August 04, 2005

CBC Radio Does Amateur Sport

Wednesday on CBC radio's Maritime Noon, the phone-in topic was "What's the best way to support amateur athletes?" You can access a RealAudio recording of the program here (August 3 - 53 minutes). There was a lot of discussion of grass-roots development and various provincial programs, which I don't talk a lot about here, and I found it interesting.

The guest list was quite impressive: Ken Bagnell, president of the Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic and member of the Canadian Sport Review Panel; Nicole Smith, the Executive Director of Sport New Brunswick; and 1998 Olympic bobsleigh gold medallist David 'Eli' MacEachern.

The panel worked well together; MacEachern provided the elite athlete's perspective, Smith concentrated on grass-roots and provincial programs, and Bagnell held court on the national sport system in Canada. Bagnell in particular, and not for the first time, showed himself to be very well-informed and articulate. He had all the facts at his fingertips and explained all of the issues clearly.

I was also struck by the high quality of input from callers; this was definitely not your usual weekday audience. Peter Stoffer, sitting MP and NDP critic for amateur sport, called in, as did Ed McHugh, president of Basketball Nova Scotia. Even a couple of old friends of mine called in.

I have to hand it to host Costas Halavrezos for a well-assembled show. I wonder, though, why he did not disclose that his daughter is on the Nova Scotia Canada Games team? If that created any bias on his part, it wasn't obvious to me, but I still found it curious that he didn't mention his own family's involvement in amateur sport.

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