Five Key Things To Watch Out For In Canadian Amateur Sport In 2024: #2 High Performance Back In The Limelight.

Capitis Consulting - Paul Varian MBA, C.Dir picture
Paul Varian MBA, C.Dir

In recent years, high performance sport has taken a bit of a battering in Canadian sport. Allegations of harassment and abuse from current and former athletes have been combined with some disappointing results on the international sports stage.

Notably, both Canada’s men’s and women’s soccer teams were a bust at their respective FIFA World Cups in 2022 and 2023 after going on strike and bickering with their national bodies over who should be paid what and how near to the pilot they got to sit in the plane. It seemed everyone forgot that playing for Canada should be all about the privilege of wearing the jersey and pride in the maple leaf. Egos soared, results plummeted.

Other disputes and allegations in bobsleigh, gymnastics and other sports have also occurred and it has started to feel that our national athletes are more a source of scandal and conflict, than pride and celebration.

But expect that to change come July, when the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games hit the world stage. High performance sport will at last be back in the limelight for the right reasons.

I have no idea how many medals Canada is aiming or hoping for at these Games. But frankly, it doesn’t matter (except to national sport federations who are anxious to retain their high performance government funding).

The older I become, and longer in the tooth I get in the sport system, the more I realize that sport isn’t about the result. It’s about everything around it. As Beijing 2008 Canadian gold medalist Adam Kreek once said to me, ‘performance is a peak; it’s what’s on either side that is the important stuff’.

So regardless of the medals, and Canada will doubtless win some, the Olympics will touch our hearts with great stories. Stories about climbing that peak, maybe reaching the summit, maybe not. Stories about the people who surround the athletes and raise them on their shoulders to touch their dreams. As always, it will be back-of-the-neck-tingling, eye-watering stuff.

Olympism epitomizes sport and what is great about it. We watch in awe at these specimens of human physical perfection and feel so proud of our country that they represent. We feel the elation of their success and pain of their failure. Through Olympism, we become the athletes, and them us. It truly is a uniquely powerful thing.

So be ready for it at the end of the summer. Whatever has been bad or negative about high performance sport in the recent past, it’ll change in a heartbeat on July 26th when the opening ceremony begins and Canada’s Olympic athletes walk into the stadium.


Paul Varian is the President of Capitis Consulting Inc., a boutique management consultancy focused on adding value in and around the amateur sport Boardroom. He is the author of Amazon #1 Best Selling Soccer Management Book ‘Don’t Blame The Soccer Parents’, and host of amateur soccer management podcast The Regista Room. Subscribe for free at and access all Paul's articles, The Regista Room podcast and his sport business management e-tutorials!