CCC Restruc­tures and Sees Fund­ing Cuts

Le­myre is New HP Ad­vi­sor and Tom­lin­son is New Chair of BOD

SkiTrax - - Out In Front - by Ron John­son

On June 5, Cross Coun­try Canada (CCC) em­barked on a new chap­ter for the sport’s gov­ern­ing fed­er­a­tion. In a ma­jor shakeup of the or­ga­ni­za­tion re­sult­ing from sig­nif­i­cant bud­get cuts, four peo­ple who held key po­si­tions were laid off.

In­cluded in the over­haul were Ivan Babikov, CCC head coach; along with Mike Ed­wards, the Para-nordic high-per­for­mance di­rec­tor; Mar­tine Grenon-la­fontaine, man­ager of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing; and Lisa Pat­ter­son, the high-per­for­mance de­vel­op­ment co­or­di­na­tor.

Babikov took over in 2016 fol­low­ing his re­tire­ment, and while the Na­tional team had some no­table suc­cess, such as the men’s his­toric Team Re­lay first medal in Swe­den and Alex Har­vey’s 50km Freestyle gold at the Nordic Worlds in Lahti in 2017. It failed to win a medal at the 2018 Win­ter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Two days later, on June 7, CCC an­nounced that it had hired Nic Le­myre as its new high-per­for­mance di­rec­tor, re­plac­ing Tom Hol­land, who re­tired from the po­si­tion of high-per­for­mance di­rec­tor fol­low­ing the 2018 Olympic Games.

A for­mer ath­lete him­self, Le­myre moved to Nor­way in the 1990s to work in the Nor­we­gian sports sys­tem, in­clud­ing its world-class Nordic squad.

Hold­ing a PH.D in sport and exercise psy­chol­ogy from The Nor­we­gian School of Sport Sciences, Le­myre has been the head of the school’s depart­ment of coach­ing and psy­chol­ogy since 2008. He will split his time, ad­vis­ing Cross Coun­try Canada’s high-per­for­mance pro­gram while con­tin­u­ing his role as a pro­fes­sor of sports psy­chol­ogy at the Univer­sity in Oslo over the next year.

Le­myre worked with the women’s Na­tional biathlon team, the men’s cross-coun­try ski team, as well as Nor­we­gian cy­cling teams, in­clud­ing stints at the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games.

He’s ex­cited to be work­ing with his home coun­try, and be­lieves he has the right skills and ex­pe­ri­ences to make an im­pact in the Nordic pro­gram, and will work hard to iden­tify and fix gaps in the Cana­dian sys­tem.

“I’m very hum­bled to have this op­por­tu­nity now to con­trib­ute to the growth of the Cana­dian pro­gram,” said Le­myre. “I am ec­static to be able to bring my knowl­edge and skills back to my sport roots at home in Canada.”

Mean­while, the Na­tional team will look much dif­fer­ent in the year ahead with the nu­mer­ous retirements of such World Cup ath­letes as Devon Ker­shaw, Graeme Kil­lick, Jesse Cock­ney and Knute Johns­gaard. Cur­rently, only Har­vey re­mains on the “A” team.

It was re­ported that CCC had faced a fairly ma­jor bud­get short­fall, which some es­ti­mated to be in the $500,000 range. Ac­cord­ing to Shane Pearsall, CCC’S new Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer ap­pointed 18 months ago, the sit­u­a­tion was not as dire as once thought, and the cur­rent bud­get sits at ap­prox­i­mately $4.15 mil­lion.

“It’s a bit higher than we an­tic­i­pated,” he says, cit­ing fund­ing from Own The Podium, as well as new do­na­tions for the some­what rosier pic­ture. Pearsall did not elab­o­rate on the bud­get cuts or if they im­pacted the re­cent lay­offs.

He did con­firm the loss of Macken­zie In­vest­ments as a ma­jor spon­sor, which came on board af­ter the 2010 Win­ter Olympics to spon­sor a group of seven win­ter sports.

There has also been change to the Board of Di­rec­tors as well fol­low­ing CCC’S An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing in Can­more, Alta. On June 19, Jen­nifer Tom­lin­son was named as the Chair of the Board of Di­rec­tors. She has held sev­eral po­si­tions and chaired sev­eral com­mit­tees for the as­so­ci­a­tion, be­com­ing the first woman to ever hold the po­si­tion.

“Cross-coun­try ski­ing is deeply rooted in our fam­ily, and I’m ex­tremely proud to carry the torch in our sport’s quest to­wards the fu­ture build­ing on the suc­cess in our past,” said Tom­lin­son.

Tom­lin­son will lead a Board made up of new as well as fa­mil­iar faces that in­cludes An­gelo Cristo­fanilli, Sarah Daitch, Ryan Jack­son (ath­lete di­rec­tor), Ted Kalil, Pa­tri­cia Mac­donell, Jeff Sim, Bruce Simms and Jo Wo­lach (DCC chair).

With all the per­son­nel changes at CCC comes news of a re­brand­ing pro­posal to guide the or­ga­ni­za­tion mov­ing for­ward. “The time is now to build a for­ward-look­ing strat­egy, rally and en­er­gize the team inside, and sig­nal a pos­i­tive change out­side,” CCC stated in a press re­lease.

Nic Le­myre is the new High­per­for­mance and De­vel­op­ment Ad­vi­sor at Cross Coun­try Canada.

Jen­nifer Tom­lin­son is the new Chair of Cross Coun­try Canada's new Board of Di­rec­tors.

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