The price of gold is go­ing up

T.O. vol­ley­ball star started a lo­cal league to help fund other ath­letes

The Kids Post - - Ask The Expert - By Danielle Perry

The feel­ing of warm sand be­tween his toes and sun­shine brown­ing his shoul­ders isn’t as re­lax­ing for Chris­tian Red­mann as it is for most peo­ple. Back in 2012, when one fierce game of beach vol­ley­ball de­ter­mined his chances of com­pet­ing at the Olympic Games, play­ing on the beach was a lit­tle nerve-rack­ing .

“It was pretty in­tense,” the na­tive Torontonian re­mem­bers. At the time, he was play­ing for Canada’s top team, but that day “10 to 15 years of work came down to 30 min­utes,” he says.

“It was a one-game, win­ner-take­sall and goes to the Olympics. We played against the se­cond-placed Cana­dian team — but they beat us that day, so we didn’t get to go.”

How­ever, the mis­for­tune the young ath­lete faced that fate­ful day has only fu­elled his dreams to go to the Games in 2016.

“We’ll have to work pretty hard and just go af­ter it,” Red­mann says.

The chal­lenges the now 31-yearold faces to qual­ify for Rio de Janeiro are not just limited to hard work and skill. He says that vol­ley­ball is heav­ily un­der­funded.

“You have to play on the world tour to be qual­i­fied for the Olympics,” Red­mann ex­plains. “This is all com­ing out of my own pocket. This year alone is go­ing to be about $30,000 dol­lars per per­son — that doesn’t in­clude coach­ing costs.”

In 2010, Red­mann and his close friend and coach John Child, bronze medal­list dur­ing the 1996 At­lanta sum­mer Olympics, de­cided to start the Lea­side Vol­ley­ball League with the aim of help­ing to fund the sport for other ath­letes.

“We came up with the con­cept of a league where ev­ery­one gets a chance,” he says.

The league has grown ex­po­nen­tially, go­ing from a hun­dred reg­is­tra­tions in its first year to close to 550 this past year. It runs out of Haver­gal Col­lege on Sun­days and will be start­ing out of a se­cond lo­ca­tion at Bishop Stra­chan School this year in or­der to ac­com­mo­date more kids and have two gyms run­ning at once.

Red­mann’s ad­vice to the young ath­letes in the league who may also have Olympic dreams is to weigh the pros, cons and sac­ri­fices of ded­i­cat­ing your life to the sport — and then if you de­cide to go for it, to not let any­thing get in your way.

“You have to make things hap­pen for your­self. You can’t re­ally rely on any­one else to do it for you — con­sider any ex­tra help that comes in a bonus and be grate­ful for it,” he says. “That be­ing said, you want to sur­round your­self with good peo­ple — peo­ple that be­lieve in you, peo­ple that will go to the wall for you and fight for you and help you out dur­ing tough times.”

Red­man has his sights set on the 2016 Sum­mer Games

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