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Finance and sport growth priorities for Biathlon Canada's new CEO

Finance and sport growth priorities for Biathlon Canada's new CEO

One of the goals of the new CEO is to raise the level of biathlon's presence at the national and international level.

CANMORE — Biathlon Canada hopes to have a goal with its new leader who aims to bring positive change to the financially-strapped organization.

Kerry Dankers, a former Olympic speed skating athlete who has moved into sports leadership and management, was appointed as the sport's new chief executive earlier this month, with goals and priorities aimed at looking at the organisation's financial position, the growth of the sport and bringing in more international events. To Canadian territory.

Most recently, Dankers was the Director of Business Operations at the Calgary Olympic Oval, a role the former Olympian took on “deliberately” to gain the valuable experience needed when it comes to working at the executive level for a national sport. Additionally, she worked for Speed ​​Skating Canada and their high-performance long track program.

“I wanted to have the experience and knowledge of what it is like to work on the business side of sports,” Dankers said. “With this position, I managed the budget, I did all the administration and HR stuff, so I really… increased my skill level when it comes to the business side of the sport. I think by marrying those two, I took my sporting knowledge to the next level.” Performance and my experience with the business acumen I have accumulated through this position and the additional education I have obtained.

The new CEO said she is excited to work with the team and the board and develop a strategy towards the 2026 and 2030 Winter Olympics, while at the same time working to understand the current reality of the sport's national governing body.

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In an October 2023 interview with ProspectsJustin Wadsworth, the national team's senior coach, said the national organization was in a “bad financial situation,” which led to top Canadian athletes, who train and live in Canmore, one of Alberta's most expensive cities, having to pay out of their own pockets for recent training camps. And flight fees after reducing the 2023 budget by 30 percent.

However, many of Canada's national sports organizations (NSO) are experiencing the same financial crisis.

In the Canadian sporting landscape, great results at major events can mean big money for National Scout Associations through “Own the Podium”, via Sport Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee. Although the distribution of funds depends on the probability of success and is not distributed equally.

“A top priority for me when it comes to funding and understanding the gaps and opportunities in this area,” she said. “I look at the organization as a whole and what we are doing across the country.

“I'm honestly so excited to work with… [biathlon] Community to discover and come up with innovative solutions to the challenges we collectively face, but also to build on what we do really well.

Less than two weeks into the role, Dankers replaces former CEO Heather Amberry, who begins a new role as associate athletic director at the University of Calgary.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Dankers competed for the national long track speed skating team from 2002 to 2010, and attended the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics.

Dankers comes to the organization with a passion for developing and advancing biathlon in Canada through the lenses of both athlete and athlete leader, said Mike Walker, Chairman of Biathlon Canada.

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“Her proven experience in management and sport will support the achievement of our strategic goals and benefit both Biathlon Canada and the broader Canadian biathlon community moving forward,” Walker said in a statement. Media release. “We are thrilled to welcome Kerry and look forward to working with her.”

Biathlon was not among the wide range of sports Dankers played growing up, but she had a direct connection to the sport after a trial event last summer in Calgary.

“Through the recruiting process, I got to know a few people, through my interactions over the summer, and I've been interacting with the community ever since,” Dankers said. “I'm really happy with the decision I made to come to this sport and I see a lot of potential and really great things coming out of Biathlon Canada. The biathlon community is made up of kind, hardworking, passionate and humble individuals and I'm very proud to work with them.”

With the Biathlon World Cup coming to Canmore from March 14-19, the new CEO said one of her goals is to raise the level of biathlon's presence nationally and internationally.

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