Wed, September 25, 2013

Looking forward to London Olympics

By ALISON KORN, QMI Agency

So, it’s now been over a year since the Vancouver 2010 Olympics finished. With all kinds of medal anniversaries being celebrated over the past couple of weeks, the reminiscing is just about over and it’s on to London 2012.

The experience of hosting a successful Olympics leaves a legacy of a more confident, proud Canadian team that knows how to win, said John Furlong, the former Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee CEO.

Marcel Aubut, the Canadian Olympic Committee president who began his term after the Games, agreed.

“Team Canada is going to be a different team (going forward), who see winning as something acceptable, correct and something they feel they could achieve,” Aubut said. “I think that’s going to be a big difference with the kind of team going to London, Sochi and Rio.”

He’s referring to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

Furlong also reflected on the public’s enthusiastic embrace of the Games – something he had envisioned but didn’t dare presume.

“The public leapt over the boards and became active participants and observers in the Vancouver Games,” Furlong said. “What Vancouver proved to me was that the Canadian public was ready to come together in Vancouver to live the experience with us. And the euphoria that took place on the streets and the appreciation the country showed for the athletes and the Games … we hoped for.”

Following the Vancouver Olympics, the COC surveyed the Canadian Olympic team and identified three factors in them doing so well. First, the support from Canadians “unequivocally” made a difference to performance, said Caroline Assalian, the COC’s Executive Managing Director, Sport and NSF Relations.

“The message is the whole country cares what you’re doing, day in, day out,” said Assalian. “Second was their familiarity with the environment, with Vancouver the site. So although we may not duplicate this in London, this is certainly our emphasis going forward, athletes and teams have a very good comfort and familiarity with London.”

Assalian said that surprisingly, athletes have not competed in the city of London as much as one might expect.

The third value that had a great effect on performance was team unity, feeling part of the Canadian Olympic team.

“It was a little bit of a surprise on how much it had an impact on performance and we’ll look at that moving forward to London,” said Assalian.

Great news, if true

With Zimbabwe having withdrawn its bid to host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, it seems that Canada — the only other country to bid — would be a shoo-in to get it. Big excitement online as former star player Kara Lang tweeted, “2015 women’s world cup in CANADA!!!”

However, the Canadian Soccer Association made a point of stating Tuesday it wasn’t a done deal.

“The Canadian Soccer Association has not been awarded the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 and FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2014,” stated Peter Montopoli, General Secretary for the Canadian Soccer Association. “FIFA has reiterated that each bid stands on its own merit and we will continue to respect the process as established by FIFA and will attend the FIFA Media Conference as planned on Thursday, March 3 for the decision.”

Canada’s bid will be evaluated by the FIFA Executive Committee at meetings on March 2 and 3 with an official announcement being made on Thursday at a media conference scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

Canada looks to play spoiler against top-ranked Pakistan in third match at Cricket World Cup

Canada is getting trounced at the Cricket World Cup, but it’s still important and impressive that they’re there. And even though it’s not too surprising that Canada has gone 0-2 so far, many are shocked at the inconsistent performances in the first two games. The team looked world class in stages of its first two matches, holding Sri Lanka at bay for parts of their first match and staging a dramatic fight back with the ball against Zimbabwe in the second match – but ordinary play otherwise lead to big defeats.

The Canadians will look to play spoiler against Pakistan in the third match for each team at the 2011 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka on Tuesday. The match starts at 2:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Get involved

The Toronto Sports Council Summit on March 5 at the Hyatt Regency will officially launch the 2012 Ontario Summer Games in Toronto.

Sports industry types will include special guest Allen Vansen, Senior Vice-President, Operations, Pan Am/Parapan American Games Toronto 2015. The registration fee of $25 will go towards the 2012 Ontario Summer Games.

The Toronto Sports Council is a non-profit organization that strives to assist and support the growth of sport and is recognized by Toronto City Council as the “Voice for Sport” in Toronto.

Visit www.torontosportscouncil.ca for further information.