CCC Restructures and Sees Funding Cuts
Lemyre is New HP Advisor and Tomlinson is New Chair of BOD
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.