Athletics Canada has fired its two top coaches.
Head coach Alex Gardiner and chief high performance officer Martin Goulet were let go by track and field’s national governing body Wednesday, on the heels of Canada’s disappointing performance at last summer’s London Olympics.
“I think now especially with dollars being involved, there’s accountability and there are performance expectations,” Athletics Canada’s CEO Rob Guy said in a phone interview from his Ottawa office. “Really we’re in the performance business, we have objectives for performance, and just like anybody else, we need to meet them.
“We get a lot of money to attempt to win medals, and when we don’t do that, we need to look at ways as to how we get better.”
Canada had set a target of three athletics medals in London but fell short, coming away with just one — Derek Drouin’s bronze in high jump.
Canada’s 4x100-metre relay team briefly celebrated what they thought was a bronze medal in London before they were disqualified after Jared Connaughton stepped on the line on the third leg.
Canada’s Paralympic track and field team brought home nine medals, missing its target of 14.
Guy said he hopes to have a head coach in place by mid-March, with the aim being a “different style and leadership structure.”
“The person needs to be able to communicate effectively with the coaches, to motivate coaches, just to create a culture of performance,” Guy said. “Maybe sometimes the message gets a little stale when people have been there for a long time.”
The team is targeting two medals at this summer’s world championships in Moscow, and 10 medals at the Paralympic world championships.
Gardiner, a Winnipeg native, was Canada’s head coach at the 2004 Athens Olympics then left Athletics Canada to work for the Canadian Olympic Committee. He returned to Athletics Canada in 2008.