The Callaghan Valley Training Centre was left in disarray after its second official season with no coach to lead the group. The resulting confusion and uncertainty prompted all but one of its dozen athletes to leave Whistler for other national training centres in Canmore and elsewhere. Call it growing pains.
Cross Country B.C. remained committed to the program, however, and the CVTC is here for a third season with a new coach, two committed athletes and access to an Olympic legacy they believe is second-to-none.
“I was in Newfoundland coaching the provincial team for the last four years… and then the opportunity came up to coach (with the Callaghan Valley Training Centre), which is really a once in a lifetime opportunity to be close to the Olympics and to build a new program,” said Lee Churchill, a native Newfoundlander who took on the head coach position in the spring.
And while Whistler has been criticized as being a difficult environment for athletes because of the lack of affordable housing, Churchill says the year-round training opportunities are second-to-none, while the athletes’ village itself will offer both short- and long-term housing for athletes after the Games – “just 15 minutes up the road from the World Class ski trails at Whistler Olympic Park, where we get to bump elbows with the best athletes in the world. Who could ask for better than that?”