way to help avoid injury. “After a camp like this they feel like they are better athletes.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
    28/06/17
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  • Everyone knows that athletes work hard to improve, to achieve their goals, to win – it’s what they do and it’s why they are great. A lesser-known but equally driven cohort doing the same thing are athletes’ coaches. Quality coaches do not stand idly by while their athletes move forward - they travel alongside them, pursuing excellence in their own craft: the art and science of sport coaching. The world’s best learn from reflecting on their experiences, their athletes, peers and learning from sport scientists.

    Mike Stastook, Head Coach of the WinSport Academy Slopestyle and Big Air team, is one of these coaches who has enjoyed the successes of his athletes over the years, but made a decision to further challenge himself and find ways to make his coaching even more effective. Enrolling in the Advanced Coaching Diploma (ACD) offered at the CSI Calgary, Mike revamped his ”toolbox” and is seeing results. “The things I’ve started implementing since enrolling in the ACD are making their way to the podium,” says Stastook. “Last season was the best I’ve had professionally.”

    The ACD is a two-year competency-based program combining classroom study and experiential learning. The mission of the program is to develop world-class coaches who are capable of preparing athletes for podium performances in sport and life.

    According to Dr. Cari Din, the ACD is designed and delivered to align with adult learning best practices, “We have translated the most current research on how the world’s best coaches learn into a dynamic learning environment for coaches who are committed to growing.” Din is the Cohort Mentor as well as the Leadership and Coaching Effectiveness Expert in the Calgary-based ACD. She says, “Coaches in our program are tasked with applying evidence-based best practice and theory from class in their unique sport context.”

    The ACD also focuses on peer enriched learning. “A lot of discussion-based learning occurs in our structured learning community - coaches share, challenge and grow from each other’s experiences and unique perspectives.” Din believes that the multi-sport nature of the program adds to the richness of coach learning, “The coaches are enlivened by the diversity of the cohort – they are exposed repeatedly to ideas and practices that are totally out of their comfort zone. We have a lively and vivid culture that promotes curiosity, connection and deep understanding, it is a privilege to be part of a learning environment that is so impactful to the learners.”

    Indeed, Stastook knows that the success he’s had with his team at the WinSport Academy comes from the hard work he has put in to becoming a better coach. He credits the ACD with helping him chart a new path. “When you take an athlete, that at the beginning of the year started out ranking 172nd nationally and ended up 18th in the country, you know what you’re doing works, says Stastook. “If you feel your coaching has vastly improved since starting a program like this, how can it not benefit your athletes? And in the end that’s the reason you’re doing it.”

    The Advanced Coaching Diploma is a coach driven, expert led, peer enriched and mentor supported structured learning community that has been running for more than 22 years through CSI Calgary. For more information on the program contact Jason Sjostrom at jsjostrom@csicalgary.ca.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

  • The Sport Performance Laboratory has been upgraded thanks to a generous donation from a party who wishes to remain anonymous.

    The Sport Performance Laboratory is a critical component of the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary’s success because it is where much of the athletes’ training and monitoring takes place. Rosemary Neil, Director of Development and Strategic Programs at the CSIC, says that the $100,000 lab upgrade is “vitally important to gathering detailed information for athletes. We couldn’t function without it.”

    Barry Heck, WinSport’s President and CEO, was instrumental in working with the anonymous foundation to secure the donation and make the improvements needed.

    The majority of the donation was used to install a fume hood in order to properly ventilate gases. With the upgrades, the lab is now classified as a level 2 laboratory, meaning it can deal with biohazards. It also has procedures in place to handle pathogens, bringing it to a safety standard that is acceptable by Health Canada.

    One of the main functions of the new equipment is to enable athletes to do the hemoglobin mass test, a protocol that uses carbon monoxide. A poisonous gas, carbon monoxide requires proper ventilation equipment, including a fume hood. The test is important to CSIC athletes because it has a high correlation with an athlete’s VO2 max, allowing the sport scientists to monitor and track an athlete’s development. These protocols, enabled by the lab upgrades, will increase the effectiveness of athletes’ training programs by allowing for the use of altitude or heat.

    As very few labs in Canada have the ability to do these types of protocols, this technology is yet another way that Rosemary Neil says the CSIC will remain on “the leading edge, because we are able to perform these tests to help monitor and evaluate athletes.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary

    Written by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler

    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

  • 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
    22/03/17

     

  • A historic landmark in the Norwegian consciousness, the Holmenkollenn ski park in Oslo embodies more than a century of legendary Nordic skiing competitions. For one special day in 2016, it also embodied a historic result for Canada’s men’s biathlon relay team, who took home a first ever bronze medal in the 4x7.5km team event behind the Norwegians and Germans at the World Championships.

    The four-man crew, comprised of brothers Scott and Christian Gow, Brendan Green and Nathan Smith, is now being recognized for that feat at the upcoming Alberta Sport Awards, hosted by CSI Calgary partner, Alberta Sport Connection, winning the 2016 Team of the Year award.

    “It was an amazing day for us,” says team veteran Nathan Smith. “Oslo is the big mecca for Nordic skiing and we were racing in front of huge crowds.” He says that although Norway took the win, it was fun to be in the battle for beating the home team. “The atmosphere around the medal was almost better than the medal,” he jokes.

    Smith was tagged for doping control before the end of the race and was forced to watch the end play out for his team from indoors. He says it was nerve-wracking to see the finish but was elated when the team’s anchor skier, Brendan Green, crossed in third for the bronze medal.

    For all four team members, it was a very special race and a very special day. “Winning the bronze was kind of unbelievable,” says Scott Gow. “We knew it was possible but it takes all four guys having a perfect race on the same day and we managed to do it at the World Championships.”

    “These individuals and teams are Alberta’s best. We’re proud of what they’ve achieved and honoured to recognize them for their outstanding contribution to sport in our province,” says Andrew Ference, Chair of Alberta Sport Connection. “They have reached higher, dug deeper, led by example, and made our sport system better.”

    The bronze medal, along with an individual silver won by Smith in 2015, has given the team an element of belief and confidence they didn’t have before. In a sport that is typically dominated by a handful of European countries, breaking through to the podium has help shift the attitude on the team.

    “As a team we’ve reached a turning point,” says Gow. “Up until a few years ago, in the back of our minds there was a mental block but once the precedent is set it helps the whole team believe.”

    Belief in what’s possible is what fuels the team forward as the next winter Olympics looms large in 2018. The team had its ups and downs during the season following the bronze medal performance, but is looking forward to building on the momentum it provided.

    Gow says it’s a fond memory from that year, but with another a whole season completed since then they are looking to improve on it. “This coming season we are focused on our training, getting fitter and faster. The biggest factor is team positivity and confidence in both the relay and individual races,” he says.

    Smith is recovered from a lingering mono-like virus that prevented him from competing most of the 2016-17 season. He has started training early this season in preparation for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang is 2018. The setback was difficult but Smith says it’s giving him extra motivation to overcome the obstacle.

    For now, at least, there’s a chance to revel in the memory of the historic medal once more, before focus returns to the future. Biathlon is a lesser-known sport in Canada and Gow says this award is means a lot to the team. “It’s always really nice to win an award and be recognized,” he says.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
    19/04/17
  • 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
    09/11/16

  • 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
    29/06/16

  • The Calgary Flames are well prepared for their upcoming season, thanks in part to their work with members of the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary. The Flames began their 2014 training camp at the WinSport Performance Training Centre at Canada Olympic Park on September 11, 2014. Assessments commenced with annual medicals and fitness testing using the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary's world-leading sport science and sport medicine teams. On ice workouts began the following day, drawing public crowds anxious to assess the team's potential for the 2014-15 season.

    The players had all systems firing during their fitness testing, where intense competition combined with good camaraderie could be heard throughout the building. The Flames' support staff have continued their testing largely because of their long-standing relationship with the Canadian Sport Institute's Sport Science Director Dr. David Smith, which has enabled the team to amass years' worth of physiological testing data. The data allows for veteran Flames players to monitor their physiological improvements over time, as well as helping the coaching staff determine the fitness and strength of new players.

    Ryan Van Asten, strength and conditioning coach for the Calgary Flames noted that the players and staff of the Flames organization are appreciative of the facilities, saying, "The Canadian Sport Institute is truly state of the art. It is a place an athlete can go to meet all of their physical preparation needs including performance testing/monitoring, physical fitness, recovery, nutrition, and rehabilitation. We are fortunate to have this world leading institute right in our own backyard." Van Asten's sentiment resonates with many of Canada's best sports federations, which has resulted in the Flames becoming just one of many elite sports teams that does their training and testing at the new facility. Similar testing protocols are utilized amongst many of the country's best amateur athletes including members of the Canadian Wrestling, Bobsleigh, Skeleton, Alpine, Luge, and Speed Skating teams.

    In addition to the benefits provided in the sport science realm, coaches and team staff were able to use Winsport's complex to its full advantage by meeting in conference rooms overlooking the ice rinks while the players used off the ice facilities. Over the course of September, the players could be seen throughout the Centre doing weightlifting sessions, shuttle runs, bike workouts, and yoga classes.

    The Flames' organization has also taken advantage of the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary's world-leading biomechanical analysis team, led by Pro Stergiou. During their past season, the team's support staff members worked with the biomechanical team to determine the amount of force placed at the ankle joint using state-of-the-art sensors, cameras, and techniques, to gather information and help bring players back from injury in a safe and expedient manner.

    The Calgary Flames begin the regular season on October 8 with a home opener against the Vancouver Canucks. Be there to witness the final product of the team's astounding off-season efforts.

    Stay in the loop!
    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Writen by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
    WinSport: www.winsport.ca

  • The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) is excited to be part of a new venture with the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Calgary Roughnecks. The Roughnecks were at WinSport on November 27 to undergo testing at the CSI Calgary in preparation for the upcoming season, which gets underway on January 2.

    The Roughnecks are breaking ground as the first team in the NLL to undergo comprehensive testing that is common for Olympic athletes. CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Osmond works with the Roughnecks organization and encouraged the team to take advantage of the high performance facility and staff’s extensive knowledge. He says, “The team chose to perform preseason testing at the CSI Calgary this year to take their performance to the next level. They want to invest in their players by giving them access to world leading sport science. They believe that this venture will pave the way for elevated performance this season and for years to come.”

    Calgary Roughnecks General Manager and Director of Business Operations Mike Board was on site for the full day of testing. He agrees with Osmond, adding, “We wanted to centralize what we do for our fitness testing and this facility provided the opportunity to have everyone together on the same day. It is good for us as an organization and it is also a team building concept.”

    Although it has never been conducted before by any NLL teams, the Roughnecks organization sees the value in preseason testing because, Board notes, “It allows us to get ready for the season knowing the players’ fitness and training zones. We are looking to find out how fit our guys are and where we need to take them. This data allows us to do that, and it is something that we have not been able to do before.”

    Moving forward, CSI Calgary Exercise Physiologist Kelly Quipp will work to provide interpretation of the players’ test results. She will then offer training recommendations to elevate the conditioning level of the team for the upcoming season. This feedback will be enhanced by Osmond, who will create a training plan that can be adapted for each player.

    Of the team’s first time utilizing the CSI Calgary services, Board emphasizes, “The experience has been fabulous. It’s efficient – the flow and timing of everything is very impressive. The players’ feedback was positive and the medical team was very happy.”

    Best of luck in the season to the Calgary Roughnecks! The CSI Calgary looks forward to hosting you again next preseason.

     

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

  • Mingling with ambitious female leaders over lunch while gaining valuable skills and insight into how to increase professional development sounds like a dream afternoon for many women. For that reason, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary has partnered with the Alberta Sport Connection to host a series of women's empowerment and leadership workshops presented by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS).

    The first workshop in the series, centered on Effective Communication, took place at the University of Calgary Campus on October 21. Led by 1996 Olympic Silver Medallist Dr. Cari Din, the workshop attracted fifteen local women who were eager to collaborate on how to improve personal development both in and out of sport. Created for all women, the CAAWS workshops series offers value for anyone looking for methods of career development, not just athletes.

    Facilitator Cari Din raved about the success of the first workshop, saying it was "a fun, up-to-date workshop aimed at giving women insight and practical skills they can implement immediately. Women told me they enjoyed the opportunity to talk with and learn from women from a variety of sport and activity organizations."

    World-class wrestler Erica Wiebe echoed Din's sentiments, proclaiming, "Initially, when I signed up I thought oh man, this is going to be a long 3 hours, but it turned out to fly by! It was very informative and felt like a very safe space for people to talk and share ideas."

    After seeing CAAWS presentations and their subsequent results, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary's Erin Wamsteeker and Jason Sjostrom initiated contact with the program, believing that elite athletes could benefit from the impactful messages that were being communicated. Not wanting to let the opportunity pass anyone by, they have opened up the workshops to staff members as well as any women who feel that they could use professional empowerment and encouragement from strong, independent women.

    The CAAWS facilitations have been added to a full repertoire of life services workshops that aim to improve elite athletes' performance both on and off the field of play. Already featuring workshops geared towards skills such as self-marketing, social media, and public speaking, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary prides itself on offering educational opportunities that athletes' would not normally be provided. The CAAWS workshops were a natural and seamless fit into the workshop catalog.

    After the success of Din's Effective Communication workshop, there have already been three more workshops added to the calendar. The next three CAAWS experiences on the schedule are titled Conflict Management (taking place on November 18), Influencing Change (taking place on December 9), and Effective Communication (taking place on January 6).

    To learn more about the CAAWS Workshops, and to register, go to http://csicalgary.ca/en/events/icalrepeat.detail/2014/10/21/634/-/caaws-effective-communication-yyc

    Stay in the loop!

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Writer Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
    Photo Credit: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
    CAAWS: www.caaws.ca

  • For the fourth consecutive year, ARC Resources Ltd. has partnered with the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary to award three $5000 scholarships to high performance student athletes. Wrestler Jasmine Mian, track cyclist Monique Sullivan, and speed skater Dan Carruthers are the ecstatic recipients of this year's funding.

    Recipients of the scholarship are put through a rigorous application procedure that culminates with an in-person interview at ARC Resources Ltd., one of Canada's leading conventional oil and gas companies. Each successful applicant must be taking a minimum of four classes, and demonstrate a combination of academic and athletic achievement in combination with financial need and regular community involvement.

    As the current Canadian Champion in the 48KG weight class, and an MSc candidate in Experimental Psychology, Jasmine Mian is the epitome of what ARC and the CSI are looking for in scholarship recipients. The impact that this funding has on student athletes is apparent, as noted by Mian who says, "I am very grateful to be one of the recipients of the Inspiring Excellence Scholarship. The support and encouragement I have received from ARC Resources Ltd. and the Canadian Sport Institute provide me with the tools and confidence to be successful in the classroom and on the wrestling mat. The funding will allow me to continue competing at the international level, while taking advantage of opportunities for professional development throughout my MSc program. Scholarships like this truly make a difference in lives of student athletes."

    Scholarships for student athletes aim to encourage recipients to continue pursuing post-secondary schooling while being world-leaders in their respective sports. Wayne Lentz, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, notes the importance that ARC and the CSI put on preparation for life after sport, saying that "ARC created the Inspiring Excellence scholarship program to support student athletes in their commitment to education, sport and community. There is a strong emphasis on preparing student athletes for careers beyond their sport as well as their commitment to their education and community. Scholarship recipients are truly exceptional individuals who are excelling in both their academic and athletic pursuits and share the characteristics of work ethic, maturity, humility and long term views on the importance of their education and careers following their time in sports. The $5000 scholarship lowers financial barriers, furthers their studies and helps with expenses incurred while training and travelling to competitions."

    Newly training with a National Team group, Dan Carruthers says that being awarded the scholarship is affording him some much needed relief over the financial worries that have accompanied coming into a more difficult training regime. He has felt that "one of the largest obstacles I face as a student athlete is making sure I can cover all of my costs, so I can perform my best. The scholarship will help me cover most of my skating travel expenses this year, some pricey equipment costs, and a portion of my tuition fees."

    After finishing sixth in the keirin at the 2012 Olympic Games, Monique Sullivan is back in competition after taking time off to focus on school. Not wanting to be forced to choose between athletic and academic success, Monique believes that "The ARC scholarship is not only special because of the financial benefit, but because it represents being part of the ARC and CSI Calgary community. I am passionate about both racing and school, and it is really unique to be part of a community that supports both."

    The scholarship winners will have an opportunity to thank the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and ARC Resources Ltd. in person when they are honoured at a luncheon in November.

    Stay in the loop!

    Writer Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
    Photo Credit: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
    ARC Resources Ltd.: www.arcresources.com
    Monique Sullivan: @mmj_sullivan, http://moniquesullivan.wordpress.com/
    Jasmine Mian: @jasmine_mian, www.jasminemian.com
    Dan Carruthers: @ldcarruthers, www.ldcarruthers.com

  • In a country as vast as Canada, it can be challenging to offer accessibility to niche education programs centred in one location. In the case of the Advanced Coaching Diploma (ACD) offered by the CSI Calgary, the program has historically been limited to those living in Calgary or those willing to relocate.

    Recently, the adoption of a new online platform called D2L (Desire2Learn) has helped to reduce the ACD’s dependency on geography and opened access to coaches across Canada. “We recognized that the program wasn’t meeting the needs of the students,” says Jason Sjostrom, Director of the Coaching Program at CSI Calgary. “D2L offers access to the ACD and makes coach education accessible. It’s not realistic for everyone to move to Calgary,” he adds.

    D2L is an education space that houses all the features the ACD is looking for and offers a degree of collaboration, personalization and accessibility that was missing from the program. Sjostrom says that because coaches are not always in a major centre and their schedules don’t align with traditional learning environments, D2L is needed to make the ACD more accessible and flexible for students. “The future of adult learning is asynchronous learning,” he adds. “Coaches are in the field upwards of 30 hours a week and they need access to the program on their time.”

    For Dr. Cari Din, ACD Cohort Mentor and Leadership & Coaching Effectiveness Expert, D2L has modernized the learning environment. “Now we can do exercises in real time with real situations,” she says. “In the past we would create simulations for the coaches to work through, which doesn’t have the same effect.” The program is not meant to replace other forms of education however, but rather to enhance. “We’re striking a fine balance,” says Din.

    In addition to increased access, one key benefit of the D2L platform is collaboration. Users can share everything in one place, whether it be assignments, class content, discussion forums and even simple voice recordings. Lorelei St. Rose is a short track speed skating coach in Prince George, B.C. For her, D2L helps coaches avoid getting stuck in their own sport. “We collaborate and share, which opens other avenues for learning from each other,” she says.

    Steven Hitchings, a swim coach at the Saskatoon Goldfins Swim Club, likes the ability to personalize everything in D2L to suit his needs. “I can personalize the platform and go back and put things together in a way that makes sense to me,” he explains. “I can organize everything the way I want and go back to it later for review.”

    The program has greatly simplified the delivery of the program and provided a lot of opportunities to share work in a structured place and to reflect on that work. “It’s very inclusive and it promotes that reflection from a non-traditional angle,” says Din.

    St. Rose says that while it’s a bit more work to be a part of the group as compared to being there in person, using the technology to be a part of the virtual classroom comes close.

    The platform, which was implemented through a partnership between the CSI Calgary, CSI Ontario and the Coaching Association of Canada, ultimately broadens the coaching education environment and enhances the ability of dedicated and motivated coaches to improve their knowledge and skills.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    12/04/17

  • For Luc Tremblay, a Montreal-based strength and conditioning coach who recently attended the CSI Calgary Strength and Power Performance Course, the drive to excel at his work is fuelled by seeing his athletes progress. “I’ve always liked to see how effort produces results. What keeps my passion going is seeing that magic with younger athletes and showing the way of being.”

    This is exactly the impact that Matt Jordan, Director of Strength and Conditioning at CSI Calgary and the mastermind behind the course, is hoping to achieve. Driven by a desire to perpetually seek excellence in his work with the CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning group, the vision for the course is to offer the best opportunities for development to other coaches and trainers at every level. Says Jordan, “If you’re leading the community, then people want to come and learn from you. We’re really committed to getting better and making an impact on the strength and conditioning community.”

    The course focuses on both science and coaching, with attendees coming from all backgrounds and this year, from other countries as well. According to Tremblay, the benefits of the course include the content of the lectures and the networking opportunities. But he says the biggest value came from being able to witness and observe CSI Calgary athletes in their element.

    “I was very impressed by having athletes there in real time, on the floor. Seeing how they train, how they rest between sets. I can bring that back with me and share it with my athletes. I can teach them that they need to train like a pro,” says Tremblay.

    The practise of transferring and sharing knowledge within the system serves to develop coaches at every stage, from grassroots to high performance. This ultimately leads to spawning the next generation of athletes who will consequently progress to the next levels already equipped with the skills, habits and attitudes necessary to excel in the elite margins of sport.

    According to Tremblay, “Having all of us there in the course is a benefit to the CSI Calgary as well, to welcome future athletes that were trained well and the right way. By enabling us with content, knowledge and expertise to work with our own top level athletes, when they reach that next level CSI Calgary can start with an athlete that has the right foundation.”

    In addition to the synergistic benefits achieved for both coaches and future CSI Calgary athletes, the course helps the CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning group improve too. Jordan says, “The participants in the course help support development in our team, which in turn helps us offer higher quality programming and courses like this one.” With conviction, he adds, “I strongly believe that we deliver to the highest level athletes, we are extremely knowledgeable and good teachers, and we can deliver this to the community.”

    This limitless cycle of sharing, developing, learning and improving ultimately leads to fulfilling a mutual goal of achieving excellence in sport, at every level, for every player in the game.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

  • The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary has entered into a new partnership with the Glenmore Velodrome in Calgary. The daily operations of the 400m outdoor track are now run by the CSIC. This includes opening and closing the building, as well as running programs and events. The marquee event at the Glenmore Velodrome this season is the Alberta Provincial Championships. However, the track is busy all year, hosting sanctioned races on many Thursday and Saturday nights throughout the spring and summer.

    The CSIC entered into this partnership with the goal of growing the cross training opportunities for athletes. The agreement allows for increased access to high quality training in the facility while also providing CSIC athletes access to the velodrome’s fleet of high performance rental bikes. Phil Abbott, the CSIC’s cycling coach and Head Coach of the Alberta Bicycle Association, is excited about the partnership. He knows that “it is important that the velodrome runs properly. We want to seriously develop athletes and to do so we need to ensure the environment is of high quality.”

    Canadian speed skater Philippe Riopel has spent years track cycling for cross training purposes to enhance his speed skating training. His experience as a high performance athlete and familiarity with track cycling led to his selection as CSIC’s Track Manager. Working for both the CSIC and the Calgary Bicycle Track League (CBTL), Riopel is responsible for coaching, running the track’s programs and races, and performing bicycle maintenance. As an elite athlete, Riopel says that he fully understands the importance of “the big goal of the partnership, which is to provide another training option to the athletes in and around Calgary. We know that track cycling is a great way to cross train and having the velodrome right here in Calgary we want to make sure we have a program in place to make the most out of the facility.”

    The partnership is still young but there has already been great feedback from the CBTL, CSIC athletes, and other groups who have utilized the track. To date, a group of speed skaters coached by Xiuli Wang has begun interval training at the track twice weekly, and Track Cycling Olympian Monique Sullivan has held an evening of team building for her sponsors from aclaro softworks, inc.

    The partnership between the CSIC and the Glenmore Velodrome is yet another example of the ways elite athletes are benefitting from the forward thinking staff at the CSIC. Through this initiative, the hope is that athletes will find more ways to continue improving, creating new podium performances or maintaining their positions at the top of the world.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary

    Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
  • The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC) athletes and staff are benefitting from a multi-year partnership between Under Armour Canada and WinSport. The values of both WinSport and the CSIC are aligned with Under Armour’s brand mission of making all athletes better through passion, design and the relentless pursuit of innovation.

    Part of Under Armour’s role within the agreement is to support athletes as the official performance athletic apparel and footwear sponsor of WinSport. This includes providing a kit to CSIC athletes and coaches each year that consists of a gym bag, shoes, two pairs of shorts, a long-sleeved shirt, two short-sleeved shirts, six pairs of socks, a track suit and a compression kit.

    Having training apparel provided is a major advantage in the opinion of athletics athlete Seyi Smith, who enjoys the opportunity to provide direct feedback to the company who manufactures his training gear. Smith says, “Athletics is a full body sport in which every inch of your body must be working optimally. With Under Armour, athletes are getting to train and compete without clothing being a limiting factor. We are able to maximize the training effect and be the best we can be.”

    WinSport’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Sport Officer Stephen Norris also notes the importance of this advantage, stating, “WinSport has secured Under Armour’s support in providing world-leading apparel kits to high performance athletes. We strive to provide athletes with the best possible daily training environment, and we have taken that one step further with the apparel and footwear kits.”

    Through the partnership, Under Armour is also a major supporter of the high performance training centre and public training facility at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre. The high performance training centre in which the CSIC athletes train on a regular basis contains motivational branding where the words “Stay Humble Be Hungry” are written on the wall to reinforce the shared goals of the organizations, sponsors, and athletes.

    The shared vision of Under Armour, the CSIC, and WinSport continues to help the athletes be the best in the world. Luge athlete Kimberley McRae sums up the CSIC athletes’ enthusiasm for the partnership, exclaiming, “The Under Armour gear we have received has been great! From shoes to tank tops, we are covered for the gear we need to train in each day. Thanks Under Armour!”
  • On April 23, 2015, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary's President and CEO Dale Henwood participated in meetings in Lausanne, Switzerland between representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and members of the Association of Sport Performance Centres (ASPC). Henwood is the Chair of the ASPC, an organization that was formed in 1999 and is made up of representatives from over 80 high performance training centres from 30 countries across the world. Every two years the members hold the Forum on Elite Sport to discuss initiatives that will help to elevate high performance sport across the globe, promote fellowship, and, ideally, make the world better through sport.

    The goal of the ASPC meeting in Lausanne was to interact with members of the International Olympic Committee on the role and purpose of the ASPC and how they can assist the Olympic movement. Chair Henwood led the presentation along with the ASPC's Vice President for Europe Tapio Korjus (Finland), Secretary General Josep Escoda (Spain), and Treasurer Tracy Lamb (USA).

    The ASPC's proposal was aimed at promoting exposure of their association to the IOC. The ASPC members outlined their desire to share best practices among countries and high performance centres. This created the opportunity to present fresh perspectives and up to date information in the world of sport. The objective of ASPC members is to stay abreast of what other leading nations are doing through identifying trends and challenges within high performance centres. Additionally, the ASPC members place importance on sharing their knowledge with developing countries in order to assist these countries, and their athletes, reach world class levels.


    The CSIC's involvement with the ASPC is an example of the Institute's leadership amongst high performance sport centres around the world. It is an opportunity to promote the CSIC globally. The CSIC continues to generate international respect and is recognized as being among the best in the world at delivering quality programs and expertise to Canadian athletes and coaches. ASPC involvement allows the CSIC to stay on the cutting edge and to be integrated in the global sport community. Furthermore, the interaction amongst members allows the profile of CSIC to be shared with organizations such as the IOC, Pan American Sport Organizations, Association of National Olympic Committees and other leading high performance centres. Henwood describes his involvement in the ASPC as vitally important because he believes that the CSIC should "continue to be forward thinking and outward reaching in all that we do."

    To find out more about the ASPC please visit www.sportperformancecentres.org.

     

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

  • Dustin Cook wasn’t sure he would remember how to ski. But after nearly a year off snow – his longest break since he took up the sport at age two – Cook patiently and doggedly worked to recover from a catastrophic knee injury. He was pleased, and relieved, to discover that he certainly does remember how to ski.

    “It feels amazing to be back on snow,” he says. “I wasn’t sure what to expect but it couldn’t have gone any better. I was a bit surprised. I was kind of assuming the worst, but everything went awesome.”

    Coming off a recent two-week training camp in Chile, Cook is looking forward to a return to racing this fall. And so he should be – eight years of persistent and consistent racing on the World Cup circuit led to a breakout season in 2014-2015 that saw Cook win a World Championship silver medal in the super-G and gold and bronze medals in subsequent World Cups.

    He was well poised to maintain this momentum last season when calamity struck. During a training run in Austria, Cook crashed and sustained torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments (ACL & MCL) in his right knee. His season was over before it started, he flew home to have reconstructive surgery and start a new journey – the long, painful and challenging road back to racing.

    Patience and hard work helped him recover, but he didn’t do it alone. His support team at Alpine Canada Alpin and the CSI Calgary built a plan for every stage of Cook’s recovery. Jamie McCartney is the Strength and Power Coach at the CSI Calgary for the men’s Alpine ski team. He was instrumental in both planning and facilitating Cook’s rehabilitation.

    “Once an athlete gets injured he becomes his own team, now we have a specific focus on that individual and the work flow becomes about getting that athlete into the proper care,” says McCartney. He adds, “We build a plan around the medical timelines we are given and adjust the protocol from that point on. It’s a concerted effort by the entire Integrated Service Team.”

    In the early stages, the process is about recovery from surgery, then rehabilitation starts. This eventually crosses into pre-habilitation, where strength and conditioning can begin. The timeframe varies for each athlete depending on how recovery progresses.

    Part of Cook’s recovery incorporated the use of functional testing in the CSI Calgary’s strength lab to identify deficits in strength and muscle stability. According to McCartney, jump testing using force plates is a performance marker that shows bilateral asymmetry between the injured knee and good knee. “With catastrophic injury we can see asymmetry of up to 40-50%. We are always going back to reassess whether the athlete is tracking back towards baseline results [on the injured knee].”

    McCartney also works with the physiotherapist to design an appropriate training program to address the injured knee. The task can be daunting given the deficits they see. “Usually with an ACL injury the quadriceps muscles atrophy, there is scar tissue and the gluts are inactive. The body needs to be retrained to move and to rehabilitate lost movement patterns.”

    Although it can be overwhelming for an athlete to endure a year-long rehabilitation program, there is potential for a silver lining. “With all the time I had to recover we made a plan to fill a gap in my training – I was able to work on improving my core strength, which I felt could be better,” says Cook. He feels stronger now than he’s ever been.

    McCartney attests that he’s never seen someone be as professionally committed and focused on doing the rehab as Dustin Cook. “It was his number one priority. He trusted his team around him and did what he needed to do.” Cook is modest about his progress, “There was no magic formula to getting back,” he says. “It was just having a good team around me and doing the work.”

    As it is with elite athletes, everything Cook has learned during his long journey to the top is not easily forgotten, the least of which is skiing. How to perform, how to win – that is what Dustin remembers most and it helped get him through a long year of rehabilitation. “There has never been a doubt in my mind that I could get back. I worked so hard to get there and I didn’t forget that.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    05/10/16

  • With Canadian Nordic and Para Nordic athletes gaining momentum on the world stage, athlete and coach needs for CSI Calgary’s Integrated Support Team (IST) services are growing. This is where Jessica Kryski, CSI Calgary Sport Physiologist provides the necessary support.

    Originally based out of CSI Calgary’s main offices, Kryski’s expertise was increasingly being utilized by Canmore Nordic athletes and coaches, and travel between Calgary and Canmore was intensifying. In June 2016, Kryski moved to Canmore to be a better on-site liason with the Nordic National teams.

    Kryski assists with weekly and yearly Nordic planning, physiological testing, monitoring and she also helps at some training sessions. Being based in Canmore allows her to be more available to the High Performance Directors, coaches, skiers and other IST members. “It is very useful to be able to attend training sessions more regularly in order to properly gauge their load and impact,” explains Kryski. “Being permanently on site allows opportunity for more spontaneous conversations, and building stronger relationships and trust with the teams.”

    Emily Nishikawa is a Canmore-based cross country ski athlete, primarily competing in distance events. Kryski has been working with her for the past few years, and they have developed a strong working relationship. “ I feel like I can always run questions by her and really value her expert opinion. Together with my coach, we can tailor my training plan according to test results as well as daily monitoring. Having Jessica based in Canmore just makes everything much easier and more smooth.”

    Cross Country Ski Canada notices a difference now that they have a CSI Calgary IST member on site. “It’s made a huge difference having Jessica’s expertise in Canmore full time, working as a collective with all the Nordic disciplines amassing a large bank of knowledge,” says Tom Holland, High Performance Director. “Kryski’s work also extends across the country with National and Development team athletes and coaches.“

    The change is also beneficial to other IST members within the CSI Calgary. Anna Aylwin, Head Calgary Strength and Conditioning Coach for Nordic sports says that Kryski’s move to Canmore has elevated the IST approach to new levels. “The way we work as an IST with Nordic sports is very hands on. Having Jessica there gives us more of an established base and knowing she’s there makes working with these athletes in a satellite location much more efficient. I feel that we’ve made a huge step forward in establishing a centre of excellence for Nordic sports.”

    Cross Country Ski Canada, Biathlon Canada and Para Nordic Skiing have their home base at the Canmore Nordic Centre. With access to more than 100 km of world class trails, 31 firing lanes for biathlon, a paved rollerski loop and biathlon competition trails, more than 25 CSI-supported National Team athletes, and additional development groups train at the Centre.

    Ski Nationals 2017 will be held at the Canmore Nordic Centre from March 18 – 25, 2017. It’s a great opportunity to see Canada’s best compete leading up to the Peyongchang Olympics in February 2018.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Lisa Thomson
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    22/02/17

  • The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC) is proud to announce that Kelly Anne Erdman will be awarded the 2015 Dietitians of Canada Ryley Jeffs Memorial Lecture Award. Erdman is being recognized for her passion and dedication as a registered dietitian. Her career as a Performance Dietitian began 28 years ago at the Canadian Sport Institute's inception.

    Erdman will receive the honours at the Dietitians of Canada's annual conference in Quebec City on June 6. This award is given to individuals who have shown vision and pioneering spirit in their field. Erdman fits the criteria of exemplifying "the ideals of dedication to the profession and has a proven ability to chart new directions in the field of dietetics." As an award recipient, she has been asked to give a forty-minute presentation inspiring the audience to contribute to their respective professions through extraordinary work.

    To describe Erdman as a pioneer in the field of Sports Nutrition is an understatement. Erdman has authored 7 peer-reviewed journal articles and was the first dietitian to research the supplementation habits and dietary intakes of Canadian athletes. Her passion for sport nutrition is grounded in her own experiences as a high performance athlete. Erdman was a member of the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Team as a track cyclist. She has worked with a wide variety of sports at the CSIC throughout her career, including the 4-time Olympic Gold Medallist Women's Hockey Team.

    Erdman's involvement has been integral to the continued advancements within the CSIC. She has been a driving force in keeping the Institute and its athletes world-leading, helping to develop the popular Fuel For Gold menus, the curriculum for the National Coaching Program, sponsorships for supplements and food products, and the third-party testing of athlete supplements. Her ingenuity has also been integral to athletic communities across the country. This has been demonstrated through her work with a variety of organizations such as the Calgary Flames, whose game day nutrition plans were written by Erdman. She has also done extensive writing for several different groups such as coach.ca and the Sport Medicine Council of Alberta.

    The CSIC and its athletes are proud to have an asset such as Kelly Anne Erdman on their team. Her life-long commitment to the CSIC and support of high performance athletes has resulted in research derived knowledge and athlete medals. For these reasons, the Ryley Jeffs Memorial Lecture Award could not be going to a more deserving candidate.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

  • Shane Esau and Tessa Gallinger did not set out to become the country's leading parasport exercise physiologist and strength and power para-specialist. They each had set out on traditional sport career paths at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and fell into the relatively unchartered world of parasport science. Now, Esau and Gallinger are running programs for 32 athletes across 13 different sports. The athletes that they train are competing in spite of disabilities that include spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, amputation, and visual impairment, all with varying degrees of severity.

    Esau and Gallinger firmly believe that the work of the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary is second to none in Canada. Operating under the mission to be a key contributor to Canada's world-leading Olympic and Paralympic podium performances, Esau credits the work of the Institute's leaders, Dale Henwood, Jason Poole, Rosemary Neil, and Dr. David Smith as being "instrumental in being able to have the program we do." By blurring the line that traditionally exists between able-bodied and parasports, these industry experts have allowed for the funding, time, and research necessary to improve the training systems needed to become world-leaders in the realm of parasports.

    The program has already seen success, bringing home 6 medals from the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, and 5 medals from the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Much of that can be attributed to the work done by the dynamic combination of Esau and Gallinger, who are swift to mention the support contributed by their colleague Jared Fletcher, a PhD student in exercise physiology at the University of Calgary. The parasport program, run by the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, aims to continue its growth with the implementation of a new practicum program focusing on Paralympic strength and conditioning at the University of Calgary.

    Due to the enormous range in abilities, Gallinger and Esau's positions involve conducting extensive research into every individual athlete's health concerns before creating their training programs. Even athletes with the same difficulties are treated on a case-by-case basis, because no two athletes react exactly alike to intense training.

    One of the biggest challenges that Gallinger has found facing para-athletes is their unfamiliarity with basic body movements. Because of their disabilities, athletes have often been limited in their ability to participate in physical education classes and recreational sports. As an example, Gallinger points out that before working with her, "a lot of athletes did not know how to skip. Once they learn, they excel." Esau has noticed also recognized this trend, saying, "The athletes are novices in terms of learning how to move their bodies even though they are great athletes."

    Esau and Gallinger are undeniably big supporters of each other's work, and have mutual admiration for the passion that their athletes exhibit. The unwavering support from the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, along with the University of Calgary and WinSport, has enabled the parasport program to continue to grow up until this point. With a goal of being the world-leading Paralympic team in the future, the team is continuing their research and specialization by building on the incredible foundation that has been set.

    Stay in the loop!
    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
    Photo by Dave Holland: @davehollandpics
    Tessa Gallinger: @TessaGallinger
    Shane Esau: @Parasport_sci

  • (left to right: Chandra Crawford, Neil Smith, Blythe Hartley, Will Dutton)

    There are many common threads woven among the athlete experience that bind athletes together in an unspoken but profound way: voluntary physical suffering, heart palpitations on the starting line, elation in victory. But perhaps the most shared and unifying thread is the inevitable end game: the end, whether by choice or by fate, of a lifetime dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in sport.

    The way of transition is a challenge unlike any other faced in sport; a journey that every athlete must make. Blythe Hartley, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, describes her transition from diving to the ‘real world’ as the most difficult challenge of her entire career. “I knew I was going to retire after 2008, but I didn’t prepare. I knew it was looming even though I finished on a high and loved my sport. It was a difficult time, I wasn’t clear.”

    For Will Dutton, 26, a long track speed skater and CSI Calgary athlete, the end came by choice after a disappointing 2014-2015 season, where love of sport waned and injury swallowed his progress. He pursued carpentry but it wasn’t long before the desire to compete returned. “I missed sport. My love for speed skating came back, but I was also asking myself “Where do I want to go with my life?”

    For Hartley, Dutton and countless other CSI Calgary athletes struggling to answer that question there is Cara Button, Game Plan Advisor. Game Plan is Canada’s national athlete total wellness program supporting and empowering high performance athletes to pursue excellence during and beyond their sporting career.

    Button nurtures relationships with the athletes throughout their careers, which helps her craft an individual approach to supporting each one through what can be a tough ride from sport to life. “I’m a mom to 300 young adults!” she laughs.

    The skills gained from being an athlete endure for a lifetime but transitioning athletes can’t always see or appreciate how to apply them to a new career. It is Button’s job to help athletes realise their potential after sport. “We offer the resources but the onus is on the athlete. Athletes forget that they have all the skills. Sometimes they just need a little push and some one-on-one time to help them focus.” she says.

    Neil Smith, the COO of Crescent Point Energy in Calgary, has supported CSI Calgary athletes for years. He is working with Button to help create employment opportunities for current and transitioning athletes. “One of the most important things to me is that athletes are willing to risk failure” he says, “I guarantee that the skills developed as an athlete are specifically those needed in a new career.”

    At a recent networking event jointly hosted by CSI Calgary and Crescent Point Energy, current and retired athletes had the opportunity to meet industry professionals and learn some lessons from a panel discussion with Dutton, Hartley and Smith.

    For Hartley, now a successful HR Advisor at ARC Resources, the support from Button and the CSI Calgary was invaluable. “I was very lucky to have the support from the CSI Calgary in that time, it was so helpful. It’s possible to get through it.”

    With a plan for the future, Dutton is now in school and training for the next Olympics. In his first season back he won five World Cup medals, something he credits to his newfound sense of purpose. “I started to believe in myself. Having something that I believe in made my performance so much better, I had something else to focus on.”

    If you are interested in hiring an athlete please contact Cara Button at cbutton@csicalgary.ca

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

     

  • Food is good. Good food is better. For tired athletes looking to refuel after a tough workout, access to an affordable, healthy meal is vital. Thankfully for them, Fuel for Gold, a restaurant/kiosk located at the University of Calgary, offers just that.

    The CSI Calgary undertook the opening of the kiosk in 2011 as a way to provide fresh, healthy, organic food to Canada’s top amateur athletes and the Calgary public. Additionally, the business serves to support CSI Calgary programs – all proceeds from Fuel for Gold go directly to support Canada’s athletes training in Calgary. The primary clientele are subsidized CSI Calgary athletes and Calgary Dinos, as well as University faculty and staff who are socially conscious and looking for a healthy option.

    According to Kelly Anne Erdman, a CSI Calgary Performance Dietician, Fuel for Gold has been a welcome addition to the campus food scene. “What we’re finding is that faculty and students are jumping on board and are happy to have access to high quality food options. We also cater to unique nutritional requests offering vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options,” she says.

    Erdman works with Head Chef Fauzy Azouz to develop new recipes and menu items, and to maximize the potential of the tiny kitchen. With limited space and a healthy demand, it can be challenging to produce enough meals every day. “What Fauzy produces in that small kitchen everyday is amazing!” laughs Erdman.

    In addition to the kiosk, Fuel for Gold also offers a catering service. Clients often include local sports teams and corporate clients looking for healthy catering options. Says Erdman, “We haven’t done a lot of marketing, we mostly go by word of mouth. The city hears about us, we get calls from corporate clients throughout Calgary and we do our best to fill every order. There are other options available but they come to us.”

    Lesley Reddon, Manager of Female National Teams at Hockey Canada relies on Fuel for Gold catering services for team training camps. “Fuel for Gold provides good quality meals with a sound nutritional base, which is something that is important to incorporate into our camps from the perspective of both athletes and staff,” says Reddon.

    It can be a challenge to churn out over 500 meals a day and fill catering orders but Azouz takes it all in stride. Despite the occasional stressful day, Azouz loves his job and clearly takes his customers’ needs and wants to heart.

    He truly enjoys working with his staff and the CSI Calgary team, but the connection to his customers is particularly special. He says they come for food, but they also come for comfort. “It’s a service industry” he explains, “But it’s not just food, we joke and laugh and sometimes the athletes will come to the back and give us hugs. Over time you build that trust with the customers.” Adds Erdman, “There is a great bond between Azouz and the athletes. He knows them by name, he knows what they order. He really understands their needs.”

    Not only does the Fuel for Gold team offer a healthy homemade meal, they also offer a little bit of home – a warm and welcoming place to share a meal, share a laugh or share a tough day. For Azouz and his customers it’s the little things that make a big difference. He says, “When you see the customers happy it’s all worth it.”

    Last year Fuel for Gold served more than 36,000 meals to athletes.  For more information go to fuelforgold.com.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

  • Calgary's Michael Sametz is looking towards the 2016 Paralympic Games. After his recent breakthrough winning both the Time Trial and the Road Race at the National Championships in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, the 18-year-old has every reason to be optimistic that he will be a part of the team representing Canada in Rio de Janeiro.

    Sametz's success has been meaningful not only for himself as an athlete, but for his training program as a whole. As part of an identified talent group, Sametz, who is coached by Nick Jendzjowsky, is the first athlete to graduate on to the National Cycling Team. The timing could not be better, according to the program's founder Stephen Burke, who notes that the combination of funding and support from the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and Alberta Sport Development Centre (ASDC) "was a catalyst" to Sametz's success.

    Burke's training group, the Calgary Cycling Centre based out of the Calgary Olympic Oval, is funded as a unique partnership between the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and the ASDC Calgary Region. Now entering into its fourth year, Sametz's success indicates that the system is beginning to flourish.

    The partnership has combined the resources that each institution would have provided separately in order to create a program that is greater than the sum of its parts. Whereas typically the Canadian Sport Institute would be able to provide some sports science, nutrition, and sport psychology to athletes at the development level, when partnered with the ASDC's resources the programs have been able to increase the amount of support that the Calgary Cycling Centre's athletes receive in these areas.

    Sametz is well aware of the benefits that the partnership program has created, believing that, "the funding and program set up access to the services like nutrition, anthro [sport science], and sport psychology. It has elevated my performance on and off the bike. Since meeting with [performance dietitian] Kelly Anne Erdman and [sport psychologist] Clare Fewster, the way I approach my training and racing has evolved."

    Sametz's mother Ronda, could not agree more, saying, "The services Mike received and the relationships developed while at Calgary Cycling Centre were and continue to be extremely helpful in his cycling development."

    The excitement surrounding the recent success of Sametz and the Calgary Cycling Centre is tangible. As Coach Burke proclaims, "Mike has a bright future," it is clear that the partnership between the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and the ASDC does as well.

    Keep up to date with results from Michael and other cyclists by following the Canadian Sport Institute on Twitter and Facebook!

    Stay in the loop!

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

  • Living up to its hype, the Legacy Gala was a fantastic time for all attendees. Raising $130,000 towards funding and grants in support of developing local athletes, the Gala included a star-studded line up of chefs, '80s bands, and Olympic athletes.

    As a follow up to the 2013 Super Hero themed event, the Legacy Gala showcased everything that the 1980s had to offer and more. Kaylin Irvine, 2014 Olympic Speed Skater, summed up the experience, claiming "it was the bombdiggity! The '80s theme was like, totally clutch. From the costumes to the food to the concert, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and WinSport put on an outrageous event. It was such a great opportunity to mingle with corporate Calgary; I wasn't even alive in the 1980s but the theme instantly gave everyone something in common."

    Beginning the night with a reception for sponsors including aclaro softworks inc., THE Downtown Sports Clinic, CBRE, Tourism Calgary and EFW Radiology, athletes showcased their Olympic hardware with the esteemed guests while they sampled food and beverages from 17 of Calgary's top chefs who had donated their time to the fantastic cause. Chefs whose talents were on display that evening included Michele Aurigemma from Q Haute Cuisine, Brian Diamond of Il Sogno, and WinSport's Executive Chef Ronnie Gillman. Intermittent raffles and live auctions were held throughout the evening, offering amazing prizes to the winners while keeping the '80s action going.

    Once satiated by the overabundance of food and drinks, athletes and guests moved on to the concert floor where the fun continued with a three-hour Lost '80s Live concert. Retro performances of hits from bands such as Men Without Hats, Wang Chung, and Berlin kept the crowd moving and engaged while funds continued to be donated to amateur sport in Alberta, combining fun with philanthropy in a most spectacular manner.

    After the incredible success of this year's fundraiser, and the enthusiasm that the crowd felt for the 1980s theme, the only challenge left is coming up with a concept for next year's event!

    A sincere thank you goes out to all of the chefs, bands, athletes, and sponsors who donated their time and skills to this amazing and successful event.

    Stay in the loop!
    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Writen by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    WinSport: www.winsport.ca
  •  

  • Scratch lightly at the surface of female sport participation in Canada and you will find grim and disheartening statistics. Despite the benefits, which are widely reported, most young girls and women simply don’t take part in sport or exercise. It simply isn’t right.

    That’s precisely what Chandra Crawford, a CSI Calgary alumni and 2006 Olympic Champion in cross-country skiing, thought over ten years ago when a girl she was babysitting said she wasn’t happy being a girl because “girls don’t get to do fun things like skateboarding and instead have to worry about their appearance all the time.” Crawford thought, ‘this has to change.’ Fast and Female was born.

    Founded by Crawford in 2005, Fast and Female seeks to provide a positive and empowering environment for girls in sport. The organization’s mission is to keep girls healthy, happy and active in sports through their teens by introducing them to inspiring athlete role models.

    One way this goal is accomplished is by hosting events where girls come together learn, have fun and spend time with some of Canada’s most successful female athletes. Fast and Female’s next event is the Calgary Summit on November 6, 2016 at WinSport. Programming for the day ranges from physical literacy stations to nutrition seminars to yoga and dance, as well as spending the entire day with Fast and Female athlete ambassadors.

    Rachael McIntosh, a CSI registered athlete, is an aspiring Olympian in the heptathlon and this will be her second Fast and Female event as an athlete ambassador. McIntosh, now 25 years old, participated in many sports as a young girl but switched to track and field in high school. “The only reason I started out in track and field was because of my coach; she made it fun for me,” recalls McIntosh. “I think a lot of girls are missing out on that – they need a leader to make it fun. Sport is important and what keeps girls in sport is more than that.”

    Through events like the Calgary Summit, the organization strives to provide a non-competitive environment for girls to learn and have fun. Leah Lacroix, Fast and Female Executive Director, says the summit is an opportunity to gather girls together and let them know about their options in sport.

    “Some girls are at a point where they are trying to figure out if they want to continue in sport and we are there to help them see that they are not alone and that there are many options,” says Lacroix. “They can move to another sport, or shift gears to a recreational program. Sometimes they need that extra inspiration to keep going or try something new.”

    While inspiration is available in high doses there is a focus on practical lessons too. Kelly Anne Erdman, CSI Calgary Performance Dietician, will provide nutrition seminars to each age group as well as to the parent and coach session. “The emphasis is on how nutrition is important for performance and also teaching the girls to listen to their bodies and connect with any signs and symptoms they might be feeling,” she says.

    Ten years on, what keeps Crawford going is the feedback from parents and girls after an event. “You can’t always see on the surface just how deeply a girl is absorbing everything,” she says. “But afterwards the testimonials and letters we get are amazing.”

    Another benefit, an unexpected one, is the impact these events have on the athlete ambassadors themselves. “The athletes really get a lot out of being ambassadors,” marvels Crawford. “It helps bring more meaning to what they are doing in sport. It’s been amazing to see that.” McIntosh agrees, “The day is really inspiring for me too!”

    It turns out if you dig a little deeper you will find that although the statistics on girls in sport may be grim, there is growing hope for young girls in Canada thanks to organizations like Fast and Female, whose programs reach over three thousand girls every year. When girls learn that they have many options, the world becomes a better place.

    Sign up today for the Fast and Female Calgary Summit November 6, 2016 Calgary Summit 2016 - Fast and Female.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    02/11/16

  • Big Data... it’s everywhere. Big Problem? Not anymore says Graeme Challis, Exercise Specialist at CSI Calgary. Although a relatively small data set compared to large industries, the field of high performance sport generates a great deal of information that has historically been dispersed across several software platforms, leading to a limited ability to utilize it effectively.

    “Before we had data all over the place,” says Challis. “There were Excel spreadsheets everywhere!” Enter Edge 10, a central, web-based storage platform for data to live, now used by several sports and facilitated by CSI Calgary.

    Edge 10’s key benefits are the centralization and consolidation of data storage, which leads to more effective use of the information. The cloud-based technology allows for easy entering, analyzing, reporting and sharing of athlete data both efficiently and securely. It is a fully customizable and integrated database that enables sports to develop performance solutions unique to their needs.

    In the past, CSI Calgary physiologists like Scott Maw, who leads the Integrated Support Team (IST) for long track speed skating, spent inordinate amounts of time combining pieces of information about an athlete from several different places.

    “Before we were spending too much time gathering the data and not enough time analyzing it,” says Maw. “Now I can spend my time actually analyzing the data, which helps us make better, evidence-based decisions.” The platform has greatly enhanced how the IST and coaches can tailor training programs to individual athletes.

    One key area addressed by Edge 10 is athlete monitoring. In long track speed skating this effort has been spearheaded by Maw, which has helped revolutionize the way coaches are able to assess their athletes’ response to training loads.

    “In the past, the extent of the monitoring we did was to track an athlete’s resting heart rate – if it was 10 beats higher than normal we just assumed the athlete would get sick,” jokes Todd McClements, Stage 4 coach at Speed Skating Canada. “The monitoring we do now is lightyears ahead compared with just five years ago, it has evolved so quickly.”

    Edge 10 accumulates many sources of data on an athlete, good and bad, such as subjective questionnaires and objective measures like heart rate variability and training loads. This is analyzed in parallel with other data like physiological testing results and physiotherapy assessments to determine areas of stress.

    “Now we can see everything at once and start to understand the relationships between various loads on the body,” says Challis. “It helps us tease out what matters and what changes will make a difference for a particular athlete.”

    The monitoring also helps to bridge the gap between intention and outcome. “What is prescribed by the coach isn’t always what is executed by the athlete,” says Challis. “If an athlete goes too hard for a program intended to be easy, monitoring data can identify that stress and the IST can make necessary adjustments, which could help prevent injury or overreaching.”

    McClements is quick to point out that Edge 10 is by no means a panacea or crystal ball – sport is far too complex to predict the future. But he is grateful that Edge 10 provides more efficient analyzing of data for decision making.

    “It’s never black and white,” he says. “But now it’s much less grey.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
    25/05/17

  • Excitement is building in this pre-Olympic season as athletes, coaches and members of the CSI Calgary Integrated Support Teams travel to PyeongChang, Korea to explore and compete for the first time in the new venues. Olympic test events are being held in anticipation of the Games, which start in just over 300 days.

    Canadian winter World Cup and World Championship results to date this season have been very strong. Last week after 505 events, Canada is currently in the top three nations for both total medals and total gold medals.

    Throughout the PyeongChang Olympic test events, history is being made. In addition to other stellar Canadian performances, Calgary’s Sam Edney became the first Canadian male to reach a Luge podium in the men’s singles events outside of Canada, winning Bronze in February’s Viessmann Luge World Cup. Coming off a series of injuries, three-time Olympian Edney took the last year off to recover, build back his strength and focus on school.

    A CSI Calgary supported athlete, Edney is a 15-year veteran of the National Luge Team. “I had a really good, solid week of training so I had a lot of confidence knowing the majority of the guys were having issues on the track,” added Edney. “I might be the old dog on Tour, but I think that is to my advantage when we get to a new track where it takes the experience, and the volume of runs I have on the tracks around the world, to help pick up new things for a new track.

    Tim Farstad, Executive Director of Luge Canada says that this season heading into Korea, Canada’s Luge team athletes are proving to be strong and motivated. “The Team is hungry after getting three fourth place and one fifth place finishes in Sochi. They’ve been working hard for three years now to move into the medal spots in the next Olympic Games. As we’ve seen this season, each one of these athletes has medal potential.”

    Jeremiah Barnert, CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning coach, has been a member of the Luge support team since 2009, accompanying them in the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games. “Sam’s success was really exciting,” says Barnert. “He came back strong after taking a year off.” Barnert goes on to explain that he is on the road with the Luge team for 10 – 14 weeks a year. With a small team, and two of four support staff from CSI Calgary, it’s a tight-knit family. “The family feel is what makes our team strong.”

    Having recently spent two weeks in PyeongChang, Barnert confirmed that the new Olympic venue is in good shape, the people are great and everything is well organized

    Olympic test events give athletes the opportunity to get familiar with the new venues, officials the ability to fine-tune large international events, and volunteers coming from across the world have the opportunity to give feedback.

    By the end of March, Canadian athletes will have competed in PyeongChang at:

    FIS World Cup Snowboard (big air)
    ISU World Cup Short Track event
    Alpine FEC & President Cup
    FIS Cross Country World Cup
    FIS Nordic Combined World Cup
    World Single Distance Championships (speed skating)
    FIS Freestyle World Cup
    FIS Snowboard World Cup
    FIS Ski Jumping World Cup
    Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
    World Junior Curling Championships
    FIL Luge World Cup
    IBU Biathlon World Cup
    FIS Alpine World Cup
    IBSF World Cup of Bobsleigh and Skeleton

    Canada expects to send its largest team ever to an Olympic Winter games with an estimated 240 athletes joining more than 6000 competitors from up to 95 countries. Immediately following are the 12th Paralympic Winter Games with athletes from 45 countries, six sports with 80 medal events.

    For more information on PyeongChang 2018, check out the official website: https://www.olympic.org/pyeongchang-2018

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Lisa Thomson
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    08/03/17

  • Two-time Olympic bobsledder Jesse Lumsden knows a thing or two about preparing for the future. The former CFL star already planned and made one transition from football to bobsled in time for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Now, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) supported athlete is preparing for yet another career transition, from the sport world to the business world.

    Prior to the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014, Pacesetter Directional Drilling, led by CFO Chad Robinson, was sponsoring Lumsden. In order to maximize the partnership, Lumsden began meeting Robinson once per quarter to discuss sport, work, and life. The topic of career transition was addressed and Robinson felt that there was a fit for Lumsden in Resource Merchant Capital (RMC), a firm that invests in the private oil and gas market. Seizing the opportunity, Lumsden made the decision to shift his focus from sport after Sochi to prepare for his next career transition.

    Of his work in the corporate world, Lumsden notes, “It has not been an easy transition. I am under-educated and out of my league in certain situations. I lean on those around me for guidance and if I make a mistake I do not make it twice. It is no different than starting a new sport, it just requires using different muscles. It takes the same amount of effort and dedication, just a different focus. I encourage all athletes to start training and working. You do not realize how fast a sports career goes by until it is almost over.”

    With the next Olympic Winter Games only two years away, Lumsden is starting to refocus, saying, “The next five months are very important for me. In June, I will begin training with the bobsled team full time in preparation for the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang while continuing to work part time with RMC. I am very fortunate, as my return to sport was always known and supported by both Chad Robinson and RMC.”

    CSI Calgary Director of Stakeholder Relations Cara Button is impressed by the relationship that Robinson and Lumsden have formed. She hopes that more athletes and companies will create these mutually beneficial situations, emphasizing, “Game Plan is actively working on finding flexible work opportunities for athletes. Jesse’s story is a great example of how companies can contribute to athletes not only through sponsorship but by potentially engaging them in their business as well. Jesse took advantage of a sponsorship opportunity to develop a relationship. He is not leaving anything up to chance by waiting until his sport career is over.”

    For more information on Game Plan, visit www.mygameplan.ca or contact Cara Button at cbutton@csicalgary.ca 

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

  • The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC) would like to congratulate all of the athletes who competed at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto from August 7-15, 2015. Team Canada finished second in the medal count with a total of 50 gold, 63 silver, and 55 bronze medals. CSIC athletes contributed to the team’s results in a big way, with Morgan Bird, Zachary McAllister, and Zach Madell winning gold medals, Jennifer Brown winning gold and silver, Michael Sametz, Kirstie Kasko, Chad Jassman, Peter Won, and Arinn Young earning silver medals, and Aron Ghebreyohannes, Tiana Knight, Blair Nesbitt, Tammy Cunnington, as well as the women’s and men’s sitting volleyball teams earning bronze medals.

    Chosen to carry the Canadian flag and lead Team Canada into the closing ceremonies was 21-year-old wheelchair rugby athlete Zak Madell. He describes the atmosphere of competing at a home games as, “Better than I could ever have dreamt of. The fan support and energy of the city of Toronto were unbelievable. The announcement that I was carrying the flag was made to the whole rugby team just minutes after receiving our gold medals at the ceremonies, so the rush of emotions was truly overwhelming.”

    A member of the CSIC since 2011, Madell believes that he utilizes the CSIC’s services to the fullest potential, working with “a Strength & Conditioning coach three times a week as well as accessing therapy for rehab and injury prevention whether it be acupuncture, ultrasound or massage to keep the body in tip-top shape.” Madell says he owes a lot of credit to “the CSIC for all of their support, as well as my personal sponsor Vesco Metal Craft for all of my wheelchairs and parts.”

    Chris Osmond, Madell’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, is not shocked by Madell’s success. He describes working with him as a privilege, saying, “Zak is a tremendous athlete and person. He is passionate about his craft, extremely determined, and gives nothing less than 100% each time he trains or competes. He is kind, compassionate and strives to be the best person he can be on or off the gym floor.”

    By accomplishing their goal of winning the Parapan Am gold medal, the wheelchair rugby team has qualified for the 2016 Paralympics. After already winning a silver medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games, Madell says, “Now that we have had a taste of gold we hope to keep this hunger moving forward and continue to bring home the bling!”

    We look forward to watching the men’s rugby team in Rio next summer!

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
  • You could say that Carol Huynh is a Jack of all trades, master of all: Olympic Champion, Master’s Student, Assistant Chef de Mission, Mentor, Advocate, and now Coach, in the sport of wrestling. Over a span of more than two decades, Huynh has steadfastly honed her many skills and filled so many different roles, approaching each with her own simple blend of humility and hard work.

    It’s a rare breed these days – the retired athlete who pursues a new career in their sport. “There are other athletes who have done what Carol is doing, but she’s unique because there are less and less of them staying in sport after retirement,” says Cara Button, Director, Stakeholder Relations at CSI Calgary. “The sport system doesn’t always do a good job of keeping athletes in their organization but athletes have so much knowledge and experience to share,” she adds.

    Given that successful athletes carry with them a lifetime of experience and expertise, Button says that Wrestling Canada has done a good job of finding a way to keep Huynh involved. She is now the Wrestling Canada Next Gen Institute Program Coach and recently enrolled in the CSI Calgary’s Advanced Coaching Diploma.

    Huynh’s ventures into education, advocacy and coaching weren’t always in the plan – she initially wanted to pursue psychology and later sport psychology, even earning her Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology. But after retirement a number of events transpired that kept pulling her back.

    First, when wrestling was voted off the Olympic program by the IOC in 2013, Carol spearheaded an international effort to have the sport reinstated. Her successful fight led to becoming elected as chairperson of the International Wrestling Federation’s new Athletes’ Commission.

    Second, When the Next Gen concept was rolled out by Own the Podium, Wrestling Canada created a development pathway and needed a coach to lead the effort. Huynh jumped at the opportunity because she wanted to give back to the sport.

    Of her decision to remain in sport, Huynh modestly concedes that at first it seemed like the right choice because it felt easy. “I didn’t want to leave the sport,” she says. “It would be so hard to cut that out of my life.” Perhaps it felt easy because it was the right choice.

    Starting out in a new career is tough given that Huynh was once the best wrestler in the world. “What’s really hard is that for so long I felt like I’d mastered something but now I’m starting coaching and learning how to be the best coach,” she explains. She’s also acutely aware that just because she was a good athlete doesn’t mean she’ll be a good coach. “I gotta earn it,” she says.

    So, she is approaching her new career in coaching with the same work ethic and determination that helped her to become an Olympic Champion, Master’s Student and successful advocate – she knows it will take a lot of hard work to learn her new craft and she is up for the challenge.

    Of pursuing her next challenge in the sport she is so passionate about, Huynh is resolute: “Now I have to get good at this.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
    31/05/17

  • Competition day is familiar to me. I wake up early, take a mental note of my goals for the next 12 hours, make some coffee and tie my hair back in a tight pony tail. Somehow, today was familiar. Instead of my team Canada gear, I put on business appropriate attire and rather than rolling my fencing bag into the competition salle, I took the elevator up to the Deloitte office overlooking downtown Calgary. It was a clean slate to participate in Game Plan Day, an immersive in-office experience for Olympians, Paralympians and National Team athletes to explore career development and life after sport.

    At 8:45am I walked into the boardroom to sit with 16 of my Canadian teammates and scanned the room a few times to place them without their lycra, speed suits or skis. The team at Deloitte gave us a warm welcome and talked about the environment in which they work and how it supports people from all backgrounds to flourish in their own way. They emphasized the power of a non-traditional workplace and a high-performance culture. Instantly all the athlete’s eyes lit up and I think it sparked a world of possibility in that room. Deloitte proceeded to lay out the schedule for the day, packed with speakers, job shadows, networking and mock interviews.

    First was the job shadow portion of the day. I joined Tynan Wenarchuk, an analyst in the consulting practice at Deloitte. I showed up to his office eager to tag along with his morning, to find out that he was already on a call with Deloitte employees from across Canada strategizing on how to best deliver their message to the client they were advising. I was impressed with how interactive and productive the call was. With so many individuals on the line, I didn’t expect the team to come away with so many action items and clear ideas for their client. As an athlete, we are uniquely placed to effectively work within a team atmosphere to deliver a result under pressure. I quickly realized the skills I have honed as an athlete are incredibly transferable and useful to a different kind of team.

    Next was the mock interview. I was asked all the standard interview questions and with little work experience, I was able to convey my strengths, problem solving abilities and overcoming adversity easily through examples from my Olympic pursuits instead. Furthering the connection with what I have to offer and what employers are looking for, I quickly realized that interviewing requires concise, deliberate communication. Just like our lives in sport with our teams and coaches, effective communication delivers results.

    Finally, it was time for the speed networking portion of the event. With various Deloitte clients and partners in attendance, our task was to spend five minutes with each of them. Hearing about their individual career developments, it was evident that there is not a defined path but a common thread. Resiliency, hard work and seeking opportunity defined these leaders in their respective industries but it is also at the core of our make-up as athletes.

    After a morning jam-packed at the Deloitte office, I laced up my running shoes to reflect on what the day had taught me. My real takeaway from Game Plan Day was that the intangible assets we have polished to get to the Olympic stage are transferrable and desirable in life after sport. From applying teamwork skills in the boardroom, to using advocacy skills in interviews instead of lobbying coaches, the parallels are obvious. Relaying interesting experiences gained through sport to network provides a unique perspective. Years of sport provide an excellent springboard to success in the workforce.

    I would like to thank the Game Plan Team and Deloitte Canada for making this event possible and look forward to attending events in the future!

    Melanie McCann
    2012 & 2016 Olympian
    Modern Pentathlon

    Photo: Jared Armstrong

  • The 2016 Paralympic Games are set to set to run from September 7-18 in Rio de Janiero. Over four thousand athletes from more than 160 countries will compete in 526 medal events in 22 sports. The Canadian Team is comprised of 155 athletes competing in 19 sports. One of those Canadians is a young, up and coming cyclist from Calgary, Mike Sametz.

    Sametz trains at CSI Calgary with head coach of the Para-Cycling Program Phil Abbott. In addition to training, Sametz also pursues an education in business and kinesiology at the University of Calgary. In his final preparations for the Paralympic Games he also trained at the 2015 Pan Am Games venue for track cycling track in Milton, Ontario.

    Sametz started cycling seven years ago when some friends of his parents told them about the para cycling program at the Calgary Olympic Oval. From the very beginning, Sametz, who has cerebral palsy on the right side of his body, was integrated with able-bodied cyclists and competes regularly in both able-bodied and Paralympic competitions. “He’s a model for integrating para and able bodies athletes, which in the past was not always the way things were done,” says Abbott.

    Usually quiet and mild-mannered off the bike, Sametz is fiercely competitive once racing starts. “His personality on the bike is completely different,” observes Abbott. “He’s very shy except when he’s racing. He likes to win and to be the best but doesn’t like the attention. Nobody would guess he’s super competitive.”

    Sametz himself keeps his competitive drive alive through setting big goals. “When I first started cycling, my goal was always to go to Rio,” he says. “I’m a very dedicated person and when I find a goal I want to achieve I’ll do everything I can to achieve it.”

    At 20 years old, Sametz is the youngest member of the para cycling team heading to Rio to compete for Team Canada at the 2016 Paralympic Games. He’s also younger than most of his competitors, who tend to range from 30-40 years old. His age however, has not held him back – to date his major accomplishments include a silver medal in the Individual Pursuit at the 2015 Parapan Am Games and a bronze medal in the Individual Time Trial at a 2016 World Cup in Belgium.

    According to Abbott, Sametz is well poised to reach the podium in two of his four events. “If all the stars align he could get third in the Individual Pursuit and third in the Individual Time Trial. He’s definitely within striking distance,” says Abbott.

    Sametz is more modest in his predictions, preferring to focus on what he needs to do to perform well in Rio. “The last three months I noticed myself getting better,” he says. “I’m going to try and do my very best in all my races. My competitors are not new to me. They are the same guys I’ve raced against at World Cups and World Championships. I know where I’ve placed before and want to improve on those placings.”

    CSI Calgary is proud to support Team Canada Para athletes. Other CSI Calgary supported athletes to watch: Jenn Brown and Alister McQueen in para athletics; Ross Wilson para cycling; Morgan Bird, para swimming; Stefan Daniel, para triathlon; Chad Jassman and Arinn Young, wheelchair basketball; Zak Madell, wheelchair rugby; and athletes from the women’s sitting volleyball team Angelena Dolezar, Leanne Muldrew, Jennifer Oakes, Shacarra Orr, Heidi Peters, Tessa Popoff, Amber Skyrpan, and Katelyn Wright.

    The Opening Ceremonies for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games kick off at 4:30pm MST Wednesday September 7, 2016.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    07/09/16

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  • Bo Levi Mitchell is no stranger to fast-paced high-risk sport, and the injuries that can result from them. When injuries happen, return to play is the primary focus. Professional athletes have access to top-of-the-line para medical treatments, but this is not always the case for other high performance athletes. This is where Mitchell has decided to lend his support – to CSI Calgary Next Gen athletes in high risk mountain sports.

    The Calgary Stampeders quarterback joined the elite club of Canadian Football League athletes last year when he received the 2016 Most Outstanding Player award and was recognized as Shaw’s CFL Top Performer for 2016. As part of the program, Mitchell was given $25,000 from Shaw Communications to donate to his charities of choice. Mitchell decided he would like to play a part in helping younger athletes receive pre-injury baseline assessments and post injury treatment. “I know the expertise required to bring an athlete back to their sport after injury and I’d like to be able to help them move forward to pursue their dreams.” Concussion and knee injuries are two of the rehabilitation areas in which he is most interested.

    With football’s potential for acute unforeseeable injuries, Mitchell knows what it takes to fully recover. He has chosen to invest in Next Gen athletes because he sees their aspirations and knows the impact he can make by increasing their access to resources. “I’m mesmerized by the guts and athleticism in these young athletes in sports like Ski Cross, Freestyle, Slopestyle and Alpine skiing,” says Mitchell. “I have a ton of respect for them as I watch their speed and the elements they battle in their sports.”

    “We are so appreciative that Bo Levi has chosen to support these Next Gen athletes in their quest to reach the next level,” says Dale Henwood, CSI Calgary President and CEO. “Injuries can prove to be a costly venture when working towards return to sport. This donation will make a difference.” Some of the services CSI Calgary can provide athletes include baseline testing, physiotherapy, expedited MRIs, concussion tools and proper muscular skeletal assessments.

    Originally from Katy, Texas, Mitchell and his wife have been in Calgary since 2012. Active members in the Calgary community, they are involved with many charitable causes in Calgary and Southern Alberta. True role models, the Mitchells take pride in giving back. Among their initiatives to improve our community, they work with YouthLink, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Police Recreational Youth Mentoring Experience, and Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research. Mitchell also hosts 10-15 kids at every home game through Bo’s QB Club.

    Last November Mitchell was also awarded the Herm Harrison Memorial Award for the second straight year, given to a Calgary Stampeders player who distinguishes himself in the field of community service.

    CSI Calgary thanks Bo Levi Mitchell for his generosity and would also like to congratulate the Mitchell family on the birth of their daughter last week.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Lisa Thomson
    15/03/17

     

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  • Budding athletes dream of the Olympic podium, but from a distance – it’s a long way off. This precious dream is held deep down in their young hearts by the belief that it is possible to one day step up and earn that glorious, coveted medal on the day it matters most. That the prize remains a distant goal is not a concern, in fact it is the great distance that must still be traveled that drives the next generation of Canada’s best.

    It is not just through dreams that Olympic medals are won – it is the end result of years, if not decades, of dogged and meticulous preparation. This preparation begins long before the young athletes reach the elite level, at a time when they are the most malleable, adaptable and willing to learn.

    The CSI Calgary, alongside a network of seven Alberta Sport Development Centres (ASDCs), recognizes this timeframe as an opportunity to help prepare young athletes for the next level. In Alberta, the pathway to the podium is being intentionally and methodically paved, by a joint CSI Calgary-ASDC effort that aims to enable emerging athletes reach their goals. Since 2009, the ASDCs have worked closely with both the CSI Calgary and the Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) of nineteen targeted sports to identify needs and deliver the right services and resources.

    One of the primary goals is to introduce athletes to sport science services at a younger age. By partnering with the CSI Calgary, the ASDCs are able to introduce the kind of philosophy, language and science to the emerging athlete so that when they progress to the next level, it’s not all new. Reid Bilben, Manager of the ASDC in Calgary, says, “Bringing sport science to the forefront of the development pathway is a key factor in preparing the athletes.” He adds, “We are more intentional with what we are doing, we are more targeted and strategic than we have ever been.”

    According to Miranda Sallis, Manager of Performance Services at CSI Calgary, the partnership also aims to extend the CSI Calgary approach to the PSO level. “The goal is to standardize the system by filtering down those best practices, like identifying gaps in an athlete’s performance or implementing the correct testing protocol and how to interpret results. The result is that there is a pathway for them to succeed,” she says.

    Sallis also recognizes the importance of a targeted approach that best serves the athletes. “There are so many layers of influence on a young athlete,” she says, “We are trying to answer the question – ‘What do the athletes actually need?’ We are looking at laying the right foundation instead of just throwing everything at them and hoping something works.” This intentional approach has led to systematic alignment throughout the athlete development pathway.

    The impact of the partnership extends to the five rural ASDCs as well. Scott Fraser, Director of High Performance Sport at Alberta Sport Connection, says, “ASDC is a good opportunity for the clubs to have their athletes have access to sport science.” Additionally, there is a component of knowledge sharing and educating local coaches, which Sallis says “opens their eyes to what is potentially available to them.”

    It’s not just the young athletes that have big dreams, the proponents of this partnership have a dream too. Says Sallis, “In a perfect world, the pathway would lead from the ASDC, to Next Gen to National Team to the Olympic Podium.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    15/06/16

  • 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.

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  • Working with para athletes requires more than just the knowledge of sport specific training and physiology, it demands a special creativity. Tessa Gallinger and Bryan Yu are two CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning Coaches working with para athletes, adapting their training environment where necessary to meet individual requirements.

    Pursuing her MSc., Gallinger is specializing in muscle length changes with sport-specific velocity training in young adults with cerebral palsy. Having worked with adaptive sports for almost six years, she stresses that keeping it simple is paramount to creating adaptive programming.

    “Coaches working with para athletes need to have a good understanding of sport and the type of impairment they are working with, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.” Gallinger explains. “You don’t need fancy equipment, you just have to be creative in applying your knowledge and adapting it to meet individual needs.”

    Yu adds, “There is a lot of thought that goes into making small changes. Coaches need to understand how the impairment affects athlete performance.” He finds training with smaller, diverse groups and developing organic solutions and adjustments is a welcome challenge. “I love the creative element required in adaptive programming – I have to be thinking outside the box.”

    Pro Stergiou, CSI Calgary Biomechanist and Performance Analyst uses technology for the assessment of athletic performances in para sports. Over the years he has worked closely with goalball, para-swimming and sledge hockey. He enjoys working with para athletes and the wide range of adaptations that can be made to fit individual needs. “Working with para athletes is very rewarding,” says Stergiou. “With small changes in either training or technique, you can make big differences.”

    Gallinger, Stergiou and Yu are hosting a workshop in the CSI Calgary on March 25 as part of the 2017 Adapted Physical Activity (APA) Symposium put on by Mount Royal University, The Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement and sponsored by the Alberta Sport Connection.

    This third semi annual Symposium is a unique opportunity for stakeholders involved in sport and recreation for persons with disabilities to meet and share best practices, common challenges and ways to address them. “We are thrilled to have the CSI Calgary expertise for the Symposium,” says David Legg, Professor at Mount Royal University and Chair of the Organizing Committee. “CSI Calgary adds a significant level of knowledge as one of the leading international sport science institutes for Paralympic athletes. Delegates will have unique access to some of the most innovative thinkers in adaptive sports and will have the opportunity to see techniques being implemented up close with Paralympic athletes.”

    What do the CSI specialists want workshop participants to come away with? They want people to understand that training para athletes doesn’t need to be flashy or complex. Working towards a high performance goal, the optimal training program takes into consideration individual requirements and makes as few adaptations to the program as possible.

    For more information on the 2017 Adapted Physical Activity Symposium March 23 – 25 www.apasymposium.com.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Lisa Thomson
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    01/03/17

     

  • Injuries, especially serious ones, can be devastating for athletes. Injuries are unwelcome, difficult and challenge athletes in ways they are not accustomed to – forced rest, recovery, and exercise only aimed at regaining lost capabilities. There is one injury that can be particularly debilitating and disheartening to overcome however, one that can indefinitely suck the life out of an athlete and compromise quality of life: concussion.

    A concussion is a brain injury that occurs when an athlete sustains a blow to the head, neck or any other part of his or her body that transmits an impulsive force to the brain. It results in immediate, myriad and often long-term symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Athletes can also experience slowed reaction times, irritability, confusion or the sensation of being in a ‘fog’.

    Impaired brain function from a concussion clouds many abilities we take for granted – those that athletes depend on for performance – like reaction time, balance, concentration and judgement. The athlete’s ability to make decisions at the time when they so anxiously want to heal and return to sport is compromised. They end up desperate and powerless to answer just one simple question: “When will I feel normal again?”

    Thankfully for concussed athletes, there is world-leading sport concussion expert Dr. Brian Benson, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Sport Medicine at the CSI Calgary. Dr. Benson is passionate about continuously improving the standard of care for concussed athletes. Over the last several years, he and his research team have developed a ground-breaking new protocol for assessing impairment in concussed athletes using a cutting-edge robotic device call the KINARM (Kinesiologic Instrument for Normal and Altered Reaching Movements).

    With support from Own the Podium, WinSport, the CSI Calgary and Hotchkiss Brain institute, the KINARM was developed to provide objective, reliable, accurate and quantifiable measurements of brain function. When an athlete suffers a concussion, post-injury results are compared to previously established baseline testing to determine brain impairment.

    “This technology and the testing we have developed is a game-changer for high performance athletes,” says Benson. “We can accurately and objectively measure things like an athlete’s split-second decision making, visual spatial planning and movement coordination, and compare that to their baseline testing, which can help us determine whether an athlete is fully recovered from a concussion or at risk of further injury.”

    The testing is objective relative to human observation and may reveal additional subtle abnormalities that a clinical examination and cognitive assessment may not. This means that the KINARM can bring clarity and objectivity to the fuzzy zone of concussion recovery. Says Benson, “The testing can help the multidisciplinary management team with tough-decision making when it comes to figuring out when an athlete is ready to return.”

    Jon Kolb, Director of Sport Science, Medicine and Innovation at Own the Podium says the decision to support Dr. Benson’s research and the KINARM was borne out of a need to fill a gap in concussion care. “We did it because the world was void of a valid baseline measurement,” he says. “We felt some responsibility to ensure we have a valid baseline measurement so that when athletes get concussed we can help.”

    With this new tool, Dr. Benson and his team have revolutionized the way that concussions are diagnosed, monitored and managed. This is invaluable to high performance athletes because it offers a clear path to recovery as well as a safeguard against the risk re-injury can have on long-term health. As difficult as the healing process may be to endure, according to Benson, this safeguard is one of the technology’s key advantages. “You can’t fool the machine,” he says.

    This technology is now available to the public through the Benson Concussion Institute and WinSport's new sport concussion program. For more information visit www.winsport.ca.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

  • Sport – is it art or science, or both? There’s no question that in today’s quest for ever higher, faster and stronger athletes, sport has increasingly evolved to rely on science as one of the primary tools for objectively measuring and improving athletic performance.

    When a coach or service provider has an idea for improving performance, such as a new training method or use of a new technology, it can be difficult to determine the impact it has on performance – there are so many variables at play. In the past, new ideas were sometimes implemented and evaluated in the field without much objectivity or scientific basis. Research was also often done in isolation, in academia, far away from the playing field. Today, there is a better way.

    Enter Dr. Erik Groves, Research and Innovation Lead at the CSI Calgary. His job is to evaluate the impact of new methodologies or technologies to support athlete training and recovery that will enhance performance using scientific investigation. “The goal is understanding if and how a new method or technology increases our understanding for athlete improvement,” says Groves.

    Groves works directly with NSO’s, coaches and service providers, and his research is often conducted in real-world settings with athletes in a variety of sports. His background in scientific research and sport makes him ideally suited to fill this cutting-edge role of applied research at the CSI Calgary.

    “What Erik brings is that research mind,” says Rosie Neil, Director of Development and Strategic Programs. “He applies that to evaluate an innovation through research.” That research mind is key when it comes to helping service providers and coaches wade through the waves of new training ideas and technologies that are constantly reaching the shore.

    Groves will take an idea that a coach has, or offer his own ideas, and work to objectively measure and evaluate the impact it has on performance. Adds Neil, “he knows how to collect data so it has the rigour to make a conclusion possible. He’s instrumental in disseminating that data in order to see the bigger picture.”

    In some cases, research is not possible until the right measurement tools are in place. For example, one of Groves’ current projects, funded by Own the Podium, is a new timing system at the Olympic Oval that will track speed skaters’ velocity during training. The data collected from this system will be intrinsically useful but will also offer several new opportunities for further research – research that wasn’t possible before.

    “We are building a technological foundation from which we can do research with sport specific data and testing protocols,” says Groves. “With these tools we have the capability of conducting high quality, sport specific research.”

    Groves’ work however, goes beyond solving one problem for one sport. “This is not just for a single sport,” he says. “By having a point person on the concept of research and innovation you can leverage the process for problem solving for one sport to another sport, it’s a synergistic effect.” This means that some of his research conclusions in one sport may be applicable to other sports, or perhaps the same methodology can be applied to a similar problem in another sport.

    Groves’ position didn’t always exist at the CSI Calgary; in fact, he is the first to fill it. Jason Poole, Director of Performance Services, says that adding the research and innovation role was part of the strategic plan to becoming a leading Canadian Sport Institute. “This is one of the pillars to being a true institute,” he says. “We’re not just there for service delivery but we actively do scientific research for better service.”

    For Neil, the value is not only in improving service delivery, but doing so with scientific precision and integrity. “For the CSI Calgary it is hugely important to have this role. We don’t want to work on hunches but be able to look objectively at how we move forward.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    31/08/16

  • 2016 was a memorable year in the world of sport. The 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games were the major highlight and there were exciting performances in winter sport too – keeping us hungry for more leading into the next Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018.

    Although there were many great stories to choose from, below are a selection of human interest and performance stories coming out of CSI Calgary:

    5. Mike Sametz: Young Upstart Para-cyclist Wins Bronze in Rio

    In a Paralympic sport typically dominated by older athletes in their thirties and even forties, this 20-year old cyclist has risen through the ranks quickly, winning a bronze in the Individual Time Trial at the 2016 Paralympic Games. His first international podium result came at the 2015 ParaPan Am Games with a silver medal, which led to his first ever World Cup medal, a bronze at a 2016 World Cup in Belgium.

    4. Tara Whitten Overcomes All Odds with an Amazing Recovery and Performance in Rio

    After a serious and bizarre crash on her bike during a ride in Rio at a training camp in March, Whitten made a remarkable recovery from a concussion and a broken bone in her neck. Whitten was able to train on an adapted bike, designed and built by a CSI Calgary exercise physiologist allowing her to ride in an upright position to protect her neck. Over a 10-week period Whitten was able to build up her endurance enabling her to compete successfully one week after her brace came off. Several weeks later she dominated the National Championships and qualified for Rio. Whitten placed 7th in the Individual Time Trial – a fantastic result by an athlete who persevered through injury with fierce determination.

    3. Ivanie Blondin: Mass Start Star

    Blondin originally started out in short track speed skating, honing her ability to skate in a pack. This experience has served her well in a new long track speed skating event that is now on the Olympic program – the Mass start. She beat her Dutch rival, Irene Schouten, at the World Single Distance Championships, bringing home the gold medal. Blondin is skating successfully again this fall, with two gold and a silver to date in the ladies Mass start.

    2. Bloeman Wins Prestigious Oscar Mathisen Award

    Transplanted Dutchman, now Canadian, Ted Jan Bloemen has been a boon to the men’s long track speed skating team. In 2015 he broke his former countryman, Sven Kramer’s, longstanding world record in the 10,000m by almost five seconds. For his efforts, Bloemen won the 2016 Oscar Mathisen Award for the most outstanding speed skating performance of the season worldwide. He is the 5th Canadian to win the award in 57 years. Bloemen has continued to lead the men’s distance team, winning silver in the 10,000m and bronze in the Team Pursuit at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships.

    1. Wiebe Wrestles her Heart Out

    One of the most enduring images of a Canadian athlete from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio is that of Erica Wiebe, standing atop the Olympic podium with a gold medal around her neck, singing Oh Canada, tears streaming unabashedly down her face. The gold medal performance by Wiebe was an outstanding example of preparation, execution and confidence. Always one to wear her heart on her sleeve, Wiebe’s performance was dominating and inspiring.

    Other Noteworthy Stories from the CSI Calgary:

    Rio Olympic and Paralympic Performances: Medals won by CSI Calgary supported athletes include Allison Beveridge, Stefan Daniel, Jennifer Kish, Stephanie Labbe, Kirsti Lay, Alister McQueen, Mike Sametz and Ashley Steacy

    Comeback from Injury: Two notable athletes that are making a comeback for the 2016-2017 winter season are alpine skier Dustin Cook, who tore his ACL/MCL in 2015 and speed skater Denny Morrison, who narrowly survived a motorcycle crash in 2015 and a stroke in 2016.

    Talent Transfer: Kate O’Brien and Kirsti Lay both transferred into cycling from other sports, both qualified for Rio Summer Olympics with Kirsti winning a Bronze medal in the Team Pursuit.

    Luge Podium Sweep: Alex Gough and Kim McRae won Silver and Bronze at Lake Placid World Cup, followed up by Gold in the Team Relay.

    Historic Biathlon Bronze: The men’s Biathlon team won Canada’s first ever World Championship Relay medal in the heartland of the sport in Oslo, Norway.

    Assistant Chef de Mission: Carol Huynh, CSI Calgary Next Gen Wrestling Coach and 2008 Olympic Champion, joined Team Canada in Rio as an Assistant Chef de Mission.

    CBC All Stars: Six CSI Calgary alumni were broadcasters in Rio: Blythe Hartley, Clara Hughes, Kyle Shewfelt, Mike Smith, Mark Tewksbury and Kelly VanderBeek.

    Humphries’ Podium Streak Continues: Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz won Silver at the Bobsleigh World Championships.

    New Bobsleigh Star: Cynthia Appiah set a bobsleigh start record at her first ever World Cup with new partner Kaillie Humphries.

    New at the CSI Calgary in 2016

    Game Plan Networking Events: CSI Calgary held two Game Plan networking events, at Crescent Point Energy with more than 75 current and alumni athletes attending each event.

    Sharing Knowledge: 15 CSI Calgary professionals presented at the 2016 OTP SPIN Conference.

    Concussion Research: Launch of the KINARM robot, research by Dr. Brian Benson, CSI Calgary’s Director of Sport Medicine, supported by CSI Calgary, OTP, WinSport, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Mitacs Acelerate-OTP post-doctorate scholar research award for Dr. Tara Whitten.

    Education: Strength and Power Performance Course delivered in May.

    Coaching Support: CSI Calgary became a regional hub for coaching delivery with a new D2L platform.

    New Lead: Tanya Dubnicoff, one of the most decorated cyclists in Canadian history joined CSI Calgary in January 2016 as CSI Calgary Cycling, Athlete Development Lead.

    Recognition: CSI Calgary staff recognized for their achievements – Phil Abbott wins a Petro Canada Coaching Excellence Award for work with Paralympic cyclist Mike Sametz; Kelly Ann Erdman, February 2016 position paper titled ‘Nutrition and Athletic Performance: Position of Dietitians of Canada’, published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine.

    Practicum and Internship: CSI Calgary supported 13 practicum students and one internship position, working to integrate CSI Calgary knowledge and experience, teaching students, coaches and sport science professionals in the fields of Strength and Conditioning, Sport Science, Biomechanics and Nutrition, to help put Canadians on the podium.

    Technology: CSI Calgary launched Edge 10, a web-based platform to capture, monitor and store daily training environment and para medical information. Users include NSFs, athletes, coaches and Service Providers.

    New Programs: NextGen programs for Ski Cross, Freestyle Park and Pipe.

    Partnerships: ASDC & CSI Calgary partnered to support a new Para Sport Training Program.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    16/12/16

  • The impact that a coach can have on an athlete is profound. From nurturing development to guiding performance to fostering success – the coach is integral to the athlete experience and undoubtedly has the greatest influence on an athlete’s career. Ensuring that the experience remains positive and encouraging is an enormous responsibility for any coach.

    This responsibility has recently been bolstered by a new initiative coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a system-wide movement designed to address the role coaches play with issues relating to the health and safety of athletes, both on and off the field of play.

    National, provincial, territorial and community sport organizations are encouraged to sign the pledge and adopt new policies to ensure the impact of coaches is a positive one for athletes and for Canadian sport. The CSI Calgary has recently become the first multi-sport organization in Canada to sign on to the RCM.

    By making the pledge, the CSI Calgary has committed to implementing supportive policies and processes that adhere to the three key areas of focus: the Rule of Two, Background Screening (including Criminal Record Checks) and Respect and Ethics Training. The Rule of Two ensures that two adults are present at competitions and training camps with minor athletes, which serves to protect minor athletes in potentially vulnerable situations.

    For Dale Henwood, President and CEO of the CSI Calgary, the RCM represents an opportunity for the institute and its coaches to uphold the highest standard of care for its athletes. “The RCM helps coaching as a profession, to ensure that we have good quality, ethical people working with our athletes,” says Henwood.

    The CSI Calgary has always worked towards providing a motivating encouraging and enjoyable environment for the athletes. Henwood says that the coach is an essential part of helping to create that. “We want to ensure that athletes are safe and that coaches are protected,” says Jason Sjostrom, CSI Calgary Coaching Program Director. “The CSI Calgary has a responsibility to support these policies.” Additionally, the RCM can increase awareness for all staff and volunteers involved in sport. According to Sjostrom, “when there are violations you have a vehicle to say ‘this isn’t right’. This RCM demands that accountability.”

    To date, the RCM has had great success, with more than forty NSOs, P/TSOs, and community clubs taking the pledge. Luge Canada was one of the first NSOs to take the pledge and nine others have since joined as well. The long-term goal is to see all NSOs take the pledge.

    Ultimately, the RCM is about providing a positive sport experience for athletes of all ages, from grassroots and community programs right up to high performance elite sport. Henwood says that from the beginning the CSI Calgary has worked to make sure coaches are having a positive impact on their athletes.

    Simply put, the RCM speaks to the heart of what is good and right. For Henwood, the decision to sign the pledge was easy. “When we went to the CSI Calgary board with this, it was strongly felt it was the right thing to do.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    29/03/17

  • A needle in a haystack meets a diamond in the rough – so hopes the innovative RBC Training Ground campaign that is currently gaining momentum across the country. Now in its second year, the unique athlete recruitment program is searching far and wide for Canada’s next great Olympian. Who will it be?

    The search is on at 25 local qualifying events and five regional finals throughout Canada. The program is open to athletes aged 14-25, targeting both young athletes that are talented in their sport as well as older athletes with untapped potential to transfer to a new sport. Sports like bobsleigh, rowing and athletics are filled with explosive athletes who come to these sports later in life – and RBC Training Ground knows there are hidden stars waiting to be found.

    Athletes are evaluated on their speed, power, strength and endurance through several different tests. They are also aiming to achieve performance benchmarks set by National Sport Organizations (NSOs) scouting for talented athletes with Olympic medal potential.

    RBC has partnered with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Olympic Foundation (COF), CBC Sports and the Canadian Olympic Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSIN) to run the program.

    In Alberta, CSI Calgary has been engaged to plan the local qualifiers at five Alberta Sport Development Centres (ASDC) and the regional finals at CSI Calgary. Miranda Sallis, Manager of Performance Services at CSI Calgary, is responsible for planning and managing the events and is also sending CSI Calgary physiology staff to help evaluate the athletes. “It’s a truly collaborative effort that requires a lot of coordination between the partners,” she says.

    Wendy Moar, ASDC NW Coordinator in Grande Prairie, is thrilled to host a local qualifier. “We are very excited to host the event and be a part of it,” says Moar. “It’s a huge role that our centre can fill – a big part of our purpose and mandate is specializing in providing sport science services that help athletes get to the next level and the RBC Training Ground Program aligns very well with that goal.”

    One athlete looking for a break is Jamie Strauss, a fifth-year volleyball player at Grande Prairie Regional College. Strauss, 23, is looking to make use of her athletic talents to make the jump from volleyball to a new sport like rowing. “I think it’s an amazing opportunity for athletes like me,” she says. “I’m excited to go out and see what I can do.”

    Up to 50 athletes from across the country could receive additional funding, mentorship and support from RBC and the COF to fuel their passion and Olympic dreams. The top performer from each RBC Training Ground regional final will also receive the ultimate Olympic experience – a trip to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

    Being discovered is a thrilling prospect for any athlete, but more importantly what the RBC Training Ground program offers is another avenue within the sport system for them to reach their goals. “I see it as an opportunity for an athlete to work towards and make it their goal to be a part of the program,” says Moar. “It opens up a lot of opportunities.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    01/02/17

  • The once mighty stopwatch, in its heyday a technological marvel capable of measuring and recording time for any number of purposes, especially sport, has finally met its match. The development of a new timing system at the Olympic Oval has made the use of stopwatches by speed skating coaches during training a thing of the past.

    The joint project between CSI Calgary and the Olympic Oval was funded by Own the Podium’s I4G (Innovation for Gold) program and the Olympic Oval and serves to address a major gap in measuring how a skater’s time is impacted by the way they skate. Using hardware technology developed for motor sport racing and a proprietary software program developed by Olympic Oval IT Specialist, John Little, the system provides a detailed measurement of a skater’s performance.

    “In the past we only knew that one athlete was slower than another athlete, but we didn’t always know how,” says Scott Maw, CSI Calgary Sport Science Lead for Speed Skating. “The timing system enables us to identify where on the track a skater is losing time relative to another skater.”

    During training, a skater wears a chip on each ankle, which sends a timing impulse to a master clock every time a wire embedded in the ice is crossed. The system records and calculates the times and velocities for 16 segments around the track, offering a more refined picture of skating speed during each lap.

    The system provides real-time streaming data to coaches and staff for athlete's lap times, current velocity, current position on the track, corner lane identification, set duration and total training time, all on a customizable mobile phone or tablet interface. A coach can have all their active athletes displayed simultaneously on a single screen.

    For speed skating coach Crispin Parkinson, the new system has made a big difference. “It frees me up to coach more, instead of managing the practice,” he says. “I don’t have to schedule when everyone should do their specific intervals, which means I can get more done in a session. It’s a more effective use of time.”

    Dr. Erik Groves, Research and Innovation Lead at CSI Calgary, spearheaded the project. He says that with the data collected so far they have barely scratched the surface of the system’s potential. “Eventually we'll be able to get daily, weekly, monthly and yearly training breakdowns of distance skated, speed distribution, sets, and reps,” he explains. “We'll also be able to use the system for physiological testing and race analysis.”

    Parkinson says it adds another layer to the information he can share with his skaters. “A skater might not always feel what I’m telling them about their skating but the data can illustrate this and provide feedback to the athlete in a different way they might understand better.”

    Unfortunately, the sad demise of the humble stopwatch was inevitable – the speed skating world has moved on to bigger and better things that ultimately make the sport better. “It’s a useful tool which has helped me a lot and makes my job easier,” says Parkinson. “I do less management and more coaching.”

    Interesting stats from 2016-2017 season:

    • Total recorded kilometers skated: 92,551

    • Velocity segments recorded: ~3,855,700

    • Most frequently skated lap time in seconds: 35-36

    • Most kilometers skated by an athlete in a day: 51.6

     

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
    26/04/17

  • (left to right:  Rachael Anderson, Emma Stevens, Rachael Karker)

    “The Olympics are the ultimate dream.” So says young Canadian Slopestyle skier Max Moffat. The NextGen team member moved west to Calgary from Caledon, Ontario two years ago to train at what he says is the best halfpipe facility in Canada, located at WinSport. Given that that the slopestyle ski event was only added to the Olympic program in 2014, the ultimate dream has evolved at a record pace.


    Freestyle Canada has moved quickly to keep up, establishing development programs like the NextGen team. The goal is to foster a highly professional training environment for its best young athletes to grow into future Olympic champions. The ‘Park & Pipe’ team, as it is known, is comprised of Slopestyle and Halfpipe athletes identified as having high medal potential in 2022.

    The program was established through a collaborative partnership between Freestyle Canada, the CSI Calgary, WinSport and Own the Podium (OTP). The program operates under a camp-based model where the athletes come together in one location frequently throughout the year for intense training camps.

    “We’re here because of the facilities,” says Freestyle Canada’s Director of High Performance Athlete Programs, Julie Stegall. “The half-pipe is the best in the country and is maintained at World Cup standards. Freestyle Canada and WinSport have put a lot of resources into that pipe.”

    The CSI Calgary recognizes the importance of establishing a high standard of care and professionalism for the team. “We really worked hard to treat them like a National Team,” explains Miranda Sallis, Manager of Performance Services. “Before the team started training at CSI Calgary there was a high injury rate so things like physiotherapy have been a huge focus so far,” she adds.

    With their sights set on the Olympics in 2022, Stegall says the level of professionalism among the athletes and coaches is impressive. “The athletes are ready for this kind of support,” she says. “We knew this was coming and we have a strong group. Things are brewing in the pipe.”

    For Moffat, 18, the chance to train alongside athletes from different sports has been an eye-opening and inspiring experience. “At first it was funny to see how the other athletes train. I’d be in the gym and look over at the bobsledders running down the track dragging weights behind them,” he recalls, laughing. “At first it was a bit intimidating, like ‘I don’t deserve to be here’, but now it’s really motivating to train alongside those guys.”

    Stegall says the NextGen athletes are extremely thankful for their new training facilities. “Every time they walk into the CSI Calgary they feel special and are so appreciative of the opportunity.”

    Moffatt says he’s ‘stoked’ to be a part of this team and that it doesn’t get any better than where he is now. “The hill is awesome. The Halfpipe and Slopestyle setup is amazing. We have everything we need in one spot.”

    The NextGen Freestyle athletes are vying for Canada's coveted World Cup spots to prove they have what it takes to make it on the world stage.

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
    07/12/16

  •  

  • When the last shot is taken, the last finish line is crossed or the final race is won, athletes have to create new lives for themselves. For some this task comes easily, for others it can be an exercise in despair. Fortunately, with Game Plan, powered by Deloitte, there is now a wealth of resources available to retiring athletes to help them take those first few, sometimes difficult, steps.

    However, even though Game Plan is there and ready for the taking, athletes don’t always know about it or have time to engage with the services offered prior to retirement. So, Elise Marcotte, Marketing and Communications Manager for Game Plan, developed a new pilot project to help bridge the gap between athletes and Game Plan.

    The idea is to recruit Champions who will act as role models within the Game Plan community by sharing their experience and positively influencing their peers with tangible actions of their own choice. The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the program beyond Game Plan’s current audience through social media.

    Six Champions were selected from across Canada, including Monique Sullivan, 2012 & 2016 Olympian in track cycling, who is the Game Plan Champion at CSI Calgary. Her plan is to reach out to newly carded athletes and support or encourage activities outside of sport that will ultimately helped them when they retire.

    Sullivan says she recognizes that not all athletes feel supported in their desire to pursue things outside of sport, like education or work opportunities. “I always had a couple of things outside of sport to keep me balanced while I was competing,” she says. “I want to be the voice for those athletes wishing to do the same.”

    The pilot program runs from May 1 to July 31 and Marcotte says that each Champion has a different project that will be monitored to ensure they are implemented and then measured for impact. The goal of the program is to involve the athletes and encourage word-of-mouth to engage athletes with what Game Plan offers.

    For most athletes, the thought of retirement or pursuing extracurricular activities is completely foreign and Sullivan says Game Plan tends to be one of those things you don’t realize you need until it’s too late. “Sport is pretty full-on and some athletes aren’t able to take on anything else or don’t need to,” she says. “But when sport is suddenly gone you have no idea how you’ll react to that.”

    Sullivan says her transition out of sport has gone well – she’ll begin graduate work this fall in the new field of engineering education and is currently working full-time in community outreach for the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary, where she recruits women into engineering.

    She credits her commitment to education while competing, using Game Plan and the relationship she has with CSI Calgary-based Game Plan Advisor, Cara Button, with helping her find her way in a post-sport world. Now as a Game Plan Champion she wants to help others do the same. She sums it up well: “It’s all about planning for the unknown.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    07/06/17

  •  

  • “The clock is ticking but there is no time for regrets.” These lyrics, from ‘Heroes Tonight’ by Janji, float softly alongside video highlights from the 2016 Paralympics, as current and alumni CSI Calgary athletes look on. The CBC montage prompts goosebumps throughout the audience, and maybe a little fear – or is that inspiration?

    The message is a poignant one for these athletes, who came together – along with esteemed members of Calgary’s workforce – for the CSI Calgary’s second industry networking event in downtown Calgary to learn about how they can best navigate the next phase of their lives. Indeed, the clock is ticking and there is no time for regrets.

    The goal of these CSI Calgary events is to provide networking opportunities for athletes and facilitate conversation about the challenging transition from athlete to new career. One athlete who committed to a profession very early in his athletic career is Seyi Smith, a 2012 Olympian and an electrical engineer.

    Smith shared stories about his career path – a long and sometimes humourous journey that eventually led to a job as an engineer-in-training and now project manager at AltaLink, Alberta’s largest regulated electricity transmission company.

    One might assume that it was easy for an Olympian with an electrical engineering degree to find a job, but Smith met endless dead ends before finally landing his dream job at AltaLink. The story is not uncommon – Olympic athletes often have a difficult time finding a job, despite constantly being told they have the attributes that employers are looking for.

    Smith earned his degree overseas and was worried when he came back home that it would become obsolete before he could find work, while he took time to train for the Olympics. “I started networking but I couldn’t seem to get a job. After a while I stopped fearing obsolescence and worried more about not having any skills,” he says.

    Scott Thon, President and CEO of AltaLink, hired Smith after a series of networking meetings. He is up front about telling athletes why they are so valuable as employees. “The one secret you need to know” he says, “we all dreamed of being you guys. We all wanted to be Olympians.” A comment made in jest, but one that elucidates how strongly athlete traits are admired and sought after in business.

    Thon lists those traits he values most – team player, strong work ethic, goal-oriented, resilient. He also admires how coachable athletes are, how willing they are to receive feedback and work to improve. Smith agrees, “athletes always want to get better, it’s how they win.”

    Throughout the evening the group of athletes worked together to answer some pressing questions. What are challenges/opportunities to hiring athletes who need a flexible work schedule? What are the top three things athletes should be doing to prepare for their next job? What are concrete examples of transferable skills?

    There are no easy answers but one theme emerged: the simple, essential need to take action, in whatever capacity an athlete is able to, towards the career they envision. Thon emphasizes the importance of building a network and putting yourself out there. “If you’re thinking about that career, market yourself – what are those attributes and who do you want to market them to?”

    A sense of possibility abounds. In the end, the crucial message that resonates is the same as in sport – do the work and you will see results, eventually.

    A second CBC highlight reel closes out the evening – this one from the 2016 Summer Olympics. As clips of Erica Wiebe, Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse induce more goosebumps, the Tragically Hip tell us in song: we are ahead by a century. Sometimes it’s hard to feel this way, given what was learned this night about the long road ahead.

    Transition can be overwhelming, but just as athletes persevere and struggle in sport, so too will they do so in life. Despite the challenges that await, we are told by the great Gord Downie himself, “you are ahead by a century... no dress rehearsal, this is our life.”

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
    12/10/16

  •  

  • One year before Chandra Crawford's legendary success as an Olympic Cross-Country Skiing Gold Medalist, she came to a realization: "We have to do something to keep girls in sports." She had witnessed first-hand the plethora of talented girls that had stopped participating in sports because they felt pressure to conform to more traditionally feminine pursuits. It was with that in mind that Crawford, along with local sport organizations and her teammates, created the Fast and Female program, who's mission today is: "Deliver programs that keep girls healthy, happy and active in sports through their teens." One year later, Crawford became an Olympic Champion and her ability to "connect that young age group to the red and white dream" gained unfathomable steam.

    As a Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC) athlete for her 14 years on the Canadian National Cross-Country Ski Team, Crawford knows what it takes for females to succeed in sports. She credits much of her own success in high performance sport to the work of the CSIC and its employees, such as exercise physiologist Jodi Hawley who "worked with my team from before I won my Olympic gold until my last Olympics in Sochi. Jodi would measure my physiological parameters, but also dismantle a potential psychological melt down if I had a bad test by taking a moment to connect with me. I was so grateful to always have her."

    Saturday, November 1 marked a big step in the direction of creating a measurable impact on female athletes, when Crawford hosted the first Fast and Female Summit at the WinSport and Canadian Sport Institute facilities at Canada Olympic Park. The program's most diverse event since its inception in 2005, the Summit was extremely successful. It was "our biggest event in Canada in terms of most athletes, parents, and volunteers," with 20 different sports represented, and the highest caliber of speakers for the parent/coach seminar.

    The line-up of speakers included Canadian Sport Institute Mental Performance Consultant Clare Fewster, along with Shawnee Harle, and Stephen and Lea Norris. Knowing the time and energy that high performance support staff members put into athletes' careers, it is especially significant to Crawford when "people like Clare, of that high caliber, spend time on their Saturday to come and talk about girls in sports. They really care and we really appreciate that. The CSIC's entire staff has been so supportive of Fast and Female. It is really fun to share our dream together of more female sport participation."

    Crawford notes, however, that through all of the amazing lessons taught at the Summit, the most inspirational moment came from an unplanned experience. "I took all of the girls and we were allowed to work out in the high performance gym. They have a sign on the wall that says, 'Stay Humble. Be Hungry.' We had 120 girls, all under the age of 16, go into the gym and get to walk through the CSI athlete lounge. We walked them into the CSI and said, 'Imagine being an athlete who gets to use this facility. This is the last time you get to work out in here until you are an Olympian.' It was all so motivating for them – they were envisioning what it would be like being an Olympian in that environment."

    Currently working on her MBA at the Haskayne School of Business, Crawford aims to continue expanding Fast and Female along with the help of the organization's other part-time employee, Marie-Helene Thibeault. With the direction that things have been going over the past nine years, and the enthusiasm that has been generated within the female sports community, the future of women's sports in Canada is looking bright.

    Be sure to visit www.fastandfemale.com to find out how your organization can host a Fast and Female event and keep girls in sports!

    Stay in the loop!

    Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
    Writer Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
    Photo Credit: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
    Fast and Female: @FastandFemale, www.fastandfemale.com
    Chandra Crawford: @ChandraCrawford

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