Own the Podium enlists Canadian Tire’s data team for Olympic drive

Jered Stuffco April 27, 2015

Canadian Tire’s team of data crunchers is working with Canada’s Olympic program in a bid to pump up the nation’s podium pursuits.

While Canadian Tire is already a first-tier partner of the medal-focused Own the Podium program, Monday’s announcement takes the relationship a step further.

In fact, more than a dozen collaborative projects using predictive modeling are already occurring with Own the Podium, the decade-old program designed to increase Canada’s performance at major athletic events.

“We’re very proud to be able to use our analytics capabilities to help Own the Podium make decisions that will result in more Canadians achieving their Olympic gold medal dreams,” said Canadian Tire senior vice-president Duncan Fulton in a press release on Monday.

“With our analysis and predictive models, Own the Podium will be able to make new funding decisions that will better help Canadian athletes train, compete and dominate on the world stage.”

Over the next three years, Canadian Tire’s analysts will pore over decades worth of competition results dating back to the 1930s and juice as many insights out of the data as possible.

The team will then come up with new insights and will also identify trends in the development, performance and results of athletes over their careers.

Those insights can then be applied to the next generation of athletes.

Specifically, the company said one of the goals is to use predictive modeling to find out which athletes are most likely to win big at future Olympics and other major competitions, given their current performance.

Data will also be gleaned to help athletes and coaches in their training programs as they pursue victory.

The organizers gave one scenario of how the program could give Canada the edge at future competitions:

Looking at swimming data over several decades, the program’s Sports Analytics specialists will look at the careers of the globe’s top swimmers. Taking all the numbers together, the analysts will be able to create a predictive curve that will show the race times needed for victory at future competitions. This will then allow coaches to know if Canadian athletes are on the right track to win at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

“Olympic and Paralympic medals are often won by inches, or even, blinks of an eye,” said Own the Podium CEO Anne Merklinger.

“We believe data analytics will be another difference maker in our continued quest to close those small gaps on the world stage and deliver more medals for Canada.”