May 23/05 10:32 am - CCA Cuts DH Funding
Posted by Editor on 05/23/05
CCA Drops Downhill Funding
The Canadian Cycling Association announced at the end of last week that it has dropped funding for National Downhill champions to attend the World Championships (see the full text of the release below). In the past, the National Champion position has been fully funded (airfare and accommodation; the same as cross-country). Following the release are our thoughts on the matter.
May 19, 2005 (Ottawa, Ontario) Ë† Faced with the need to dedicate more resources to cycling disciplines on the Olympic program, the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) is reallocating its budget within the MTB disciplines in order to offer financial assistance to more athletes at the Elite Cross Country level to attend the MTB World Championships, beginning in 2005. This move will see funding shifted from the downhill program and allocated to the cross-country program. In past years, the National Downhill Champion in all categories received funding to participate at the MTB World Championships. By removing this funding, the CCA is bringing itself in line with the policy it has adopted in cyclo-cross (another non-Olympic discipline), where no funding is given to those riders who have been selected to participate at the cyclo-cross World Championships.
Canada is eligible to send up to a maximum of 23 athletes to the 2005 MTB World Championships in the Downhill discipline Ë† 6 Elite Men, 7 Elite Women, 7 Junior Men and 3 Junior Women. All positions will be self-funded. All athletes wishing to attend the 2005 MTB World Championships must participate at the 2005 National Championships, June 19th at Mont Ste. Anne, QC. Athletes will be selected to the 2005 MTB World Championships as per the selection criteria detailed in the 2005-06 World Championship Selection Criteria document available on the CCA website (www.canadian-cycling.com)
The CCA remains committed to supporting the development of Downhill athletes in other ways through continued inclusion in the national series, continued inclusion at the National Championships, coaching services and opportunities to participate in training camps.
We are of two minds about this. On the one hand, this decision brings Downhill in line with another non-Olympic discipline - Cyclo-cross. Sport Canada funding is directly tied to Olympic disciplines, so more funding to those disciplines potentially means better results in these areas, through more resources (which in turn means more money for cycling). On the other hand, Downhill is an integral part of the sport of mountain biking, which is already struggling with sponsorship at the elite level, and this will not help Canadian athletes make to the top level (similarly, cyclo-cross is undergoing a resurgence of interest, and Canadians are recording breakthrough performances).
Truthfully, what we would like to see is increased support for both Downhill and Cyclo-cross, but that requires money from somewhere. This is a chance for the Downhill (and Cyclo-cross) community to step forward and show that they are committed to their sport(s), and willing to help foster its growth.
Riders: are you willing to pay a $1 or $2 levy on your entry fees at Canada Cups and national championships to ensure that the national champion can afford to attend the world championships?
Canada Cup organizers: are you willing to collect that levy and submit it to the CCA?
Sponsors: are you willing to chip in towards the expense of sending your riders to the world championships when they are selected?
CCA: are you willing to consider a cost-sharing arrangement to ensure that Canada has the best representation at the world championships?
Rather than the usual grumbling and griping that follows such an announcement as this, let's use this as an opportunity to build a model that provides support to all parts of our sport.