2015 Year in Review

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

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


Cowntdown of the Top 5 CSI Calgary performances from 2015 

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

#4  NeCanadiaTakes SpeeSkatinTeatUnprecedented Level

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LimitsPushed 2015


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


Better People Better Athletes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Lisa Thomson



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

De meilleures personnes, de meilleurs athlètes

Les athlètes de haut niveau sont reconnus pour leur intense détermination et leur dévouement à toute épreuve à l’égard de leur carrière sportive. Dans leur quête de performances dignes du podium, les athlètes complets voient plus loin que leurs objectifs sportifs immédiats et cherchent à équilibrer leurs vies ainsi qu’à planifier leur avenir. L’ICS Calgary fait la promotion de ce développement holistique des athlètes comme principale philosophie depuis sa fondation. Au fil des ans, cette culture a été encouragée et est omniprésente au sein de la communauté d’anciens athlètes.

L’ICS Calgary comprend que s’occuper de « la vie à l’extérieur et au-delà du sport » constitue un facteur de performance critique et offre donc des programmes spécialisés tout en mettant à la disposition des athlètes des employés qui les appuient dans un vaste éventail de domaines. Récemment, le programme national normalisé Plan de match a haussé de manière importante le contenu et la qualité des services offerts.

L’ICS Calgary croit fermement que les athlètes qui sont prêts et confiants en dehors du terrain de jeu, en plus d’être préparés pour la performance et pour la vie en général, performent mieux. « Notre objectif est de préparer les athlètes à être des citoyens responsables, confiants, autonomes et collaboratifs qui s’engagent dans la communauté et redonnent », explique Dale Henwood, président et directeur. « En faire de meilleures personnes contribue à en faire de meilleurs athlètes. Le soutien publique et la connexion au sport sont accrus si nous avons de bonnes personnes pour représenter notre pays. » M. Henwood est grandement responsable de la promotion de cette philosophie depuis plus de deux décennies.

Brad Spence, deux fois olympien et ancien de l’ICS Calgary est un exemple d’athlète qui redonne à la communauté. Ayant pris sa retraite après les Jeux olympiques d’hiver de Sotchi en 2014, Brad a décidé de redonner à la communauté en créant un organisme sans but lucratif, formant un conseil d’administration auquel siège un ancien de l’ICS Calgary, Jeff Christie. Anciennement Helmets for Heroes, la nouvelle fondation Creative Impact vise à sensibiliser les gens quant aux commotions cérébrales et à les renseigner afin de minimiser le risque de traumatismes crâniens. Jusqu’ici, ils ont mené à terme 14 projets auxquels ont participé des athlètes liés à l’ICS Calgary.

« En tant qu’athlète, j’estime que j’ai le devoir de redonner », affirme Brad. « Je n’aurais pas pu poursuivre mes rêves et je ne serais pas là où je suis sans l’apport de la collectivité ». Brad est l’un des nombreux athlètes et anciens de l’ICS Calgary qui s’appuient sur les leçons apprises et sur leur réussite sportive pour faire de notre ville un meilleur endroit où vivre. Que ce soit en consacrant une partie de leur temps et de leur énergie à siéger à des conseils d’administration d’organismes sans but lucratif, en contribuant à des fondations existantes ou en créant leur propre fondation, ces athlètes ont adopté le concept de redonner à leur communauté et de servir de modèles positifs.

De nombreuses organisations sont solidement liées à l’ICS Calgary. Voici des exemples d’athlètes qui dirigent le développement de programmes communautaires locaux : Fast & Female (Chandra Crawford), KidSport (Kathy Salmon), Right to Play (Clara Hughes), Ski Fit North (Becky Scott) et Wickfest (Hayley Wickenheiser).

« C’est tellement encourageant de voir le nombre d’athlètes et d’anciens de l’ICS Calgary qui consacrent leur temps à différentes initiatives communautaires », souligne Cara Button, directrice des relations avec les intervenants et administratrice du programme Plan de match. « Voir ce que les athlètes font nous encourage à continuer. »

Plan de match est un programme de calibre mondial en cours d’élaboration qui vise à aider les athlètes membres des équipes nationales à améliorer leurs conditions de vie durant leur carrière sportive de haut niveau, et après celle-ci. Le Réseau des instituts de sport olympique et paralympique du Canada (Réseau ISOP), appuyé par le Comité olympique canadien (COC), le Comité paralympique canadien (CPC) et Sport Canada, offre ce programme parrainé par Deloitte dans tout le pays.

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Lisa Thomson


La recherche des prochains médaillés olympiques est lancée

Le programme novateur du Camp des recrues RBC vise à trouver la perle rare et prend actuellement de l’ampleur partout au pays. Depuis maintenant deux ans, le programme unique de recrutement d’athlètes cherche partout le prochain grand athlète olympique canadien. Qui cela sera-t-il?

La recherche des prochains médaillés olympiques est lancée avec 25 épreuves de qualification locales et cinq épreuves finales régionales dans tout le pays. Le programme est ouvert aux athlètes âgés de 14 à 25 ans et cible à la fois les jeunes athlètes doués dans leur sport et les athlètes plus âgés avec un potentiel inexploité pour un autre sport. Des sports comme le bobsleigh, l’aviron et l’athlétisme sont prisés par des athlètes fougueux qui s’intéressent à ces sports lorsqu’ils sont plus âgés; le Camp des recrues RBC sait que des étoiles cachées attendent qu’on les découvre.

La vitesse, la puissance, la force et l’endurance des athlètes sont évaluées grâce à plusieurs tests. Les athlètes visent aussi à atteindre des étalons de performance élaborés par les organismes nationaux de sport (ONS) qui cherchent à dénicher des athlètes talentueux avec le potentiel de remporter une médaille olympique.

La RBC s’est associée au Comité olympique canadien (COC), à la Fondation olympique canadienne, à CBC Sports et au réseau des instituts du sport olympique et paralympique du Canada (RISOP) pour mettre en œuvre le programme.

En Alberta, l’ICS Calgary a été engagée pour planifier les épreuves de qualification locales dans cinq Alberta Sport Development Centre ainsi que les épreuves finales régionales à l’ICS Calgary. Miranda Sallis, directrice des services de performance à l’ICS Calgary, est responsable de la planification et de la gestion des épreuves; elle envoie aussi des spécialistes en physiologie de l’ICS Calgary aider à évaluer les athlètes. « Il s’agit vraiment d’efforts collaboratifs qui nécessitent beaucoup de coordination entre les partenaires », dit-elle.

Wendy Moar, coordinatrice du Alberta Sport Development Centre Northwest de Grande Prairie, est ravie d’organiser des épreuves de qualification locales. « Nous sommes emballés à l’idée d’organiser les épreuves et d’y participer, dit Mme Moar. Il s’agit d’un rôle important que notre centre peut jouer. Notre objectif et notre mandat consistent majoritairement à se spécialiser dans la prestation de services de sciences du sport qui aident les athlètes à passer au niveau supérieur; le programme du Camp des recrues RBC correspond parfaitement à cet objectif. »

Jamie Strauss fait partie des athlètes qui cherchent à percer; c’est une joueuse de volleyball de cinquième année au collège régional de Grande Prairie. Jamie, 23 ans, veut utiliser ses talents sportifs pour passer du volleyball à un nouveau sport, comme l’aviron. « Je pense que c’est une formidable occasion pour des athlètes comme moi, dit-elle. Je suis impatiente de participer et de voir ce dont je suis capable. »

Jusqu’à 50 athlètes de tout le pays pourraient bénéficier de financement, de mentorat et de soutien supplémentaires de la part de la RBC et de la Fondation olympique canadienne pour alimenter leur passion et leurs rêves olympiques. Le meilleur athlète de chaque épreuve finale régionale du Camp des recrues RBC vivra aussi une expérience olympique merveilleuse : un voyage aux Jeux olympiques d’hiver de 2018 à Pyeongchang en Corée du Sud.

Être découvert constitue une perspective excitante pour n’importe quel athlète, mais ce que le Camp des recrues RBC offre surtout est un autre moyen pour les athlètes d’atteindre leurs objectifs. « Je le vois comme une chance pour un athlète, qui fera tout son possible pour participer au programme, affirme Mme Moar. Celui-ci offre de nombreuses possibilités. »

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


Onwards and Upwards with the Smith School of Business

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Combine education with the qualities gained in high-performance sport and the result is no doubt a profound capacity to achieve great success in life, and even change the world.

Facilitating the acquisition of a world-class education is an eight-year partnership established in 2015 between the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

The program is offered through Game Plan, powered by Deloitte, Canada’s total athlete wellness program, where eligible athletes (Olympians, Paralympians and National Team Athletes) can apply for scholarships to pursue a number of programs at Smith, including an MBA. Several CSI Calgary athletes have earned full ride scholarships at Smith through the program, like Nathaniel Miller (water polo) and Jessica Zelinka (athletics).

Elspeth Murray, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of MBA and Masters Programs at the Smith School of Business, says the partnership provides a great opportunity for the COC and Smith to add value to each other’s organizations.

“Both the COC and Smith share a high-performance coaching culture,” she explains. “Each partner brings a unique and highly successful approach to coaching to the partnership, sharing best practices through workshops and networking.”

Long Track speed skater Lauren McGuire is transitioning out of a lifetime in high-performance sport and is one of the latest CSI Calgary athletes to be awarded a scholarship at the Smith School of Business via the Game Plan program, along with ski jumper Eric Mitchell, who won a scholarship to the Accelerated MBA program.

After two frustrating years of dealing with a herniated disc in her back, McGuire realized she needed to explore her options outside of sport. She learned about the Game Plan scholarships at Smith through CSI Calgary and her curiosity was piqued.

McGuire, who has an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences and Italian from the University of Calgary, will begin the one-year MBA program in January.

Although she had never really considered pursuing an MBA – she initially wanted to pursue either medicine or dentistry – it was an experience working as a national team mentor for girls aged 8-15 in winter sport through the Girls Only Athletic Leadership program at WinSport that made her realize she was passionate about mentorship and helping others achieve their potential.

“It was super empowering to help these girls pursue sport, whether they were athletic or not,” affirms McGuire. She says the experience changed the direction she wanted to take. “I realized I wasn’t going to get this feeling doing surgery in people’s mouths,” she laughs.

McGuire credits her commitment to taking full advantage of the life skills workshops available to CSI Calgary athletes (like public speaking and self-marketing) with building her skillset with skills that programs like the MBA at Smith are looking for. “A small investment of time over the years accumulated to a very strong resumé,” says McGuire. “They were looking for people with my skills and everything lined up.”

Murray says that high-level athletes possess many of the characteristics that Smith looks for in students. “They have skills in leadership, determination, collaboration, resilience,” she says. “We also know that these athletes will thrive in our team-based approach to learning. They “get” how to contribute to a high-performance team and have and will continue to be an asset to all our programs.”

McGuire is most interested in the field of organizational development and enhancing team environments in business and human resources. She says is looking forward to working with like-minded students in the MBA program. “I’m thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to step from one great team to another great team,” she says.

As part of the eight-year strategic partnership, up to 1,200 Game Plan athletes are eligible for scholarships across 11 different programs. In the two years since the partnership was announced, 11 Canadian athletes have joined the Smith alumni family. Another 49 are currently enrolled in graduate programs.

Scholarships cover all program fees associated with the full-time Queen’s MBA program, Accelerated MBA, Executive MBA, Executive MBA Americas, Master of Management Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Master of Finance – Toronto, Master of International Business, Master of Management Analytics, Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence, Graduate Diploma in Business, Certificate in Business and Executive Education offerings.

Applications can be made through Game Plan, https://www.mygameplan.ca/resources/education. * Not all applicants receive a scholarship

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Regard de talent

Dave Holland a laissé son emploi dans l’industrie pétrolière et gazière lorsqu’une occasion, trop belle pour qu’il la laisse passer, s’est présentée de s’adonner à temps plein à sa passion pour la photographie d’événements olympiques. Après des années passées à prendre des clichés sportifs dans ses temps libres, ce photographe autodidacte s’est rendu aux Jeux olympiques de Sotchi en 2014 pour le compte de la revue SportsNet.

Passionné par les sports olympiques et la prise de photos, M. Holland s’est imposé depuis comme le photographe de choix pour l’ICS Calgary, WinSport, et maintenant le Comité olympique canadien (COC). Les choses n’ont pas toujours été faciles : ses deux premières demandes d'accréditation de média auprès du COC pour se rendre aux Jeux olympiques ont été refusées. Son inébranlable persévérance et la grande qualité de son travail ont heureusement commencé à porter leurs fruits.

En tant que photographe à l’interne de l’ICS Calgary, M. Holland peut réaliser des clichés d’événements et d’athlètes inaccessibles à beaucoup de ses pairs. La possibilité de raconter l’histoire de l’athlète au-delà du jour de la compétition lui-même est l’un des éléments qui distinguent son travail de celui des autres. « Je vois ce que tout le monde fait, explique-t-il. J’essaie de capturer le processus sous-jacent, un point de vue différent. Il y a tant de photos qu’on a vues des centaines de fois. J’aime montrer les athlètes sous un nouveau jour. »

Pigiste sans affiliation à une agence traditionnelle, M. Holland est libre d’innover, et il a finalement reçu son accréditation de média du COC pour se rendre aux Jeux olympiques et paralympiques de 2018 à Pyeongchang. Il ressent une satisfaction profonde d’être le premier photographe accrédité ne dépendant pas d’un organe de presse. « Je suis le seul photographe à temps plein au pays qui couvre exclusivement les athlètes olympiques et paralympiques. »

Même s’il travaille maintenant « trois fois plus pour trois fois moins qu’avant », M. Holland affirme qu’il ne reviendrait jamais en arrière. « Je fais ce travail parce que j’aime ça », jure-t-il. Dave Holland fait partie des rares heureux qui ont trouvé leur vocation et peuvent la suivre.

Il est motivé par un désir profond de mettre en vedette les meilleurs athlètes olympiques et paralympiques canadiens, qu’il juge très ignorés. « Je travaille avec les athlètes tous les jours et je trouve qu’ils sont vraiment mal desservis par les médias », confie-t-il. L’accès à des photos de compétition de qualité est très difficile pour ceux qui recherchent des images afin de se vendre. « Un athlète m’a déjà révélé qu’une agence lui avait demandé 800 $ pour une photo des jeux de Sotchi », se rappelle-t-il.

Ce problème l’a poussé à créer www.csicalgaryphotos.ca, une collection de photos importante et complète. Elle donne aux médias grand public un accès à des images qu’ils ne pourraient se procurer ailleurs. Il y a en ce moment environ 10 000 images sur le site. « Je fais connaître les athlètes, je leur donne l’attention et la visibilité qu’ils méritent », estime-t-il.

Selon M. Holland, il faut trois choses pour réaliser un bon cliché : de l’action, un éclairage adéquat et un arrière-plan dégagé. Il faut établir avec la personne qui regarde la photo un lien fort qui transcende les mots.

Dave Holland sait qu’il jouit d’une chance unique pour y parvenir et il accomplit son travail avec toute l’humilité nécessaire. Cela lui a pris cinq ans à établir avec les athlètes la relation et le lien de confiance qui allaient lui ouvrir les portes de leur monde. « Je sais que j’ai un privilège immense. Je peux aller et venir à ma guise dans le gymnase et le laboratoire, sur la patinoire ou la pente de ski. Chaque jour, je me sens content de franchir ces portes. »

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

The Search Is On

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

The Talent Behind the Lens

Dave Holland walked away from a career in the oil and gas industry when the full-time opportunity to pursue his lifelong passion for Olympic sport photography arose and was too good to pass by. After years of snapping sport photos as a hobby, the self-taught photographer earned his first ticket to the Olympics with SportsNet in 2014 in Sochi.

Since then, combining his passion for Olympic sport and photography, Holland has created a role for himself as the go-to photographer for the CSI Calgary, WinSport, and now the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). It hasn’t been an easy path – his first two applications to the COC for media accreditation at the Olympics were denied. Fortunately, his unwavering persistence and quality work has begun to pay off.

As the CSI Calgary’s in-house photographer, Holland is afforded wide-ranging access to shoot events and athletes that other photographers simply do not have. The ability to capture the story behind the athlete beyond competition day is part of what sets Holland’s work apart. “I see what everybody does,” he explains. “I try to get the process behind it all, something different. So many photos are the same ones you’ve seen before. I want to showcase the athletes in a different way.”

A freelance photographer with no affiliation to any conventional agencies, he is breaking new ground – Holland has finally been approved for COC media accreditation at the 2018 Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang. He is the first non-media outlet photographer to be accredited and he feels a deep sense of satisfaction in achieving this milestone. “I am the only full-time photographer in the country exclusively covering Olympic and Paralympic athletes,” he says.

Although he now works “three times the hours for a third of the salary,” Holland says there is nowhere else he would rather be. “It’s a labour of love,” he proclaims with absolute and heartfelt conviction. Lucky are the few who find and pursue their true calling in life – Dave Holland comes by his new vocation honestly.

Holland is driven by a deep desire to showcase Canada’s best Olympic and Paralympic athletes, a group he feels is largely ignored. “Working with athletes daily I have found that they are incredibly underserved in the media,” he says. Access to high quality photos from competition is a major hurdle for athletes looking for images to promote themselves. “I recall one athlete telling me that an agency wanted $800 for a photo from the Sochi Games,” says Holland.

This inadequacy resulted in Holland creating www.csicalgaryphotos.ca, a vast and comprehensive database of photographs. It allows mainstream media access to images that are unavailable anywhere else. To date there are around 10,000 images on the site. “I’m putting athletes on the map, getting them the attention and exposure they deserve,” says Holland.

Holland says three key things are necessary to capture a good photo – peak action, good lighting and a clean background. It’s about achieving a strong connection with the viewer that transcends words alone.

Holland recognizes that he is in a unique position to achieve this end and he approaches his work with the necessary humility. It took five years for him to develop the trust and relationships with the athletes he needed for them to welcome him into their world. “I know it is a job of extreme privilege, as I can come and go from the gym, the lab, the rink or the ski hill and every day I appreciate walking through the doors.”

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

This Means Everything

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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