Canadian Amateur Sports Series, Bell Spirit of the Game, Premieres This Sunday on TSN

TSN gives viewers a behind-the-scenes perspective of the intriguing – and often controversial – world of Canadian amateur sports with the six-part TSN original series
Bell
Spirit of the Game. The series will air
Sundays at 11 a.m. ET, premiering February 25 and running through April 1 with numerous encores each week.

Created in conjunction with Toronto-based Bradford Productions, Bell
Spirit of the Game was produced in High Definition and will be available on TSN HD. The series will also be available to Canadians on-demand on TSN Broadband at www.tsn.ca.

Each 30-minute episode explores the world of Canadian amateur sports beyond the playing field. Host Brian Williams talks with athletes, coaches and power brokers in the industry and investigates various contentious topics, including drug testing, the sensitive relationship between parents, coaches and athletes, and a touching story on how Canadian soldiers injured in the line of duty are recruited to become Paralympians.

Episode 1 – Sunday, February 25 at 11 a.m. ET

(Encores: March 1 at 4 p.m. ET, March 2 at 9:30 p.m. ET, March 4 at 12:30 a.m. ET, March 5 at 3:30 a.m. ET)

In the premiere episode, Brian Williams examines why Quebec’s funding of amateur sports is greater than any other province, in total and per capita, raising the bar for other provinces. The episode also includes a feature on the revitalization of

Canada’s ski jumping team, including comments from the man responsible for the rebirth – Ron Read, Ken Read’s brother.

Episode 2 – Sunday, March 4 at 11 a.m. ET

(Encores: March 11 at 12:30 a.m. ET, March 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET, March 14 at 8 p.m. ET, March 15 at 5:30 a.m. ET)

Brian Williams anchors an emotional feature on ‘Soldier On’, a program in which the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the Canadian Forces have come together to give new hope to wounded soldiers. Williams talks with soldiers and General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff,
who is heavily involved in the program. The second story in this episode looks at the
National
Sport
School in

Calgary, which provides an environment for high-performance student athletes, enabling them to pursue excellence in both their athletic and academic careers.

Episode 3 – Sunday, March 11 at 11 a.m. ET

(Encores: March 15 at 12:30 a.m. ET and 1:30 p.m. ET, March 17 at 7 p.m. ET, March 19 at 4:30 a.m. ET)

The entire episode is devoted to the battle against doping in sports. The story takes viewers behind the scenes at doping control and inside the lab to see how a urine sample is processed and how officials determine if an athlete has cheated. Brian Williams also goes one-on-one with Dick Pound, the controversial Canadian who is chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Episode 4 – Sunday, March 18 at 11 a.m. ET

(Encores: March 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET, March 22 at 12:30 a.m. ET, March 25 at 9:30 p.m. ET, March 29 at 3:30 a.m. ET)

With the Far East becoming a rising power in international figure skating, Episode 4 looks at how Canada is planning to meet the challenge and be competitive on the ice. Brian Williams spoke with many in the skating community, including Brian Orser, Tracy Wilson and William Thompson, the new CEO of Skate Canada. In the second part of the episode, Williams catches up with
Newfoundland curler Brad Gushue one year after his gold medal triumph at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin.

Episode 5 – Sunday, March 25 at 11 a.m. ET

(Encores: March 28 at 12:30 p.m. ET, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 12 midnight ET, April 5 at 3:30 a.m. ET)

Brian Williams looks at ‘Own the Podium’, an aggressive plan by the Canadian Olympic Committee and VANOC to win top spot in the medal standings at Vancouver 2010.
Canada’s female athletes won 16 of the country’s 24 medals at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in

Turin, and as a result, Episode 5 also features a segment called ‘Women Warriors’, in which female athletes reveal their secrets for ensuring peak performance in pressure situations. Viewers will also hear about ‘Fast and Female’ – a program created by 23-year-old Chandra Crawford, an Olympic gold medalist in cross country skiing, to help foster self-worth and pride in young female athletes.

Episode 6 – Sunday, April 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET

(Encores: April 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET, April 4 at 1 p.m. ET, April 5 at 12 midnight ET, April 9 at 3:30 a.m. ET)

The finale examines the highly publicized relationships between coaches and athletes and what is being done to ensure the trust parents place in the hands of these coaches is not betrayed. The second part of the episode provides an update on Vancouver 2010, as Brian Williams spends a day with John Furlong, CEO of VANOC, and gets a sneak peak at some of the city’s new Olympic facilities. Williams also speaks with B.C. MLA Harry Bains, the province’s NDP Olympic critic.

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