'Beginning of a New Era' for Quebec Sport

Last week, a new body for sport in Quebec was unveiled, one that will ensure Quebec athletes get all the help they need to succeed. Its name: the Institut national du sport du Québec. Marc Gélinas, one of the foremost sport directors in Quebec, said upon its reveal: “Today is the beginning of a new era.”

The key word is ‘excellence’. The new Institut will focus on high performance athletes who have reached the category of ‘excellence’ – in essence the top athletes in Quebec, those “carded” by Sport Canada who receive some financial support. The Institut will ensure these athletes have priority access to training facilities, sports medicine and technical support. The Institut will support scientific research as well, and follow up with athletes to make sure they are at peak ability when they need to be.

Quebec is a hotbed of athletic talent in Canada. At the recent Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, 45 athletes hailed from Quebec. That accounted for 22% of the team, second only to Alberta. They are also a very successful group of athletes – 25 of the 45 won a medal last February, led by speed skaters and hockey players.

At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, 58 Quebec athletes accounted for 17% of the Canadian Olympic Team. That was second only to British Columbia and Ontario.

The province of Quebec is and continues to be a vital source of top athletes for Canada, and contributes heavily to any Olympic success this country achieves. The new Institut can do nothing but help Quebec athletes reach their goals.

It will also create regional multisport centres, focused on more grassroots services offered to the next generation of athletes.

“In time, the Institut national du sport du Québec will become a true force for the development of high performance sport in Quebec,” said Gélinas, director general of the Centre national multisport-Montréal.

The Institut will partner with the Canadian Olympic Committee, national sport federations, Own the Podium and Sport Canada.