The stuff of champions: pluck, planning and people

Jul 17, 2012, 06:45 ET from Investors Group Inc.

Canada's elite athletes share the winning formula for success

WINNIPEG, July 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's high performing athletes say persistence and planning are the basic, but essential drivers of their career success. For a winning formula, add the right people to coach, support and provide encouragement.

According to a new Investors Group survey, Canada's athletic champions identified personal determination (99 per cent) and being disciplined in following a plan (95 per cent) as the most important factors that helped them achieve their goals. Patience (94 per cent), support of family and friends (92 per cent), having access to financial assistance (91 per cent) and seeking the guidance of a coach or advisor (84 per cent) were also significant contributing factors.

"Canada's elite athletes are awe-inspiring, and make us all proud," says Richard Irish, Vice-President, Community Affairs and Area Marketing of Investors Group. "They also provide a valuable and motivating lesson that can be applied by other Canadians pursuing their dreams.  While going for gold may be the ultimate goal, having a plan with incremental milestones along the way plays a major role in guiding aspiring athletes in the right direction."

Investors Group commissioned the survey to explore the key qualities and resources required by high performing athletes to consistently deliver their personal best to their chosen sport, obstacles and challenges notwithstanding.

Coordinated by AthletesCAN, the survey involved 183 participants. Sixty-eight per cent of the athletes involved have been training and competing for 10 years or more.

Time and money outrank physical stress for elite athletes

Demands on time (69 per cent) and money (77 per cent) are the most stressful aspects of becoming an elite athlete, according to the survey. Canada's elite athletes spend an average of $15,743 per year to train but earn only $21,484. To financially support their training, athletes rely on a mix of resources but mainly depend on financial support from parents and family (54 per cent) and bursaries or scholarships (52 per cent).

Meanwhile, physical (66 per cent) and emotional (61 per cent) demands are ranked slightly lower as stress contributors. Half of the respondents indicated that the demands of their athletic career have also impacted relationships with family and friends.

"Our Canadian athletes have extraordinary talents and skills, but many also face unique challenges," says Tracy Taylor, Interim Executive Director of AthletesCAN. "Adequate support and resources are critical especially for career athletes who devote their entire lives to their sport and make significant investments of time and money to succeed. While there are a number of resources available to athletes today, pursuing an athletic career is an area where one can never have too much support and advanced planning."

Training for their sport and coping with some of the challenges has strengthened other life and financial skills, said the survey respondents. Seventy-four per cent say they are better equipped to live within a budget, and have stronger spending discipline, while 45 per cent said their credit/debt management has improved.

"Striving to achieve a personal dream requires 100 per cent focus and determination," says elite Canadian pentathlete Joshua Riker-Fox. "To help me maintain a clear vision of my goals, I know that having a solid plan and strong support will help me get there."

Investors Group annually awards twenty $5,000 bursaries to assist Canada's elite amateur athletes with the costs of training and competition through the Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund. Since its inception in 2000, the Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund has provided more than $1,300,000 to Canadian athletes. AthletesCAN administers the bursary on behalf of Investors Group

Note to media: Interviews with some of Canada's top elite amateur athletes are available. More information and details are available upon request.

About the Survey Methodology

The data was gathered between June 25th and July 1st, 2012.  The survey was programmed, translated and hosted by Harris/Decima.  Invitations to the survey were sent to a pre-determined list of Canadian athletes by AthletesCAN on behalf of Investors Group.  Once data collection was completed, Harris/Decima tabulated the results of the survey. 

About Investors Group

Investors Group, founded in 1926, is a national leader in delivering personalized financial solutions to Canadians through a network of more than 4,500 Consultants located throughout Canada. In addition to an exclusive family of mutual funds and other investment vehicles, Investors Group offers a wide range of insurance, securities, mortgage and other financial services. Investors Group is a member of the IGM Financial Inc. (TSX: IGM) group of companies. IGM Financial is one of Canada's premier financial services companies with over $118 billion as of June 30, 2012 in total assets under management.

For more media information, please see: Investors Group's Media Room, follow @Investors_Group on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

SOURCE Investors Group Inc.