Corporate sponsors are the wave of the future

No doubt about it-Canada’s Olympians are in poor shape.

At least, that’s what we’ve been hearing from every astute critic that was able to correlate the nation’s dismal medal count at the Sydney Summer Games in 2000 and the equally dismal government funding. Dismal in the sense that a sparsely populated country like Australia has a publicly-funded $280 million amateur athletics program that effectively triples our pathetic budget.

"Bad government!" say the astute critics with fingers waving. But the critics have become tired of nagging for more money over the years. So tired, in fact, that many have turned from their MPs to their friendly, neighbourhood CEO
to help new batches of athletes compete in Olympics for years to come.

How did we not think of this before? Corporations could easily become the budget bearer of the future. Private sector patriots are already involved in Olympic endeavours-having sponsored teams to supplement the minimally available government monies. From Hewlett-Packard to Coke to General Mills to the myriad of sports related companies (Adidas, anyone?), wealthy corporations consistently help with this and that. But, what we need now are companies committed fully to our Olympic team and let government funding take a backseat-the place it feels most comfortable anyway.

If we can make the CEOs of the world buy into Team Canada, the teams from all those other countries will crumple before us because we all know that money translates into medals. With the private sector on board Canada will be unstoppable!

Of course a few concessions will have to be made up front. Naturally, the businesses will be given portions of the teams that they can dress with their logos. To increase performance during competition, companies will receive opportunities to give input concerning athlete training. Without a doubt, coaches will
have to work closely with private sector representatives when it comes to the "hiring and firing" of athletes.

Truly, the potential for corporate involvement is hardly recognized today. If the critics are successful in swaying private pocketbooks in the right direction, there will soon be a time when the Canadian government can leave the equation altogether. Team Canadian Tire and Team Petro-Canada are just around the corner-great titans that will make countries like Australia, the United States and Romania quake in their boots. The medals might as well be delivered right to Canada’s doorstep. The rest of the world won’t be far behind. Team UPS could easily replace Great Britain. Team Kraft and Team Disney are potential alternates to lead the way from our outdated nation-based Olympic system. How did we not think of this before?

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