COC, CPC and OTP announce $5M investment in return to high-performance sport

Rosie MacLennan carries the Canadian flag during the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. (Matt Slocum/AP)

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and Own the Podium (OTP) have announced a $5-million investment in a phased return to high-performance sport.

Said investment will be “directed to areas where there is the greatest need as identified by the Return to Sport Task Force,” according to a release, which also states that “the priority is to optimize safe and healthy environments for athletes to return to high-performance sport.”

The Return to Sport Task Force has developed a National Framework of standards to guide this phased return to sports activity, per the release, based on “current evidence, and guidelines from the provincial, territorial, and federal health authorities.”

“A return to high-performance sport does not happen overnight, nor is there a one-stop solution,” said Canadian Olympic Committee CEO David Shoemaker via the release. “As Canada’s high-performance athletes and coaches will soon return to training in pursuit of their Olympic and Paralympic dreams, we want them to be able to do so in a manner that is safe for them, their families, and their communities.

“Our focus currently is on investing in measures that optimize a healthy and safe return to training. As the environment changes, the funds will continue to invest in key priorities identified by our medical and technical experts.”

“We are incredibly pleased with this collaborative approach to look at solutions for returning to high-performance sport,” added Karen O’Neill, CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “Together, we are committed to supporting the sport community, and it is so important to get this right.”

Said Own the Podium CEO Anne Merklinger: “This significant funding investment will be a critical tool to help our high-performance community fulfil its responsibility to get it right, and ultimately, play a leading role in opening the doors for a return of sport in Canada — from playground to podium.”

The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, originally scheduled to begin next month, was pushed back to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will now take place between July 23 and Aug. 8, 2021.

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