Bedard a corporate dream

Myriam Bedard, Canada's most successful female Winter Olympian, has just a short time to cash in on her two gold medals before interest in her accomplishment wanes, says one representative of the country's top athletes.Kevin Albrecht, vice-president, athletes' representation, at International...

Myriam Bedard, Canada’s most successful female Winter Olympian, has just a short time to cash in on her two gold medals before interest in her accomplishment wanes, says one representative of the country’s top athletes.

Kevin Albrecht, vice-president, athletes’ representation, at International Management Group in Toronto, says biathlete Bedard is everything a corporation could wish for.

But Albrecht says those managing her affairs must act quickly before the commercial value of her medals lessens.

He says biathlon has a low tv profile in Canada, and wonders if there are more than 50 people in the country who pursue the Nordic sport that combines cross-country skiing and target rifle shooting.

Bedard won gold medals in the 7.5-kilometre and the 15-km. races.

Albrecht says Bedard’s representatives should already be talking about licensing and merchandising to interested parties.

Albrecht says the day after his client, bronze winner Edi Podivinsky, took the podium, 220 updated promotional packages on the skier were sent out to likely ad agencies and corporations.

Michel Barsalou, managing director of marketing and public affairs at Metropolitan Life, says it is too early to say how his company will leverage its ‘financial support’ agreement with Bedard.

Also, Barsalou says the biathlon season is not over for Bedard, adding, she has to compete in two events Metropolitan Life is sponsoring in Alberta this month.

Barsalou says Bedard’s contract with Metropolitan Life runs until May anyway, but he leaves little doubt the Ottawa-based company would like to see the Neufchatel, Que. native return to the fold.

Bedard signed the financial support deal with Metropolitan Life in 1992 after executives at the insurance firm saw her interviewed on tv after she won a bronze medal in the biathlon at the Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France two years ago.

Albrecht says if Bedard, 24, were his client, he would be selling her really hard in the Quebec market and to some packaged goods manufacturers since she appeals to a female demographic.

He says he would also pursue the motivational speech market for Bedard as well.