Sports centre an Olympic legacy

Nov 28, 2002, vol. 25, no. 7
By Marianne Meadahl

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Beyond the development of a physical plan for an Olympic venue at SFU, a vision of what the proposed long-track speedskating oval could potentially become is already taking shape.

Members of SFU's Olympic planning committee believe the facility could lead to the establishment of a high-performance sport centre of excellence at the national level. “Part of the legacy of our participation in the games is to develop an SFU sports institute,” says committee chair Bill Krane, associate VP-academic. Members of the committee began meeting last spring.

While such ideas are being discussed, Krane says serious planning will begin once the Vancouver bid has been accepted.

The proposed institute would be seen as an interdisciplinary unit, drawing upon such fields as kinesiology, psychology, communication, business, education, and health and counselling. It would provide opportunities for research around issues of sport, related teaching, in such areas as coaching education, and services to athletes, such as fitness testing and measurement.

Discussions have also focused on how such an institute would tie in with the university's new institute for health research and education. “It would be a natural home for faculty involved in sports-related health sciences research,” says Krane, adding future plans could include identifying and designing space for health related research in close proximity to the oval.

Krane notes that the SFU site would also become the third in a geographical triangle that includes Calgary and Salt Lake City - a potential coup for the sport.

Both have long track speedskating ovals from previous Olympic winter games and their long-term uses are being studied.

The University of Calgary, for example now houses its kinesiology department adjacent to its oval.

While the host of the 2010 winter games won't be known until summer, Krane says excitement is already mounting over the potential long-term benefits for SFU.

“It's a vision with great potential for SFU and for athletes at all levels,” says Krane.

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