Road to gold costly for athletes
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photo courtesy fis/oliver kraus
The road to the 2010 Olympics is a long and expensive one for some Canadian athletes.
"It’s hard to regret doing this," said Brendan Davis, 26, a halfpipe snowboarder who lives in Squamish and is in his second year on the Canadian national team. "But it’s tough everyday when you look at your bank account and wonder how you are going to get paid."
As an elite athlete, who is on the slopes five to six hours a day followed by exercises at home, Davis receives $900 a month in funding through Sport Canada’s athlete assistance program.
But by the time snowboarding-related costs are paid, the Barrie, Ont.-native is left with $200 to live.
The $10,800 a year is $20,000 shy of what he’d need to devote himself comfortably to his sport, he said.
This season, he’s already spent $5,500 on flights and accommodation.
Davis, who works for a landscaping company in the summer, has had to borrow heavily from his parents in order to keep competing.
"If I don’t do it. I know I’m going to regret it later. I have my whole life in front of me to make money."
Steven Hills, a vice-president with Canadian Sports Centre Pacific, said while the stipend might not cover all expenses, winter sport in Canada is adequately funded.
"I wouldn’t want to say we’re rich, but there is enough money in the system."