Canada's golden generation yet to hit jackpot

Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:04pm EDT
 
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian athletes who won a record haul of Winter Olympic gold medals face a race against time to secure life-changing endorsement deals before they are forgotten.

Less than two months after the Vancouver Games ended with the host nation on top of the medals table with 14 golds, Canada's golden generation are still waiting to cash in on their success.

One expert suggests Canada's much hyped 'Own the Podium' campaign, designed to ensure its athletes had a good showing, may have dented their chances at landing lucrative deals.

"We had so many gold medal winners that it does somewhat diminish the opportunities," Ken Wong, marketing professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"But having said that, it's safe to say that some of them probably never had huge opportunities to start with, even if they had been the only gold medal winner."

According to Wong, personality, appearance and whether or not there is an intriguing story behind the medal winner all factor into whether athletes land major endorsement deals.

Ashleigh McIvor, who won gold in the Olympic debut of women's ski cross, has been busy with speaking engagements and corporate events and said a deal with a shampoo company or promoting sporting attire may not be far off.

"There are some things in the works," McIvor told Reuters by telephone. "The whole idea for me in the short term is to make it possible to continue racing through the next Olympics and it would help to not have to have a summer job."   Continued...

 
<p>Ashleigh McIvor of Canada displays her gold medal during the medal ceremony for the women's ski cross freestyle skiing competition at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 23, 2010. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>