Posted by Editoress on 03/4/19
Brendon Cameron has just joined the Canadian track program as the head coach for the next two years leading into the 2020 Olympics, with his first project being the just completed world championships. Cameron has a long and distinguished resume, including representing New Zealand at the Olympics in 1996 and 2000, and winning bronze medals in the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in 1994 and 1998.
Brendon Cameron (left) talks with Aidan Caves
Canadian Cyclist: Can you give us a bit of your background.
Brendon Cameron: I've been involved with the New Zealand system for the last 20 years in numerous capacity. After I stopped competing, I switch to coaching my wife [Sarah Ulmer] for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and was the assistant coach for the team pursuit program there. [Note: Ulmer won the gold medal and set a world record that stood until 2010]
From there, I moved across to the Paralympic side of things and helped build the New Zealand Paralympic cycling team. That was challenging, as I was building the program. I switched just prior to the Rio Games  to become the women's endurance coach, and finally with the men's endurance program until the end of last year.
CC: New Zealand has a long history of success on the track. You are coming to a program in Canada that is still building.
BC: Yes, it's still building its width and depth of riders - it wasn't that long ago that Canada didn't have a men's team pursuit program at all. But Canada has always had strong individual contenders over the last 20 years, and the women's team pursuit has punched through [to the medals] at the last two Olympic Games. So, although Canada hasn't been a Tier 1 powerhouse, it has always had representations at the highest level.
CC: You are coming in at the start of the Olympic qualification period, so the pressure is on. What do you see as some of your big focusses?
BC: The biggest focus for me is supporting the three coaches who are at the helm of the track squads [sprint, women's and men's endurance]. It's making sure that our strategy for each squad is clean and the programs are aligned. We do have limited resources and we can't afford to be duplicating processes, and just have to be smart with what we are doing.
Coming into an Olympic Games, the [resources] get spread across road, track, mountain bike and BMX. So my job will be to be the person on point, to make sure the [track] program is still on target for the Olympics.
CC: What do think you are bringing to the Canadian program after being involved in a program like New Zealand's?
BC: I've only been on deck for a week - within 48 hours of discussing the project I was on a plane. I'm here to observe how the program is operating and make notes. This is a critical time, the pinnacle of the season, and these guys are a well drilled machine. I will be in Milton in April, and that is when we will sit down and do our long term plan on our final run up to Tokyo. I think I will be testing the system and challenging the plans at that time. But I don't think we need to make drastic changes, it's just a matter of tightening up a few things and adding a little bit of process.
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