I’m honoured to share this sentiment with you through the work we did together, earning a true sense of both pride and progress for our country during this time of global change.
We did it through sport and moved boldly in the right direction.
During the past year, our vision of a more engaged nation and corporate community came further to life, supporting unparalleled Olympic results, further uniting Canada’s sport network, and creating momentum for the next generation of athletes and coaches.
This influence on the Canadian sport system is as we have always intended.
With a renewed commitment of $37 million to high performance sport, we are taking prescribed targeting and investment to the next level. And by working hand-in-glove with Own the Podium and more united with our National Sport Federations and our federal government partners, we are forging a new future for high performance sport in Canada.
This is a future our many private sector marketing partners are helping to shape with $16 million committed over the next four years to help develop the next generation of Team Canada. When matched by the Government of Canada, this money will result in a $32 million impact on the Canadian sport system.
These kinds of efforts are creating opportunities for advancement we haven’t seen before in this country – empowering a system that is greater than the sum of its parts.
For example, the Canadian Olympic Committee announced a first-of-its-kind initiative in Canada with a $5.2 million investment for coaches’ enhancement to improve our collaborative work with NSFs. This concerted approach is bolstered by additional funding committed by corporate partners to specifically strengthen our NSF network.
In 2016 the COC announced programs, when coupled with other existing and new initiatives, that will see us invest (along with the federal government) an overall anticipated combined increase of almost 131 per cent compared to the four-year period from 2009 to 2012.
These steps are difference-makers for sport.
During the Rio Games, Canadians witnessed a summer Olympic team that in some ways they had not seen before. It was more confident. It was younger. It had a unique swagger in a Canadian way. It earned better results than any previous team at a non-boycotted Games and boasted the first-ever Canadian to successfully defend an Olympic title at a summer Games.
Results like this change the way Canadians look at sport. And bringing these stories — with a stronger Team Canada brand — to the hearts and minds of Canadians is a testament to our innovative marketing work. And we are not resting.
We see how much Canadians believe in the power of sport. This is the foundation for change we planned for and now is the time to build upon it. There’s so much more to be done and it certainly comes with challenges and hard lessons.
Canadians look to our athletes as leaders and there’s a new generation of athletes who are stepping up to take on this role. It’s our duty to be their champions.
As we continue to work diligently along the path to PyeongChang 2018 and beyond, we know our footing is solid. But we will continue to innovate, expect more of ourselves, and find new ways to deliver the financial resources our system and our athletes require to compete and win on the world stage.
I want to thank you for continuing to put the power of sport to work for our nation.