For the average Canadian the Olympic and Paralympic Games are events that occur once every couple of years. Exciting and captivating, they inspire fans of all ages and from all corners of the world for two weeks, making unknown athletes into hometown heroes and household names. However, for the athletes and their support staff the quest to make Team Canada and represent our nation at the Olympic or Paralympic Games is anything but a casual event. For many athletes it’s a lifetime commitment to their sport, to training, and to competing, with the ultimate goal to one day be at the highest level and represent our country at the Olympic or Paralympic Games. To help them reach this pinnacle of their career, athletes work with sport coaches and support staff to be their strongest, their fastest, their best. Enter the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network.
What is the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network?
The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSI Network) is a partnership between the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and the Canadian Sport Institute Network, which is made up of seven sport institutes and centres across Canada (Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, Canadian Sport Centre Saskatchewan, Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba, Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, Institut national du sport du Québec, and Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic).
The COPSI Network supports Canada’s world-leading Olympic and Paralympic podium performances by providing world-class, multi-sport daily training environments to high performance athletes, coaches, and sport organizations through expert leadership, programs, and sport science and sport medicine services.
The COPSI Network consists of world-leading practitioners in the areas of Biomechanics and Performance Analysis, Mental Performance, Sport Nutrition, Strength and Conditioning, Physiology, Sport Therapy, and Sport Medicine services. The Network also offers sports access to research and innovation opportunities, coaching and technical leadership expertise, and high performance sport management professionals to assist with yearly and quadrennial planning.
Who Does the COPSI Network Service?
Together as a Network we service approximately 1,300 nationally carded athletes, across 81 sports. With varying geography, cultural distinctions and sport infrastructure, each of the sport institutes and centres have sports that they work with in a more focused and targeted way. For example, Canadian Sport Institute Calgary has key sport partnerships with more winter sports including, but not limited to: alpine skiing, speedskating, luge; while many of Canadian Sport Institute Ontario’s key sport partnerships are with summer sports, including, but not limited to: swimming, track cycling, athletics, wheelchair basketball. While these examples demonstrate some of the niche areas within the Network, the seven sport institutes and centres also provide support and services to a wider breadth of sports at the national level in a variety of capacities based on sport-specific and athlete-specific needs.
In addition to the National Sport Organizations that we work with, many of the sport institutes and centres in the Network also provide services to Provincial Sport Organizations, supporting athletes and their coaches on the development pathway towards Senior National Teams and international competition. These additional sport partnerships allow the expertise and support of the Network to expand deeper into the Canadian sport system.
What is the Benefit of the COPSI Network?
As a Network we are able to provide nationally carded athletes with access to services regardless of where they are in the country. Even when they are training and competing abroad we have many services available to them through online consultations. Services available through the COPSI Network include access to world-class daily training environments, access to sport medicine physicians, nutrition consultations, mental performance consultations, and career transition advice and planning services through the Game Plan program.
We also believe in the importance and power of collaboration. Being part of a Network allows the world-leading practitioners and experts working within it to share knowledge and best practices, leading to better servicing of athletes, coaches and sports. It also lends itself to more research and innovation opportunities and advancements across the different sport science and sport medicine disciplines, benefiting the entire Canadian sport system.
As we approach the final lead up to the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we reflect on the years of hard work and dedication the athletes, coaches and support staff have put in to just be nominated to Team Canada. As they finalize their preparations and get ready to vie for the podium, the COPSI Network congratulates all of the athletes and coaches who will be representing our country, as well as all of the support staff who have been part of their journey. We will be cheering for you – Go Canada Go!
Stay tuned for additional articles highlighting COPSI Network programs and services.
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Written By: Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network
Laura Albright, Manager, Communications & Events,
Canadian Sport Institute Ontario