Cross Country Canada Unveils New Coaching Leadership Structure

BrainspiralMay 7, 201410
Cross Country Canada coaches Justin Wadsworth (l) and Louis Bouchard will continue to lead the Canadian cross-country ski team at the national and World Cup levels. (Photo: Cross Country Canada/Twitter)
Cross Country Canada coaches Justin Wadsworth (l) and Louis Bouchard will continue to lead the Canadian cross-country ski team at the national and World Cup levels. (Photo: Cross Country Canada/Twitter)

(CCC press release)

Wadsworth to lead NST, Hetland and Bouchard to share World Cup duties

CANMORE, Alta.—Cross-Country Ski de Fond Canada (“CCC”) has ramped up the coaching leadership structure as the national program gets set to begin its quest of returning to the Olympic podium in four years in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Justin Wadsworth, who led Canada’s cross-country athletes to record-setting results over the last four years will move into a head coaching leadership role with oversight of all of Canada’s National Team (“NST”) programs, including those based in National Team Development Centres.

In an effort to maximize the quality of the training environment at National Team Development Centres, which will now serve as a base to all NST athletes when training in Canada, Wadsworth will be embedded day-to-day in the Alberta World Cup Academy (“AWCA”).   Also acting as manager of CCC’s Integrated Support Team (“IST”), he will align programming for NST (including world cup team) and development athletes.

Wadsworth will attend NST training camps, and be present at key World Cup events including Tour de Ski and World Ski Championships.

Louis Bouchard will also continue as World Cup team coach and head coach of Centre National d’Entraînement Pierre-Harvey (“CNEPH”).  Bouchard will lead Alex Harvey and a very promising group of Quebec-based NST and development athletes. Bouchard will attend all of the World Cup team training camps, and lead the squad at many World Cup races throughout the year.

Along with domestic NST coaches (Wadsworth at AWCA and Bouchard at CNEPH), all National Team athletes (including world cup team) will be associated with a National Team Development Centre, which also serves as a base for domestic training.

“It is no secret we had a difficult Olympics in 2014, but we cannot lose sight of the incredible success we have had over the last four years with Justin and Louis playing a key role in leading our team to unprecedented results,” said Tom Holland, high-performance director, CCC. “The team had four times as many top-8 results, more than double top-16 results and fifty percent more top-30 finishes. Justin has an uncanny ability to keep the team on-goal and to maximize athlete performances.”

“Every one of Canada’s seven world cup team athletes made it to the podium over the last quadrennial, and Canada won two World Championship medals. We believe this much-needed shift – positioning Justin to provide leadership and alignment to all levels, will not only help us climb back onto the Olympic podium, but will ensure the success of our sport well beyond 2018.”

Cross-Country Ski de Fond Canada added further strength to its coaching team with accomplished Norwegian skier and coach, Tor-Arne Hetland. A two-time Olympic and five-time World Championship medalist, Hetland also had 30 podiums in 151 starts as an athlete including 13 victories. Since retiring in 2009, Hetland has worked as a coach for Switzerland (2010-14) and Germany (2009-10).

In his new role as a World Cup team coach, Hetland will collaborate with Wadsworth and Bouchard on team plans including training camps and daily training. He will be the point person in Europe, providing better continuity by being present and leading the team at all World Cup races, while liaising with coaches and IST in Canada.

“It is very exciting to join a program with a talented pool of athletes, a fantastic wax team, an established sport science program and experienced administrative staff already in place,” said Hetland, who also has a keen interest in athlete development. “This is already a professionally-run program, but this sport is changing before our eyes where you need the speed of a sprinter along with the endurance of a traditional distance skier. Our main challenge in training will be to keep up with the demands of our sport and develop a team that can find the balance required to win at all levels.”

“World-leading coaching, and a strong support team are core to Canada’s cross-country ski athletes’ pursuit of excellence,” said Holland. “We believe this new structure will ensure the quality and delivery of all NST programs, while improving alignment of training centre programs. This shift will maximize the quality of the training environment through an inclusive, and collaborative approach which is critical to the long-term success of our program.”

Coaches on the National Ski Team will continue to report to Tom Holland, director of high-performance. Holland, who has been part of the national program since 1996 as the volunteer chair of the High Performance Committee and as its full-time Director of High Performance since 2006, will provide oversight and ensure a coaching environment that is seamless and integrated.

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  • wiler2

    May 7, 2014 at 12:24 pm


  • what

    May 8, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Are you for real on that theory of the USST? Like, I don’t agree with the USST on some things, but claiming that it is a conspiracy? Come on man.

  • Tim Kelley

    May 8, 2014 at 3:06 am

    Nordictribute: Interesting piece. I had to read it 3 times to try and comprehend your writing style and logic. I still don’t get your point, other than the xc ski world is very small and skiers cross paths a lot. Who’d a guessed that?

    One point I believe that you try to make, that I think is illogical, is that you have to be a former world class racer to be a world class coach. Wrong. You have to be a world class coach to be a world class coach. It doesn’t take ski results. It takes intelligence, analytic skills and communication skills. Look at the xc coaches around the world that are the most respected and have the longest tenure. Very few of them are former world class skiers. They are good coaches because they are good people and have good coaching skills.

    Grover certainly falls into the good coach category. Yeah, no one agrees with every USST decision. But having someone heading USST XC that is smart, focused and rational is a good deal. Someone like Grover could be doing other professions, like his relatives, and enjoying much greater prosperity. And if his head was more powerful than his heart for skiing, he probably would be doing that. So having someone like him at the helm is refreshing and lucky for US skiing. It seems like only yesterday the head coach was a goofball telling everyone to go “All In” when the USST was saying to go “All Out”. Bizarre. And teams back then seemed much more tainted with discretionary choices than now.

    So Nordictribute, maybe work on your writing skills a bit and then go attack something that is truly worth attacking. And maybe sign your name next time too.

    Sorry Canadians for bantering on your article.

  • D. Diehl

    May 8, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Kelly it’s interesting how you have grouped and labeled writers here as Nordie Nerds in the past. However you have more expertise on a wide range of topics than any other member on FS. Perhaps you could share the name of the USST Team coach you reference as you ask Nordictribute to reference his own name. Better yet you could step up and be the coach of the USST.

  • Big Joe

    May 9, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Funny you should mention D. Diehl. We have been in negotiations with TK to take over the helm of a recently formed renegade organization with the long-term goal of stripping USSA of its NGB status over cross-country skiing. The newly appointed board believes his wide-ranging expertise and witty sarcasm would be the perfect fit. No slight to TK but sadly Nordic Dave would not take our calls.

  • Martin Hall

    May 12, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Big Joe—talked with Nordic Dave about 3 weeks ago about that very subject—he say’s that the NNF has him as stretched out with raising money and representing himself in his office so that they recognize him there.
    A name to look into would be Bill Demong as he was mentioned in that conversation and has the credentials with all his time in the sport and medals hanging around his neck to help open the international doors at the USOC, FIS and the IOC.
    This is a very serious matter and the noose is around the Nordic disciplines neck—only one more discipline left to be axed and Nordic skiing is done in this country.
    I think these guys(USSA/USST) in there forecasting should have to be way more transparent in regards to how much money they actually get and how well they have done in the forecasting of results. Can we get to see the all the real numbers—-not just the written gospel and the rhetoric they spew. My point is, have they shown these forecasting numbers to anyone so that they can have a look at what is expected of them—-did they show NoCo where they came up short and how they came to their position and direction on defunding.
    If I was xc I would be asking for these very numbers, so they don’t get blindsided like NoCo did.
    The other thing is that I don’t see the IOC or USOC whimpering about the lack of sponsors and suppliers out there, As a matter of fact the IOC just signed a $7.5 billion dollar contract with NBC for about the next 2- 3 cycles of Olympics—-and I have a feeling this indicates their belief that there are more then enough sponsor dollars to make this work for the future. To top this off they don’t even know the sites for those next Olympics yet.
    This has to come to more then talk if Nordic skiing is going to survive in the future—-as this next year is a WSC year and if xc lays another bomb like it did this year—Tiger and Luke will be knocking on the door next spring.

  • Big Joe

    May 12, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Marty: Kidding aside I agree with you. Its only a matter of time before XC is jettisoned. I do not believe USOC will ever allow a hostile takeover (i.e. litigation approach)… The only possibility would be a negotiated and gradual transition. This is how they should have handled NoCo as Luke admitted the spinoff has been in the works since 2005. Purely conjecture, but I suspect USST and USOC have discussed what is the bear minimum USST must do to avoid USOC analysis of the NGB status and I suspect it is the cash stipends promised to the top NoCo athletes and the women on the jumping team. I think the relationship between USST and USOC is very cozy and protective. Perhaps Mr. Ruger as the athlete ombudsman at USOC could shed some light on this issue.

  • nordic_dave

    May 13, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Big Joe, good one ha!

    You can call me anytime you have my number, if not ask Jim for it.

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