Monday’s announcement by CANOC Broadcasting Inc (CBI) that Cable and Wireless Communications has signed as the official broadcast sponsor and telecommunications partner in the Caribbean for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio Brazil, is being described as a game changer for the Olympic movement in the region.

That’s the view of Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) following a media conference held at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad on Dock Road in Port-of-Spain, to announce the deal. CBI, a subsidiary of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC), secured exclusive Olympic content rights to all platforms in 20 English speaking countries, as well as non-exclusive right in 10 non-English speaking countries throughout the region.

Under the terms of a deal struck between Cable and Wireless Communications and CBI, millions of people across the Caribbean would no longer view the celebrated Games through the eyes of European or North American broadcasters.

CANOC contracted the services of global sports broadcaster ESPN to generate world class content for Caribbean viewers and the diaspora, too.

The TTOC head, said he was therefore encouraged to witness this partnership, even as the CBI approached the corporate sector at every level to enter into meaningful partnerships on behalf of national Olympic Committees to support the Caribbean’s participation at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“At the TTOC, we are in the gold medal winning business. Our executive, stakeholder and staff, live and breathe athlete welfare and preparation in their quest for excellence every single day. This may seem a straight forward strategy, but for the athletes in T&T and the Caribbean, each day brings with it challenges along their path to success, perhaps not dissimilar to those in the corporate sector and the commercial marketplace. These challenges test us all in the Olympic movement. It motivates us and takes us well beyond our imaginable capacity,” Lewis said.

“What the TTOC is striving for is to cultivate a system of excellence that clarifies the development pathway and performance management system that holistically fosters, mentors, nurtures and develops Olympians and Olympic champions and world champions, on a sustainable and consistent way.

“Training to be an Olympic champion is a full time commitment that demands both discipline and dedication to maintain competitiveness and to win medals. Elite and high performance athletes competing in individual and team sports must dedicate themselves, time, money and energy to their athletic endeavours.”

By adopting a new mind set, said the Olympic Committee official, the TTOC targeted the big goals and big dreams of ten Olympic gold medals by the year 2024.

But to achieve this, he said, a change in culture, whether in T&T or any other Caribbean country was crucial.

Lewis said meeting this target would demand breaking down new barriers with the new and innovative approaches and declared that all within CANOC, and the individual national Olympic Committees must sensitize the Caribbean region about the reality that exists among our national athletes; and we must show that each Caribbean country and the region was fully supportive of our athletes on their journey to fulfilling the Olympic dream regardless of the colour of the flag.

“Today’s formal announcement brings CWC front and centre into the most prestigious global sporting event for the year ahead. I am encouraged by the CWC stated intention to partner with the TTOC and to support our individual achievement and objectives of 10 or more Olympic gold medals by the year 2024. The Olympic Games represents a moment of truth for sports in its many disciplines. Caribbean athletes have for many years, as individuals and as a team and as a collective, shown that we can compete and win against the best that the world can produce,” he said.

“As the executing arm of CANOC on this particular project, the CBI role in seeking to monetise and fully exploit the broadcast rights associated with these Games represent a paradigm shift. And that is a paradigm shift where CANOC and the national Olympic Committees have taken a collective decision to place our athletes at the centre of what we do.

“This is testimony that the power of the Olympic Games and sport, indeed, can unite the region as evidence by the coming together of CANOC and the formulation of CBI Limited (Inc). The steps taken here today by CWC and CBI Limited are meant to place our athletes at the heart of every commercial opportunity arising from these Games and I encourage everyone to see these commercial transactions in that light: being about our athletes, the youth of the Caribbean and the communities in which they come from.”