September 27, 2008
Kelowna Capital News
With this past summer’s Olympics a fading memory and the 2010 Games still more than a year away, it’s that time of the Olympic cycle that happens every time we don’t have an Olympics to pay attention to.
Call it the dead zone or call it whatever you want, but Olympic athletes are now back to toiling in obscurity, preparing for the next major event with little or no fan fare and trying to keep themselves financially afloat.
It’s a strange cycle. For a month every two years so many people pay attention to the Olympics, watching sports they rarely pay any attention to as medalists become household names.
During the Olympics, sports that get little press coverage are thrown into the spotlight and fans sit in their lazy chairs, criticizing how many medals we have not won.
In non-Olympic years, however, the story is much different as athletes in the Olympic sports compete for national and world titles with little interest from fans and media.
It’s like a viscous cycle, making it hard for athletes to drum up support from sponsors to raise money to continue training at a high level.
Then when the Olympics come around we wonder why our country doesn’t stack up against places like Australia, whose government pours money into a sports development model that produces results.
In our country, top level Canadian athletes are carded by our federal government and receive barely enough to get by in a month, never mind enough to pay coaches, buy equipment or travel to competitions.
So in Canada athletes can’t rely on government to get proper training and excellent results.
That’s where the Canada Athletes Now fund has come in. Run by the wife of Kelowna Olympian Conrad Leinemann, the CAN Fund helps our athletes and supports hundreds of them with fundraising.
Kelowna rower Scott Frandsen, a silver medalist this summer, was one of hundreds of athletes who received support from the private CAN fund.
“The CAN Fund has really allowed me to take care of the details this year to make sure that I did absolutely everything I could,” said Frandsen.
Now the CAN Fund is working with Shaw Cable in Western Canada to try and raise money to continue its support of amateur athletes.
On Nov. 16, Shaw will host a live nationwide televised event trying to raise money for the Canadian Athletes Now fund.
The goal is to raise $1 one million and Shaw has promised to match it up to $500,000.
Organizers are looking for items to be auctioned off during the event.
If you can help, contact the CAN fund at 1.866.937.2008.
So instead of sitting back and waiting of the next Olympics now is the time to start raising money and helping Canadian athletes get to the podium.
Nothing helps raise the pride of our country better than the Olympics so put your money where your mouth is and support the young athletes who try so bloody hard for Canada.
For our athletes, thanks in advance.