SPEED SKATING CANADA
SPORT AND ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT THROUGH EVENT HOSTING Ian Moss, CEO, Speed Skating Canada
vent hosting has been examined numerous times in terms of its benefits to the host city, and in terms of national and international events, it’s social and economic impacts on the region or country. However, event hosting also provides benefits more directly applicable to sport and to athletes. SIRC talks with Ian Moss, CEO, Speed Skating Canada, about their recent experiences in hosting high profile events in Canada and how this impacts sport development in general, and athlete and coach development specifically. What were the lessons learned through hosting events such as the 2015-2016 ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Toronto? It all comes down to the volunteers and the Organizing Committee, that is the core. The commitment that they display at the club level and the scope of volunteers that come forward in numbers to support the club and the event. They can range anywhere from a city worker to a CEO, they all come together for the love of sport. This is one area that we don’t often look at when it comes to education in the hosting context, the Organizing Committee. What is the quality of the Organizing Committee? And have we provided them with the tools to improve or to move forwards in term of creating better competitions or events?
S I RC.CA
Did you do anything notable or special at the recent Toronto World Cup that stood out in terms of organization? This was the first time we have hosted the Toronto World Cup, so from that point of view we had to take on a lot that nobody had ever done. I think the ability to come together in a 6-month period, with a brand new Organizing Committee combined with the Speed Skating Canada staff, and selling the event out was a pretty exceptional experience. There was a lot of learning-on-the-go, as well as having the usual challenges of amateur sport beng able to capture the media attention and the public interest, especially in a market like Toronto. If there was anything we learned, it is that we have the collective knowledge around event management. We knew we had it, but to do it so quickly and for it to work as well as it did, I think was the best measure of success.
What is the advice that you would give to another sport if they were going to host an event like this? You have to know the market first. Depending on what your outcomes or goals are for that competition. If it is purely just to run a good technical event, then that is one perspective. But if you want it to be an experience as well, for the public and for the media, then that’s another. Knowing the interest in the market place, to attend and to promote the event, is key. Sometimes Organizing Committees tend to focus primarily on running the event and there is less focus on the promotion of the event. For us, it was understanding that there was almost an insatiable appetite to have Short Track Speed Skating back in Toronto, it hadn’t been back in about 60 years in terms of a World international competition and so we took the opportunity to bring it back. And it turned into a great success.
From an athlete development point of view, what were the key takeaways from hosting an event like the World Cup? The athletes accomplished great success at the World Cup, experiencing many record results. When it comes to hosting at this level, I think it is important that Canada maintains a commitment to hosting international competitions.