Listen (runs 6:31)
Yesterday, with Jim Cuddy, Ed Robertson and Simon Whitfield, I was part of an announcement that will hopefully effect the health of the Canadian high performance sport system. But I’m hoping that it will effect more than that – way more.
The Canadian Olympic Foundation, in partnership with Gold Medal Plates has announced the creation of the Future Olympians Fund. The target is to raise $4million in 4 years and for that money to help young emerging athletes bridge the gap that exists just below the financially supported National Team level. This gap has been getting bigger and bigger as municipalities and provinces give less and less funding to sport and activity programs. In the increased absence of funding at this level – there are fewer and fewer canadians being taught sport at much more than rudimentary and recreational levels without a significant investment by their families. To often that becomes exclusionary.
I’ve explained the existing problem – somewhat colloquially – like this… If Own the Podium is able to support teams/athletes who are Top 10 (in the World) to become Top 3 and to win… How are athletes expected to get to that Top 10 Level? The flow of developing high performance athletes filling the pipeline from playground to podium is critically low, and with a weak base the likelihood of sustained success at the top becomes less and less foreseeable . This Future Olympians Fund is intended to support the Canadian Sport Institutes and change that.
“Why Sport? Shouldn’t I be giving to healthcare, education or community programs?”
But there is a bigger picture… I often get asked -“Why sport?” as in “Why should I financially support a bunch of athletes who are traveling the world and chasing their dreams? Shouldn’t I be giving to healthcare, education or community programs?” At first I didn’t know how to respond, those are really important and essential things. As I matured and listened to people telling me what my influence, and the influence of my peers, has had on them – I came to a response that I am proud of.
People have told me (or my team mates) ;
That is the influence that Canadian athletes have on Canadians. – That’s the REAL value of high performance sport.
So… my answer to “Why Sport?”
Supporting sport is supporting healthcare, education and community programs.
Speaking for my Olympic peers and all the athletes that I work with – who are preparing for ALL of the upcoming Olympic Games – thank you for your time, your efforts and … your money. Together we are building a better, healthier, prouder Canada.
In May I received a call from the office of the Governor General of Canada, David Johnson, informing me that I would be invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. It is an incredible honour to receive. I was to keep it confidential until it was announced for July 1 – but of course I told Deanah and my parents right away; Who wouldn’t! Then – as I do with most things – I researched it.
The Order of Canada was established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country. The Order of Canada’s motto is DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (They desire a better country).
I was to be given the 2nd highest of three levels of the Order. This allows me to put the initials O.C. after my name. The Officer of the Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of achievement and merit of a high degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large.
Then I dug into the numbers… Continue reading
Recently, after a presentation to the Ontario Real Estate Association I was asked to discuss a few of the points that I’d spoken about for their pod cast.
Our conversation covered turning our dreams into goals, curiosity, learning, and the stress that accompanies all of these things. As we progressed, a short discussion evolved on how too often we let our experience actually block our advancement instead of supporting it. Finally we finish on one of my favourite topics… how I – an obvious extrovert – figured out that my introverted rowing partner, Kathleen Heddle, didn’t need to be vocal – like me – to be extraordinarily talented – ( she was). I could hope that she would ‘throw me a bone’ but I had to learn not to expect ‘the bone’ that I wanted. When I did, and we learned to accept each other for who we were and what we had to offer, we became great athletes – world and olympic champions.
“In her interview with the OREA Centre for Leadership Development, Marnie explains some of the things she learned about achieving her dreams. “First all you have to do is put one little pinhole, one little waypoint, between who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow. As soon as you have one waypoint, you have a path. And as you start going along that path you will probably put in sometimes hundreds of waypoints between you and the goal you want to achieve.”