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Canada's Olympic Team


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There has been some decent results

Our fencing team has been respectable, 2 top 16, and 4 or 5 wins, Anna Rice has performed well, upsetting two opponents, top 8 in judo, good sailing results, our swimming has done better, a few Canadian records, almost as many semis as last time and as many finals. Gymnastics was a huge disappointment.

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There has been some decent results

Our fencing team has been respectable, 2 top 16, and 4 or 5 wins, Anna Rice has performed well, upsetting two opponents, top 8 in judo, good sailing results, our swimming has done better, a few Canadian records, almost as many semis as last time and as many finals. Gymnastics was a huge disappointment.

Sewfelt is coming off a serious injury. I'm sure no one was expecting him to medal

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BEIJING 2008: SUMMER OLYMPICS

Why the Games won't pay off for Canadian athletes

BRIAN MILNER

bmilner@globeandmail.com

August 11, 2008

Unlike the stars of winter, few of Canada's summer Olympians have managed to parlay their successes into lucrative corporate sponsorship or endorsement gigs. Even gold medalists typically fade from public view by the time the next hockey season gets under way.

But this year's crop will find it particularly tough to turn gold medals into gold after Beijing.

Blame it on 2010 and the fact Canadian companies are pouring most of their sports marketing dollars into promotions tied to the next Winter Games, in Vancouver.

"We appreciate the value of the summer Olympians," said one marketing executive whose company is a big spender on sports sponsorships. "But in the marketing game, the second Beijing is over, the only thing that will matter to Canadian corporations is Vancouver and Whistler."

It has always been an uphill struggle for those Canadians who choose the summer sports over more lucrative winter mainstays such as hockey, figure skating, skiing and even curling.

The reasons? Start with the obvious fact that Canada is essentially a country obsessed with winter sports, in which our record of success happens to be significantly better. Also, media, marketing and sponsorship budgets are larger in winter and many of the athletes get more exposure than their summer colleagues.

"I believe the most significant reason is the difference in profile before they get to the Olympics," said Kevin Albrecht, the head of Insight Sports and a former agent.

Albrecht offers the example of two sports with similar demographics: figure skating and gymnastics. The skaters get major television time all winter, thanks to extensive coverage of the Grand Prix circuit and the various championships. After the Olympics, they can cash in through the ice shows and TV specials.

But we rarely see the gymnasts outside the Olympics. Which helps explain why a gold medal in Athens failed to translate into riches for the likes of charismatic Kyle Shewfelt. He counts Bell Canada as his only major corporate sponsor and estimates his total income from public appearances at no more than $40,000 annually.

That's in stark contrast to the millions raked in by U.S. gold medalists in high-profile summer sports, led by swimmer Michael Phelps, whose six gold medals in Athens attracted a slew of corporate backers. The list includes McDonald's, Visa, Omega, PowerBar and Matsunichi, a Hong Kong consumer electronics maker.

"Gold medals typically get some awareness and attention [in Canada]," said Keith McIntyre, the president of K.Mac & Associates, which advises companies on sports marketing strategies. "It doesn't mean it's a bag of riches for them. That is for very few athletes in this country."

Companies that have linked their brands to the Olympic rings, such as Rona, Visa, Royal Bank of Canada and BCE, are all touting their support for various Canadian athletes. But major endorsement deals for individuals are "very few and far between," McIntyre said. "I've seen deals that bring maybe 50 to 100 per cent more dollars to the winter athletes."

At the best of times, "it's a challenge for a lot of the summer Olympians," said agent Elliott Kerr, the president of Landmark Sport Group. "How many people are kayakers? How many are trampolinists? All the summer disciplines are difficult to identify with."

And then the Vancouver factor gets thrown into the equation.

"They've only got so much money," Kerr said of corporate marketers. "And I suspect that if they had a chance to increase budgets, they would be spending more in Vancouver, not splitting it."

But winning a second gold would certainly help kayaker Adam van Koeverden.

"A lot of successful Olympians haven't cashed in to the degree they should have," Kerr said. "But making it happen in another Olympiad helps that process."

*****

Cream of the crop

Canadian athletes who will be watched closely by marketers:

Kayaker Adam van Koeverden. "He has a history of success, he's currently on top of his game and definitely articulate," says Kerr, who is not his agent. "He should emerge as one of the stars of the Games." Drawback: His sport isn't mainstream.

Diver Alexandre Despatie. If he's able to rebound from injury and grab gold, his high profile in Quebec, where the public adores him, will be extended nationally.

Swimmer Brent Hayden. Getting his first Cheerios cereal box. He has chance to be the next pool star Canadian marketers have long been waiting for.

Diver Émilie Heymans. Got her Cheerios exposure in 2004. Marketers say she's matured since then and has the potential to cash in big time if she wins.

Triathlete Simon Whitfield. If he pulls an upset and wins second gold in three Olympics, he would be in big demand as motivational speaker because of the dedication and discipline required to excel in multidiscipline event.

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Even though it is "early" in the Games, I would not be surprised, if Jacques Rogge is going to make a "personal call" again to find out what is going on with the Canadian team. I do believe that this was the case at Athens 2004.

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Great result in Weightlifting, thought: fourth in the women's -63kg, only 3kg from a medal. And its not even from Canada's best female lifter!

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She is another example of whats wrong with our funding. She gets close but can't give the extra push. She had to lift, knowing that lifting 130 would win her a medal and Canada's first. But she didn't. If she had the coaching and the funding she would have lifted it.

Hayden swam well, 4x200m is in the final and a canadian made the final in 200IM

6th in K1 by a 41 year-old

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She is another example of whats wrong with our funding. She gets close but can't give the extra push. She had to lift, knowing that lifting 130 would win her a medal and Canada's first. But she didn't. If she had the coaching and the funding she would have lifted it.

Hayden swam well, 4x200m is in the final and a canadian made the final in 200IM

6th in K1 by a 41 year-old

Yeah I agree with you Faster on the funding part.

Anyways, we did have a good day in the pool yesterday.

Hayden qualifies for the 100m Freestyle semi-final with the 3rd fastest time.

The Men's 4x200m Men's Relay team qualify for the Finals with the 5th fastest time. This wasn't their best lineup and are inserting Brent Hayden and Colin Russell into the Final lineup.

Mike Brown qualifies for the 200m Men's Breaststroke semi-final by winning his heat and shattering his own Canadian Record. He had the 5th fastest

qualifying time.

Audrey Lacroix also qualifies for the Women's 200m Butterfly semis.

We got some medal chances in the pool. Let's see if these people can come through.

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Wow, 7th in diving. This is getting really embarrassing.

Really young Canadian team. This is their first Olympics. But yeah, I was kinda hoping that they would surprise and medal. It didn't happen and we still don't have a medal. I'm not freaking out yet since our best events take place in the 2nd half of the Olympic schedule.

Edited by dave199
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Our best chance at a medal in any of the Syncho Diving events is tonight with Alexandre Despatie and Arturo Miranda in the Men's Sychro 3m Springboard

Also happen to be our last Synchronized Diving chance at those Olympics...

6th in K1 by a 41 year-old

Who gets no funding partially because his sport has "no cultural significance" to Canadians... :unsure:

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And why didn't Hayden swim the individual 200m freestyle? He had a fantastic leg and he probably would have challenged for a medal.

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And why didn't Hayden swim the individual 200m freestyle? He had a fantastic leg and he probably would have challenged for a medal.

Supposedly he wanted to concentrate on the Mens 4x100m Relay later that day. The Canadian team didn't really have a chance there.

Some of the decisions made by the Canadian Swim team are quite questionable.

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