Cross Country Canada Rolls Out Integrated National Coaching Structure

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(ISN) – CANMORE, Alta.—Cross-Country Ski de Fond Canada will start the 2015 season with coaches Louis Bouchard and Justin Wadsworth and will continue to invest in developing Canadian coaching talent while focusing on putting the maple leaf back onto the international podium in 2018 and beyond.

Justin Wadsworth and Louis Bouchard, who have worked closely together to deliver record-setting results for Canada’s cross-country ski athletes over the last five years, will share World Cup coaching duties. In addition, American-born Wadsworth, who has made his home in Canmore for much of the last decade, along with Quebec’s Bouchard, will guide a talented group of active coaches across the country whose focus will be on developing the next generation of Olympians from coast-to-coast.

“If we truly want to put Canada’s cross-country ski athletes on the Olympic podium in 2018 and 2022, then I believe it is critical at this time to put the Canadian system in the hands of coaches that are living and embedded in our training centres across the country,” said Tom Holland, high-performance director, Cross-Country Ski de fond Canada. Holland said the national body did not renew the one-year contract for Norwegian Tor-Arne Hetland, a difficult decision made with a view on the long-term goals of the organization. “Tor-Arne brought many great qualities and technical savvy to our program. In looking at the long-term goals of Olympic medals in 2018 and beyond, we felt that a Canadian-based program brings greater stability and synergies in coaching philosophy and sport science approaches – and, ultimately, a stronger platform to breed medal-winning performances from our current- and next-generation high-performance athletes.”

The continuity of leadership from Wadsworth and Bouchard ensures a seamless transition for current World Cup athletes who have worked with the coaching duo from the grassroots to elite level. Building on this philosophy, Canada’s rising stars in cross-country skiing will benefit from the new program structure which will see a strong pool of coaches from across the country integrated into supporting World Cup coaching duties, further strengthening the high-performance culture into the development team athletes.

Each of the coaches on both the National Ski Team will continue to report to Tom Holland, director of high-performance. Holland, who has been part of the national program since 1996 as a volunteer and full-time with the team in 2006, will play a critical role in creating a coaching environment that is seamless and integrated.