jeff hodson/metro vancouver


Demetra Mantcheva, 16, performs rhythmic gymnastics at King George Secondary in Vancouver’s West End yesterday during the unveiling of the Growing Champions sponsorship program.

Being an aspiring athlete can be an expensive affair, and for Rebecca Staynor, it’s triply so.

“It’s very expensive,” said the 16-year-old triathlete from North Vancouver. “My dad says it’s like the equivalent of paying for hockey four times.”

Staynor, who participated in her first triathlon at age nine and “fell in love with the sport,” someday hopes to be standing on an Olympic podium.

But it can be an expensive dream and while she doesn’t know the full cost of her sport she said her racing bicycle alone cost between $5,000 and $6,000. Her swimming training costs $5,000 a year.

That’s why the province yesterday unveiled a new program aimed at helping B.C.’s 200 aspiring athletes by connecting them to small and medium sized business sponsors. The program, called Growing Champions, asks businesses for a $5,000 per year contribution for three years. See