Edeh gives sport professionals an athlete's perspective

by Edith Katz, Program Assistant, DIA/DSA

"Sport has been my world since I can remember." This is the way Rosey Edeh introduced her presentation on the relationship between business and sport on April 4 to students in the graduate Diploma in Sport Administration (DSA) program.

Edeh, who represented Canada at three Olympic Games (1988, 1992 and 1996) and still holds the Canadian record in the senior women's 400-metre hurdles, contrasted the worlds of amateur sport in the United States and Canada to emphasize the need for more resources at all levels in this country. Her long athletic career has given her the opportunity to see how other countries support their athletes at all stages of their development.

She described the history of Sport Canada's financing of high-level amateur sport. By contrast, she said that in the U.S. and some European countries, such as the U.K. and France, corporations and governments ensure that athletes have the resources necessary to reach their full potential. One of the major sources of funds for British athletes, for example, is a national lottery corporation that gives top-level athletes an income of approximately $40,000 per year.

Professionals in sport marketing and management, which many students in her audience hope to become, play an important role, she said, guiding sport federations and individual athletes in obtaining sponsorships and making the most of their resources. The Canadian men's 400-metre relay team get financial support from UPS, the courier company, that enables them to train together more often and intensively. This has led directly to Olympic medals.

She was asked about the dangers of more corporate involve- ment in amateur sport and the possible consequences to young athletes who will face increased pressure to win. Edeh said that in fact, athletes manage the inherent pressure in competition quite well, and they enjoy having a measure of financial security.

She pointed out some other issues that should interest the DSA students, such as equity in funding for women's athletes, bilingualism in Canadian sport, and how cultural differences may influence the popularity of amateur sport in different countries. Her advice to amateur sport organizations is to start looking for corporate sponsorships at the regional and local levels.

Edeh's own academic career started with aBFA from Rice University, in Texas, and she is currently completing her Master's thesis at Concordia in Art History. She is a sports journalist on CBC Radio's Daybreak, CFCF and Global TV, and a columnist for Panache magazine. She also does volunteer work for many charitable organizations, including the Quebec Special Olympics.

Edeh b+w
Rosey Edeh, right, talks with Marketing professor Steven Appelbaum.
Professor Clarence Bayne (DIA/DSA Director) stands in the background.

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