2014 kicked-off with Olympic and Paralympic fever at CSIO, as the Games quickly approached in February. Ontario athletes comprised 29% of the Canadian Olympic Team and 41% of the Canadian Paralympic Team, the most of any province or territory with 65 athletes and 22 athletes sent respectively. Ontario also sent 11 coaches to the Olympics and 2 Ontario coaches to the Paralympics, as well as countless support staff to represent Canada at both Games. The 2014 Winter Olympic Games saw 35 of Ontario’s athletes reach the podium, contributing to 8 (5 Gold, 3 Silver) of the 25 (10 Gold, 10 Silver, 5 Bronze) medals won by Team Canada. Ontario figure skater Patrick Chan and ice dance pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were double medalists at the Games, both as part of Canada’s Silver Medal winning figure skating team and winning Silver individually. Another notable medal win for Ontario was by Dara Howell (Huntsville, ON), who won the Gold Medal in Women’s Ski Slopestyle.
On the Paralympic side, 17 of Ontario’s athletes reached the podium, contributing to 6 (2 Gold, 4 Bronze) of the 16 (7 Gold, 2 Silver, 7 Bronze) medals won by Team Canada. Mac Marcoux, (Sault Ste. Marie, ON), the youngest Canadian Paralympian at the Games at just 16 years old, was the most decorated Ontario athlete at the Games, bringing home a Gold Medal and 2 Bronze Medals from Para-Alpine events.
In March of 2014, the Ontario Government, through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, announced that CSIO would receive legacy funding of $8.06 million over three years, as part of the province’s Promotion, Celebration and Legacy strategy. This investment made it possible for CSIO to purchase new sport science, sport medicine and training equipment for CSIO’s new home at the Toronto Pan Am Sport Centre and new CSIO satellite venue at the Milton Velodrome. As well, the funding allows for ongoing enhancements to the programs and services CSIO provides and hire additional staff to assist high performance athletes and coaches in achieving success in their sport.
Throughout 2014 CSIO hired over 15 new staff and welcomed existing staff members into new roles. The CSIO has grown to include additional sport and business administrators, and a vast array of sport science and sport medicine experts to better service the needs of the athletes and coaches that we work with.
2014 also saw the evolution of CSIO’s Ontario High Performance Sport Initiative (OHPSI) program, expanding to include 18 sports into the program, an increase from 10 in the previous intake, the result of increased funding from the provincial government. Through OHPSI, CSIO provides leadership, coaching support, sport science and sport medicine services, equipment and technology, and facility access to create an optimal daily training environment for Ontario athletes who are identified as being the best capable of achieving future international success on senior national teams in targeted Olympic/Paralympic and Pan/Para Pan Am Games sports. The OHPSI program also aims for CSIO to build stronger relationships with Provincial and National Sport Organizations (PSOs and NSOs), assisting them in building their capacity to deliver high performance leadership, coaching, and greater levels of support to targeted athletes.
Most notably, one of our largest milestones in 2014 was CSIO’s move to our new home at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. A legacy of the 2015 Pan/Para Pan Am Games, our new state-of-the-art world-class sport institute and administrative offices provide over 23,000 sqft of dedicated space to better support and service Ontario’s high performance athletes and coaches. CSIO’s space includes a fully-equipped Sport Performance Lab; 5,000 sqft Strength & Conditioning Training Area with a Biomechanics Suite, complete with a 3 lane x 35m track; Multi-Directional Training Area featuring an oversized treadmill embedded in the floor for easy accessibility for para-athletes; Altitude Chamber; Recovery & Regeneration Centre, including a HydroWorx 2000 therapy pool with movable floor, treadmill and resistance jets, and full biomechanical video analysis; Sport Nutrition Kitchen with instructional and training cooking stations; and an Athlete Lounge and Recovery Kitchen.
Since we opened our doors in September 2014, CSIO has greeted many notable guests including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne; Federal Minister of State (Sport), Bal Gosal; Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Coteau; Former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, David Onley; (then current) Deputy Mayor of Toronto, Norm Kelly; and many other distinguished members of federal, provincial and municipal government.
Another exciting highlight of 2014 was the launch of Game Plan, a career transition program to provide support to Canadian athletes in life and sport. A joint initiative between the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), Sport Canada and the Canadian Sport Institute Network, each of the seven Network locations delivers the Game Plan program and has an advisor available to empower high performance athletes to pursue excellence by helping them to plan for their career and life after competitive sport. Having a transition plan reduces stress, minimizes distractions and helps athletes focus on their current goals in order to perform to their maximum potential.
As we fondly say goodbye to 2014, an outstanding year of achievement, growth, and legacy for CSIO, we excitedly look ahead to 2015, the Year of Sport in Canada.
2015 has already proved to be exceptional in its own right, with last week’s announcement of a substantial new partnership and high performance sport funding agreement between the COC, the CPC and the Canadian Sport Institute Network. The new multi-year, $3 million direct investment will assist CSIO, and its counterparts across the country, in achieving its mandate of delivering world-class, multi-sport daily training environments through enhancements introduced in sports science, medicine and research and innovation. Building on the significant support provided by the Government of Canada and various provincial governments to the CSIs, this new partnership will keep Team Canada and athletes at the forefront of training, preparation and innovation in 2015 and beyond!
With the 2015 Pan/Para Pan Am Games just around the corner, CSIO looks forward to great things to come in 2015!