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The group, which dubbed itself the "Genie Army

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The group, which dubbed itself the "Genie Army 
By dengdai on Mar 22, 2014 03:22 AM
Ken Read is resigning from one of the most powerful positions in Canadian sport. The former Crazy Canuck on the Canadian mens alpine ski team is stepping down as director of winter sport for Own The Podium less than a year out from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The 57-year-old from Calgary says "it was time to step away and move on." "Ive been with OTP in one form or another for a decade," Read told The Canadian Press on Monday. "Thats a long time. "Im absolutely 100 per cent dedicated to what OTP and the concept of what it does for sport in Canada, but I also believe that youre multi-tasking, dealing with a lot of sports. Theres a time where you can be doing that and then you step aside and give other people opportunities." Canadas goal at the 2014 Olympics is to win more medals than any other country and to finish in the top three in gold medals won at the Paralympics. Read took the position of winter sport director in 2010 after the Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., to oversee all 13 winter-sport federations heading into Sochi. OTPs winter and summer sport directors answer to chief executive officer Anne Merklinger. Reads contract was due to expire in 2014. The programs long-term planning for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, starts next month. Read says he informed Merklinger two weeks ago that he didnt intend to remain winter sport director into the next quadrennial. They felt the time to look for a replacement candidate is now and Read will leave OTP on March 28. "Theres never a good time for Own The Podium to lose a key member of our leadership team," Merklinger said. "I think its fair to say that Ken will be a part of every medal thats won in Sochi, for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. "Kens been a tremendous leader for the winter sport group and has continued to push the bar for all the winter sport federations in focusing on preparations for Sochi. "The positive is hes established a really solid foundation with the winter sport advisers that hes led. Together, the winter sport advisors and the rest of the organization will really remain focused on all the necessary support required for athletes and coaches heading into Sochi fully prepared." Its the second Olympics in a row in which OTP has lost a leader close to the Games. Alex Baumann resigned as CEO less than a year out from the 2012 Summer Games in London. Merklinger, Baumanns successor, says shell handle Reads duties until a new winter sport director is appointed in May. "Well have a very good search," she said. "A world-wide search, but we have great winter-sport leaders in Canada. We need to make sure theres no disruption or distraction between now and Sochi, so that will obviously be part of the search process." Read skied for Canada from 1973 to 1983 and in two Winter Olympics. When Read was head of Alpine Canada, he was among the sport leaders that founded OTP in 2004 and he also served on its steering committee leading up to the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy. OTP was established to get as many athletes on the podium as possible when Canada hosted the 2010 Olympics. The organization has continued after winning the gold-medal count in Vancouver with a 14. Read says hell continue to serve on the executive board of FIS, the worlds governing body of skiing, and on its subcommittees. He also sits on the boards of Norquay ski resort near Banff and Score Media. The chief executive officer of WinSport, which oversees the legacy from the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, recently stepped down and the organization is operating under an interim. But when asked, Read said he will not be the next CEO of WinSport. "My heart is always in alpine skiing and to some degree Ill always be involved in alpine skiing in one form or another," Read said. "Ive got plenty of irons in the fire. "To me, I look at it at as an opportunity for OTP, of bringing in fresh thinking and new energy, as we take a country who is really in a position to contend for No. 1 and how do we try to ensure that continues? Thats in all the different sports and not just the one Im familiar with. "Thats a wide net and its a lot of energy and requires a lot of creative thinking working with the sports centres and with the sports technical leadership." So Read leaves OTP confident Canada will have an excellent performance in Sochi. "Saying were contending for number one is a pretty profound statement in itself," he said. "It also doesnt turn around and say to all the athletes who will be on the Olympic and Paralympic teams that we are demanding you step up deliver. "It says were giving you the resources. The bottom line though is youve got to stand in the start gate, go out on the sheet or into the game and we just dont want you to have any doubts. All you have to do is do what you love to do." http://www.ericdeckerjetsjersey.com/ . returned an interception 55 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in Texas A&Ms 52-48 victory over Duke on Tuesday night in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.MONTREAL -- Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard says she had no problem with a controversial question she fielded at last months Australian Open, moments after the biggest win of her career. The 19-year-old from Westmount, Que., had just become the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in 30 years when she was asked by an on-court female interviewer who she would like to date, if she could choose anyone in the world. Many observers quickly deemed the question sexist, with some asking whether a similar query would ever be put to a male athlete. The exchange attracted even more attention because Bouchard, apparently caught off guard by the question, blurted out an unexpected response on live TV: "Um, Justin Bieber?" Her reference to the Canadian pop star seemed to be tongue-in-cheek. Bouchard, who will represent Canada at this weekends Federation Cup in Montreal, said Wednesday she thought the question was all in good fun and she was happy to play along. "I think it was a fine question, you know, I think its entertainment for the fans," Bouchard said when asked at a Fed Cup news conference if she thought the Australian Open question was sexist. "It was actually a fan question, so at the end of the day, its for the fans and, if thats what theyre curious about, well thats fine by me." The No. 19-ranked Bouchard said she might like to know more herself about who, for example, a certain soccer player would want to date. Sometimes, she added, it can be fun to handle questions about something other than tennis because the answers might interest a broader audience. When asked if she thought a male athlete might receive a similar question, Bouchard didnt directly respond, saying the fact shes a younger player might explain why she got such a query. &qquot;You know, they wouldnt ask Roger Federer that question -- obviously, hes married and has kids," she said, referring to the 32-year-old Swiss tennis legend.dddddddddddd. "But I dont know, maybe, I think they should (ask) other single tennis players. Why not?" The question came after Bouchard, who was the 30th seed at the Australian Open, completed a stunning 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 upset of former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic. The victory made her the first Canadian to reach the semis at a Grand Slam since Carling Bassett-Seguso at the 1984 U.S. Open. Bouchards impressive run in Melbourne came to an end a couple of days later when she lost 6-2, 6-4 to fourth-seeded Li Na of China in the semifinal. But her accomplishments caught the attention of tennis fans in Canada and abroad, including a group of a dozen or so raucous Aussies who became her unofficial cheering section at every match. The group, which dubbed itself the "Genie Army," wore T-shirts that spelled her name, belted out cheers composed just for her and tossed stuffed animals to her on the court following each of her appearances. Bouchard was asked Wednesday about how much things have changed since her emergence at the Australian Open, where some commentators called her next big thing in womens tennis and a potential future Grand Slam tournament champion. "For sure theres been more attention and I think it comes with the job," said Bouchard, who added that more people now recognize her on the street. "It just shows, you know, if you have success on court, youll get attention off the court. But my first priority is tennis and I focus on that and make sure I get everything I need to do done. "And then if theres other attention off the court, well, thats a good thing." ' ' '
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