Canadian Olympic Committee Partners With SAS Canada On Data Analytics

TORONTO, ON – JANUARY 18: Canadian Olympic Committee partnership with SAS on January 18, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, Canada.

The Canadian Olympic Committee announced an eight-year partnership with SAS Canada, marking the COC’s first analytics partnership.

This agreement also makes the COC the first national Olympic committee to form a long-term partnership with an analytics company, using data to give athletes and coaches an extra advantage in maximizing their performance outcomes.

“This one of its kind partnership is a game changer in high performance sport in Canada,” Chris Overholt, CEO & Secretary General of COC said in a statement. “SAS, as the world leading analytics company, will provide the technology and expertise to drive data-driven decision making in order to boost athlete performances at future Games. We are thrilled to work with SAS to help our athletes win more medals.”

SAS’s analytics platform is aimed to help the COC use the data available to gain insights and project future scenarios that can help enhance the performance of the athletes who hope to make it up on the Olympic podium.

The data generated will help coaches find the right resources to get the best results, identify the most promising athletes and pinpoint the key factors that will improve training programs.

A four-time Olympic medalist in canoe sprint, Adam van Koeverden told The Province that the data has already had an impact on the different between his current training techniques and those he used two decades ago. Athletes can see the output of each stroke and the elements of each stroke to figure out where power is lost or gained.

For Heather Moyse, the two-time gold medalist in bobsleigh, analytics means “taking the guessing game” out of the sport.

“Sports you win on inches and fractions of a second. It’s all about timing when you are in the sled and if you are off by a hundreds of a second you lost,” Moyse told IT Business Canada. “If I position my first step an inch too far; I’ve overstepped and will not get the power and speed I need to win. More information from the data means more knowledge and knowledge is power. Even by telling us what the data means can be invaluable to an athlete.”

This partnership will help transform the COC into a data-driven organization equipped with fact-based decision-making capabilities.

It will also lead to the formation of an analytics advisory council made up of data analysts and sports experts who will work to find the best ways to use analytics.

“This is an opportunity for the Canadian sport community to take a leadership role in using analytics to track and improve performance,” Mark Eckert, President and CEO of Volleyball Canada said in a statement. “Volleyball Canada has made advances in this area over the past few years that are very interesting, but our sport would benefit greatly from the resources of a sophisticated analytics powerhouse. We are excited about this partnership and how it could help volleyball and other team sports identify competitive advantages.”