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First Person - Delivering Olympic-sized legacies

Telus Whistler Sports Centre invests in athletes of today and tomorrow



The Pique sat down with Todd Allison, a former member of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team and the current manager of the Telus Whistler Sports Centre to talk about the 2010 Olympics and the opportunities to build lasting legacies for our athletes.

When he was given the job in 2001 as part of LegaciesNow, Allison hit the ground running, meeting with leaders in national sport organizations and finding out how he could help. The Centre now offers support and funding to a wide variety of athletes who are at or on the verge of competing at the international level, and the organizations that make athlete development possible.

Whether they know it or not, many of the Canadian athletes to take the field when Whistler hosts the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the Paralympic Winter Games, will have Todd Allison and the Telus Whistler Sports Centre to thank.

Pique: Tell me about the Telus Sports Centre. How did it come into being and what is its purpose?

Todd Allison: It came into being as a result of LegaciesNow. (This program) is the first time an organization bidding for the Olympic Games has invested in sport before they had the chance to win. Organizers have invested somewhere between $4 and $5 million dollars into sport right from the grass roots up to high performance… right up to the national training centres.

What we were chartered with doing was supporting the local athletes and then doing province wide sport development.

But the one thing that has come up since then is the need to be almost a concierge desk for the teams that come to town. It is nice to have someone on the ground, an envoy or someone who can be here and answer the questions. We can find the nutritionists, find a physiotherapist, find them a contact for a hotel and just do those little things that they need to have done on the ground.

The Telus Sports Centre is a virtual place. We do have office in Museum Library building. But it is more phone and email so the athletes can get to the information that they need.

Pique: What types of things does the centre do for athletes?

TA: Well one of the things we would do is an information session. It would be to supplement what the coaches are doing. Coaches are great at technical side of things and most of them are jacks-of-all-trades. They can give you the basics on nutrition, psychology, on preparing for performance but it’s tough if they want to be doing everything for everybody. And they still need to be able to have their own lives.