Athletics Canada fires top coaches after London 2012 medal disappointment
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
January 23 - Athletics Canada today sacked its two top coaches after the team won only one medal at last year's Olympics in London.
Head coach Alex Gardiner and chief high performance officer Martin Goulet paid the price for Canada's failure to reach its target of winning three medals at London 2012.
Derek Drouin's bronze medal in the high jump was their only reward, matching their performance at Beijing four years earlier when Priscilla Lopes-Schliep had finished third in the 100 metres hurdles.
"I think now especially with dollars being involved, there's accountability and there are performance expectations," said Rob Guy, the chief executive of Athletics Canada.
"Really we're in the performance business, we have objectives for performance, and just like anybody else, we need to meet them.
"We get a lot of money to attempt to win medals, and when we don't do that, we need to look at ways as to how we get better."
Canada's Paralympic track and field team also missed its target of 14 medals, winning only nine.
Guy hopes to recruit a replacement to lead the sport through to Rio 2016 by March.
"The person needs to be able to communicate effectively with the coaches, to motivate coaches, just to create a culture of performance," he said.
"Maybe sometimes the message gets a little stale when people have been there for a long time."
The team is targeting two medals at this year's World Championships in Moscow, and 10 medals at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships in Lyon.
Gardiner was Canada's head coach at the Athens 2004 Olympics, where the team failed to win a medal.
He left Athletics Canada to work for the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) before returning to become head coach in 2008.
Gardiner refused to comment on his dismissal but Goulet, who has worked for Athletics Canada for 12 years, claimed the team had made progress on the international circuit.
Canada also failed to collect a medal at Sydney in 2000 and their last gold medal in athletics came at Atlanta in 1996 when Donovan Bailey won the 100m and then anchored the 4x100m relay squad to victory.
"We are in the high performance business and I certainly accept that," said Goulet.
"Everybody who knows me knows how passionate I am about high performance...some people have even compared me to a pitbull sometimes.
"I have given my heart and my brain to high performance over the last few years."