March 05, 2010 07:01 ET

Budget: Newly Announced "Sport Funding" is nice but...

will do little to assist our Summer Athletes for the 2012 Olympics says book author

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Sports Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor CALGARY, ALBERTA, MEDIA ADVISORY --(Marketwire - March 5, 2010) - On Thursday, the federal government tabled a budget that sees funding for the Own the Podium program increase to $64 million dollars a year - but it will do little to change fortunes for our Summer Athletes in London, says Michael Simonson, author of the recent book, Heatstroke, Why Canada's Summer Olympic Program is Failing and How We can Fix It.

"It is politically expedient to announce enhanced "Own the Podium" funding now because of the euphoria the country is riding from the Games - but two years from now, the country will wonder what happened and why our summer athletes didn't perform to the level we expected. We need to realize that our Summer Olympic program is broken and simply throwing money at the problem won't fix it"

In Vancouver, Canada won a record fourteen Olympic gold medals. Comparatively, Canada won twelve Olympic gold medals at the last four Summer Olympic Games -- combined. Heatstroke examines the systemic causes of Canada's Summer Olympic failures against the backdrop of the country's increasing Winter Olympic success and the rise of summer athletes in Australia, a country that used to trail in summer sports as Canada does now.

Written with an understanding of Canada's wide-ranging affection for sporting activities, the book advocates a change in action if sport is to maintain a place in our cultural identity.

"Unless Canadians start speaking to the importance of summer sport, we are at risk of losing a large piece of our cultural fabric in Canada," says Michael Simonson. "We need to examine Canada's Winter Olympic system and implement many of these ideas and programs if our summer athletes are going to be successful," he added, noting the importance of the Calgary Olympic facilities to the growth of winter sports competency within Canada.

Simonson speaks about the politics that lie beneath the surface of Canada's Olympic movement, as well as within the country's amateur sport system, coaching ranks and amongst athletes themselves. He argues that Canada's summer athletes can replicate the success that Canadians have come to expect of their winter counterparts without it requiring a fundamental shift in societal and fiscal priorities. The summer games are just as important on the world stage - some think more. Canada is losing an extraordinary opportunity to position itself beyond that of a frozen country that plays hockey and curls.

"WinSport has demonstrated the ability to develop world-class athletes right here in Canada," says Gordon Ritchie, chair of WinSport Canada. "There is nothing to suggest that a similar model couldn't be employed for Canada's summer athletes."

With interest in amateur sport greater than it ever has been, there is no better time for change than now. In Heatstroke, Simonson provides his own plan that will help restore our sporting legacy at the Summer Olympics while maintaining our present rate of success at the Winter Games.

The book is available at Amazon and also at www.heatstrokethebook.com for $19.95.

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/For further information: Susan McLennan
Babble On Communications
Ph: 416.699.1846
E: susan@babbleoncom.com

Deborah Keegan
Babble On Communications
Ph: 416.699.1846
E: deborah@babbleoncom.com

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