Sprott to donate $100,000 for every gold medal won
The price of gold in Vancouver jumped to $100,000 per medallion on Thursday.
For every gold medal won by a Canadian athlete at the Olympics, Sprott Asset Management LP and the Sprott Foundation will donate $100,000 to the Canadian Athletes Now Fund (CAN Fund), CEO Eric Sprott announced.
"With our Canadian athletes competing for gold against the best in the world, we wanted to celebrate their success in achieving their goals by supporting the CAN Fund, which provides direct funding to Canadian athletes," Sprott said in a news release Thursday.
Jane Roos, who founded the non-profit CAN Fund 12 years ago, met with Sprott in January to discuss the possibility of doing something special when the nation's first Olympic gold medal is won on Canadian soil.
Sprott, which is based in Toronto, wanted to help celebrate the success of Canadian athletes by ensuring that future athletes have the same opportunities, Roos said.
"So the [athlete] winning the gold is going to be celebrating their own victory, but will be helping 16 other athletes with the $100,000 that we're giving," said Sprott spokesperson Ida Khajadourian.
The extra funding will go to support summer athletes, who have not received as much support as the Canadians competing in Vancouver, Roos said.
'Peace of mind'
In addition to the $100,000 per gold medal pledge, the Toronto-based firm donated $215,000 to help 35 athletes on a CAN Fund wait list.
Each athlete supported by CAN Fund receives $6,000. That money goes towards training and travel expenses, teams fees, coaching costs, and living expenses.
The CAN Fund has provided funding to 80 per cent of Canada's Olympic athletes for the Vancouver Games, and is looking to build support for athletes preparing for upcoming Olympics.
Cross-country skier George Grey is one of those recipients. He found out that he would receive support from the CAN Fund two weeks ago.
"What it means to me is it's peace of mind," Grey told the CBC's Teddy Katz. "I can now get my family to the Olympics and know that it's a bill I'm not going to have to worry about down the road."
"Everything is covered so that I can focus on what I have to do, and that's racing fast," he said.
Just getting by
Grey said the $100,000 donation per gold medal is a great initiative because the money goes to others in the system and not directly to the gold medal winners.
"It's huge because it impacts all athletes, not just the top of each sport in the nation," he said.
While a lot of top athletes are fortunate to receive sponsorships, slightly lower lever athletes with great potential are not able to secure a sponsorship deal and are just getting by, Grey said.
"We're trying to help fund future athletes so that we have more success stories in Canada," said Khajadourian. "People don't realize a lot of these athletes come out of the Games in a net debt situation."
Sprott is asking other corporations to partner with the initiative, potentially raising the amount of money donated to the CAN Fund. On Thursday, the Sprott Foundation launched a website to accept public donations to the initiative.
"In order to succeed on the world stage, you need direct funding," Roos said. "Everybody knows that right after the Games funding drops significantly, so this ensures funding for us."