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Kelly VanderBeek's winter fortune

From visiting the local food banks just to fill the cupboard to asking their parents for loans, Canadian amateur athletes have to make great sacrifices in order to realize their Olympic dreams. They say the federal government doesn't spend enough on amateur sport. But federal ministers like Otto Jelinek argue that athletes should not expect government handouts.

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Kelly VanderBeek is doing what she can to help out boyfriend David Ford. When the top-ranked downhill skier isn't training, she grabs a video camera and films his whitewater kayaking runs. Ford is a top-ranked athlete too, but they're both very aware that her sport gets generous government funding while his sport must make do. VanderBeek describes how fortunate she is when she's on the slopes. In this 2007 CBC-TV report from The National, Ford says he feels like a forgotten entity. "Living with a winter athlete ... it's in your face how much the winter athletes have right now," he says.
• The reason for the funding disparity was the approaching Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, Helena Guergis, Secretary of State for Sport, explains in this interview. "It's important that Canada fares well on its own turf," she says. "We've put ... a little over half a billion dollars in preparing for the 2010 Games. And I think that that's really important because we've got all eyes on Canada." • Kelly VanderBeek was born Jan. 21, 1983 in Kapuskasing, Ont. and grew up in Kitchener, Ont. She began skiing at age three and racing at eight. As of 2009 VanderBeek and her husband David Ford, live in Chilliwack, B.C. The pair married on April 25, 2009. .

• According to her website, her nicknames are Beeker, Little Lady and Peanut.

• VanderBeek competed at the 2006 Torino Winter Games. She finished fourth in the Super G (Super Giant Slalom), missing the bronze medal by three-hundredths of a second. On the World Cup circuit, she has 12 top 10 career finishes in the downhill and 10 top 10 finishes in Super G. As a junior, she finished third in the Super G in both the 2002 and 2003 World Junior Championships.

• As of 2009, Ford has competed at five Olympic Games in whitewater kayaking, beginning with the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona. He finished sixth in Beijing in 2008 and fourth in Athens in 2004.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Aug. 8, 2007
Guest(s): Alex Baumann, David Ford, Helena Guergis, Kelly VanderBeek
Host: Carole MacNeil
Reporter: Rosemary Barton
Duration: 4:17
This clip was edited for copyright reasons. World Cup race footage: International Ski Federation

Last updated: February 15, 2012

Page consulted on October 9, 2014

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