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Winning Olympic Coaches at National Coach Workshop

March 30, 2006 – The Women in Coaching program of the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) will hold its annual National Coach Workshop, March 31 — April 2, at the Briars Resort, Jackson’s Point, Lake Simcoe, Ont.

Three of Canada’s most successful 2006 Olympic Winter Games coaches “” women’s hockey coach Melody Davidson of Oyen, Alta., long track speed skating coach Xiuli Wang of Calgary, Alta., and national skeleton coach Teresa Schlachter of Canmore, Alta. “” will share their personal experiences and provide insights into the just-completed Olympic cycle.

The head coach of the women’s team since May 2004, Davidson crafted an outstanding march to the top of the podium in Torino, where the team was undefeated. She was also the head coach when the team captured the 2000 world championship and was an assistant coach of the 2002 Olympic team and the 1994 and 2001 world championship teams. At the 2005 worlds, she coached the team to the silver medal, losing to the United States in a shootout. It was Canada’s only goal against of the tournament. As head coach of Cornell University’s Women’s NCAA Division 1 team, Davidson has guided the Big Red to two straight Eastern College Athletic Conference play-offs, increasing the win totals each year.

Wang coached four 2006 Olympians “” 5,000m champion and team pursuit silver medallist Clara Hughes of Glen Sutton, Que., 1,500m and team pursuit silver medallist Kristina Groves of Ottawa, and men’s team pursuit silver medallists Arne Dankers and Steven Elm, both of Calgary. The 1,500m world champion in 1990, Wang began working at Calgary’s Olympic Oval in 1998 as coordinator of the Bronze One-on-One program. She has been national coach of the all-round program since 2002.

Three of Schlachter’s athletes “” gold medallist Duff Gibson, silver medallist Jeff Pain, and bronze medallist Mellisa Hollingsworth-Richards “” stepped onto the Olympic podium at Torino. As a brakeman with the national bobsleigh team, she appeared at two world championships and numerous World Cups and at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games as an alternate. Moving on to a coaching career, Schlachter, who has a master’s degree in high performance coaching, became high performance director of Bobsleigh Canada’s skeleton program. After Canada won seven medals at three world skeleton championships, she was made general manager and head coach for the 2006 Games.

Also presenting will be CBC-TV Olympic host Terry Leibel. A member of the national equestrian team for 10 years, she is Canada’s premier show jumping analyst. She was the first woman to co-host CBC Sports’ Olympic coverage, the first woman to host a national sports program, and the first woman to do Olympic play-by-plays.

Other presenters include Laryssa Biesenthal of Victoria, coach of the 2005 world champion lightweight four, and Natascha Wesch of London, Ont., the head coach of Canada’s U19 women’s rugby team, who will discuss how they created unique professional development experiences for themselves and their athletes.

The workshop facilitator is Dr. Penny Werthner, a professor in the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, who will also discuss her experiences as a sport psychologist with several of Canada’s winter and summer Olympic teams.

Also in attendance will be women holding national head coach or assistant coach positions, junior national team coaches, and national team apprentice coaches. The workshop is being organized by Sheilagh Croxon of Toronto, head coach of Canada’s bronze medallist synchro team at the 2000 Olympic Games and now a consultant with the Women in Coaching program.

The objectives of the workshop are to

· develop a support network of peer women coaches.

· provide feedback on coaching plans, particularly for the 2006/2007 season, and generate new ideas.

· understand and appreciate the unique environment of the Olympic Games.

The Women in Coaching program is a national campaign to increase the number of coaching opportunities for women at all levels of sport. Since 1987, women coaches across Canada have benefited from professional development grants, major Games apprenticeship grants, and National Coaching Institute scholarships. The program also develops resources for women coaches including the Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching, http://www.coach.ca

CAC is a not-for-profit amateur sport organization with the mandate to improve the effectiveness of coaching across all sports and at all levels of the sport system. Visit www.coach.ca for more information about coach education and training and the Women in Coaching program.

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