Ottawa - Athletics Canada, the national governing body for track and field, cross country, road running and road racing, officially announced today the hiring of Peter Eriksson as Olympic and Paralympic Head Coach. Eriksson, from Ottawa, Ont., officially begins in the role August 1.
"It is a privilege and honour to be named Athletics Canada Head Coach, on a personal level it's also a wonderful opportunity as I recently moved back to Ottawa in order to be with my family," said Eriksson. Peter Eriksson brings over 30 years of coaching experience, most recently as Head Coach with UK Athletics (October 2012 to June 2013) and Head Coach and Performance Director of the Paralympic program for the British federation (2009 to October 2012).
Eriksson adds, "I plan to continue with the same approach and methods that led to success at the Paralympic games, strong performance management of our best medal prospects to maximise the likelihood of podium performances at the Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as World Championships."
The integrated Head Coach position is something Coach Eriksson truly believes in, "All identified athletes, Olympic or Paralympic, must have the same opportunities in terms of coaching, facilities, support services, training environments and expectations." He adds, "Streamlining the Head Coach role is the right approach for true integration and will further strengthen Athletics Canada's position as a worldwide leader in delivering a fully integrated program."
At the 2012 Olympic Games Athletics Canada's track and field team recorded 12 top 12 finishes and 8 athletes finished in the top 8 of their respective event. The majority of these athletes were 25 years of age and younger. "The Olympic program is moving in the right direction to meet medal targets at major international events, we have a lot of young athletes who are stepping up to the challenge, that is very encouraging," said Eriksson.
Athletics Canada is in the process of reviewing the Olympic and Paralympic high performance program through a thorough review led by Peter Davis of Sport Performance Management, the outcome of this review will guide the organization to ensure it meets its performance objectives. Peter Eriksson, as Head Coach, will direct the high performance program beginning in the fall based on the findings and recommendations of the review. Eriksson, "It's important that, as an organization, we keep in mind that Own The Podium and Sport Canada invest in medals at major events, this must always be our guiding light."
"The search for an integrated (Olympic and Paralympic) Head Coach began in late January, as an organization we felt it was important to take our time and not rush the process, really take a look at the complete landscape and find the right fit so that we can achieve our international medal targets," said Rob Guy, Athletics Canada Chief Executive Officer. Guy adds, "We saw a wonderful opportunity and reached out to Peter when he stepped down from his role at UK Athletics and announced he was moving back to Canada to be closer to his family."
Guy says, "Through an extensive process we quickly identified that Peter was our guy, it was a delicate process from there as he still had some responsibilities to finish up with UK Athletics. Throughout this process Peter was very loyal to his former employer, and we think that's a great quality. I look forward to that level of devotion coming to athletics in Canada."
Coach Eriksson has led athletes and programmes to win more than 125 medals at the Paralympic Games, Olympic Games, World Championships and other major international events. Most notably he was Chantal Petitclerc's personal coach as she raced to ten gold medals and seven world records at the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games. In his role with UK Athletics he took them from 18th at the 2008 World Championship to top three at the 2011 edition. Most recently he led the British Olympic team to their highest score at the 2013 European Team Championship in Gateshead, England and a third place finish at the 2013 Indoor European Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.
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