Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Kevin Wamsley

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Michael Heine

Joint Supervisor


Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the Canadian government has played an increasingly significant role in influencing the direction of sport in Canada. The current Canadian high performance sport system, Own the Podium (OTP), was preceded by various attempts at establishing a competitive Canadian Olympic Team. Oftentimes, the justification for the significant distribution of money in high performance sport funding was that international victories would promote nation building and nationalism. As a result of the high priority placed on international sporting victories across the globe, Canada currently has a merit-based Olympic funding program, that exemplifies the encouraged competitiveness and win at all costs attitude existent in the high performance sport system. This dissertation examines how interpretations of nationalism on the part of Canadian citizens, represented through the media, have developed throughout the past 20 years, from Calgary 1988 to Vancouver 2010. Further, the dissertation examines how the investments made in high performance sport by the Canadian government, particularly its most recent Own the Podium program contributed to a version of Canadian winter sport nationalism that helped to legitimize public spending on high performance sport.