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Canadian Olympic Committee funding announcement good news for sports, but leaves out a few details

Rosie MacLennan. (Getty Images)It's called an "unprecedented funding boost" and the $100-million the Canadian Olympic Committee plans to spend on high-performance sport and Games preparation over the next four years is impressive.

The money will be included in the 2013-2016 high-performance plan for athletes, coaches and national sport federations, the COC announced Wednesday. It includes direct funding by the COC and the Canadian Olympic Foundation. A "specific envelope'' will also be directed to the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games team.

The one item left out of the announcement was exactly where the money is coming from.

"Specific details of the funding will be announced over the coming weeks in locations across the country,'' said the last line.

Hopefully that's indeed the case.

An email response from the COC said the money is coming from the private sector. Over the last year the Olympic committee has renewed partnership agreements with Hudson's Bay Company, RBC, Suncor, General Mills, Bell Canada and Air Canada.

More partnership announcements are planned.

Again, this is good news for the athletes. It also will give COC president Marcel Aubut a chance to have his picture taken with various company presidents and athletes.

Canadian sports organizations will welcome any infusion of cash. Winter sport groups have quietly talked about losing millions of dollars in sponsorship. Some of it can be related to the shaky economy. There also is a corporate hangover from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Reid Morrison, president of Bobsled Canada Skeleton, called the announcement historic.

"Every bit of support is so crucial to provide our athletes the resources they need to achieve their Olympic goals,'' he said in the release.

Marie-Claire Rouleau, president of Speed Skating Canada, said the money offers some stability.

"Our world-class athletes can train for this season and beyond, knowing that the Canadian Olympic Committee is stepping up more than ever before to support their hard work,'' she said.

While any money is good money the question remains will this be enough money. Divide $100-million over four years and you get $25-million a year. Now split that between summer and winter sports. A big pie just got sliced smaller.

Still, give Aubut and the COC credit. By helping sports organizations with their bottom lines they are giving athletes a better chance to reach the finish line. That hasn't always been the case with Canada's Olympic committee.

"Athletes and coaches are at the centre of everything we do,'' Aubut said in the release. "With this new funding we are strengthening our sports system for today and tomorrow.''

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