If Sidney and the rest of Team Canada bring home the gold at the upcoming Winter Olympics, they’ll be treated just like any other Canadian Olympians.
That is to say, they’ll each be $20,000 richer (That’s Canadian dollars, but still!).
The Canadian Olympic Committee says there was some debate as to whether or not Canada’s hockey team should be eligible for the “Own the Podium” bonuses provides to athletes who win a medal at the Games.
The COC started the bonus program for the 2008 Beijing Games: Canadians who win gold will earn the $20,000 prize; it’ll be $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for a bronze medal win.
Ultimately, they decided the players should be treated like every other athlete and given the opportunity to receive the money. Really, the only difference between Canada’s hockey team and the rest of the athletes is the millions of dollars they earn on a yearly basis (Canada’s hockey team earns over $120-million per year from the pockets of NHL owners!).
Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson says players will be spending a lot of money to get their families out to watch the games and they aren’t paid to play at any other international tournaments – adding they’ll be given the option of donating their bonus money to charity or doing “what they see is fit.”
I think it’s safe to say that they potential bonus money won’t be what’s driving Team Canada when they open up their Olympic schedule against Norway on February 16th, but I guess we could all use a bit of extra pocket change!
Business or Pleasure
Another athlete we’ll see this February that doesn’t need any kind of financial incentive is Olympic gold medalist Dale Begg-Smith.
The world’s top-ranked moguls skier was born in Vancouver and trained with Canada’s national team when he was younger, but actually skis for Australia (Jamaica has a bobsled team, Australia has a moguls team!).
Begg-Smith moved to Australia with his brother at the age of 15 “for business reasons,” became citizens and trained under former US moguls skier Steve Devosich, who had taken the coaching job in that country.
You’re probably asking yourself “What ‘business reasons’ could a 15-year-old possibly have?”
Begg-Smith launched several high-tech businesses as a teen that made him enough money that he has never even needed corporate sponsorship and allowed him to own a $300,000 Lamborghini in his early 20’s.
Apparently some of his business ventures include the type of advertisements on websites that some call “spam,” and he received a rough ride from the Australian press when that came to light.
Begg-Smith isn’t apologizing for anything though and says he doesn’t really do much in terms of business these days anymore short of just managing his investments – must be nice!
Still on the topic of the Winter Olympics – a friend of mine qualified for the Games last week, which I find incredibly exciting.
Mike Robertson is a snowboard-cross racer who travels the world with the Canadian National Team; with a fifth place finish at an event in Stoneham, Quebec, last week, he is officially Vancouver-bound.
Mike grew up in Edmonton before moving to Canmore to be closer to the mountains and is one of the funniest guys you’ll ever meet.
If you manage to catch his even next month, make sure you cheer extra hard for the hometown boy!