There is a buzz in the air amongst the sport community during an Olympic and Paralympic year, which has now reached a fever pitch with just over a week to go until the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. CSIO is proud to report that 65 athletes, making up 29% of the Canadian Olympic Team headed to Sochi are from Ontario, the greatest representation by any province or territory in the country. Our staff has been working with some of Canada’s top athletes, including one who is featured in this month’s inaugural The Locker Room column, for years to prepare for this moment. The planning, training, resources, and sheer effort that go into powering podium performances are immense. That same focus and drive is what we at the CSIO are putting into reaching our goals leading up to the 2015 Pan/Para Pan Am Games, to be hosted right here in Toronto and its surrounding areas. Here is a sneak peek into what the year ahead holds for Canadian Sport Institute Ontario.
First and foremost, as many of you know our office and lab facilities will be moving to the brand new Pan Am Aquatic Centre (to be named Toronto Pan Am Sport Centre after the Games) at the University of Toronto Scarborough. This new mixed-use space will provide for state of the art dedicated high performance sport facilities for CSIO athletes and coaches including 5,000 sq. ft. of strength and conditioning space, multi-directional training area, sport performance lab and testing areas, research and innovation space, recovery and regeneration centre, altitude chamber, fully-equipped nutrition teaching kitchen, and an athletes’ lounge. The space will also feature shared elements with the City of Toronto and University of Toronto Scarborough including the first 50 metre pools (2) to be built in the province in more than 30 years, a separate diving tower, a field house featuring 4 courts (with 2 FIBA hardwood sprung floors), and other public use areas such as a track, strength and conditioning space, multi-purpose studios and a climbing wall. Building our capacity to service our athletes will help us achieve our number one priority here at the CSIO, providing world-class integrated services and programs to high performance athletes, coaches and sport organizations.
The Pan Am Aquatic Centre is just one of the legacy facilities that will come from hosting an event of this scale in our own backyard. The creation of Canada’s only permanent indoor cycling Velodrome in Milton, the Athletics Stadium and Indoor Training Centre at York University, and enhancements to dozens of existing sport facilities across the Golden Horseshoe will provide the foundation for the next generation of Canadian athletes.
Lastly, our focus for 2014 is preparing our athletes for the years ahead. Our athletes, coaches and their Provincial and National Sport Organizations are under immense pressure to succeed and it is our goal to get them there. We recently re-launched our Ontario High Performance Sport Initiative program offering leadership, coaching support, training and competition support, sport science services, equipment & technology and facility access to more targeted Provincial Sport Organizations than ever before.
At the CSIO we are proud of the work we are doing and the opportunities we provide athletes and coaches, giving them the edge they need to fuel podium finishes. Success in sport strengthens and builds community, develops our future leaders, and instills a belief that we can win, it is okay to win, and it is okay to want to be excellent.
Here’s to a great 2014!