Canadian alpine ski legend and Crazy Canuck Ken Read has stepped down from his position as director of winter sport at Own the Podium, the national funding program credited with Canada's success at home during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, as well as recent success in a variety of winter sports. Read said it was important to think long term, now that the pieces are in place for the Winter Games in 2014.
"Own the Podium's recent focus has been to secure the necessary funding winter sports require to contend to be number one in Sochi (in 2014)," said Read. "With a record financial commitment made by our partners that is now in place, it was time to consider the leadership of winter sport within Own the Podium.
"There is never a good time to make these changes, but it was my strong belief that continuity is critical if we wish to maintain our focus on being a world leader in winter sport. Much of the leg work for 2014 is now complete so I believe this is an opportune time to recruit and immerse a talented individual into the program who will carry the torch well beyond 2018 for Canada's winter sports athletes."
Read as been a director at Own the Podium since May 2010 when the program was renewed with $30 million annually in federal funding. In January, it was announced that the federal government would boost funding to Canadian sport by an additional $31 million in the run-up to the 2014 Games in Sochi.
A replacement director has yet to be named.
Second annual 'Spirit of Sarah' scholarship offered
Momentum Ski Camps and the Sarah Burke Foundation are combining resources to offer the second annual Spirit of Sarah Scholarship in honour of fallen freeskier Sarah Burke. In 2012, 16-year-old Emma Stevens of Nova Scotia won the scholarship, which was for a week at Momentum Ski Camps during Girls Ski Week. The value of the package is $2,300, and applicants are asked to submit a three-to-five minute video presentation to plead their case. The panel of judges will pick the applicant they feel most closely embodies Burke's "special strengths and characteristics."
"The additional summer training (the scholarship) provided me with a good head start and helped me ease into this year's season a lot smoother," said Stevens. "It isn't so much the training... that has helped me the most. Meeting all the pro skiers and hearing their own success stories directly from them really helped me see where I want to go, and it gave me that extra push to want to strive for greatness."
The Sarah Burke Foundation is also offering two separate scholarships to the program valued at $7,500, which means at least three girls taking part that week will be there with some financial assistance.