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Olympic influence: P.G.'s own Jerry Maguire

If all the 2010 Olympic athletes Colin Young represents banded together to form a country, they would have finished 13th overall in the medal standings at the Games in Vancouver-Whister.

If all the 2010 Olympic athletes Colin Young represents banded together to form a country, they would have finished 13th overall in the medal standings at the Games in Vancouver-Whister.

During those two weeks in February, they won an incredible seven medals, five of them gold, and helped unleash a steamroller of national pride that swept the nation.

Young, the Prince George born-and-raised co-owner of Agenda Sport Marketing (ASM), attended the Games and was there to watch five of his athletes perform incredible feats under all that Own-the-Podium pressure.

"Anybody who knows an athlete or is close to an athlete when you go into a Games hoping for the best, it's emotional, and the energy with the ups and downs was pretty incredible," said Young. "Our group had a good start, and the midweek was kind of slow, and then we finished with a bang and had three gold medals in the last two days, and that was exciting.

"More than just the individual success, overall we saw the impact the Olympics have on Canadians and to see it received so well and see that Vancouver did such a great job just sort of confirmed that we did the right thing when we started this agency. It makes our lives better and more exciting, and a little bit easier."

Canadians were captivated by the heroics of ASM client Malle Ricker, the snowboard cross champion, who become the first Canadian female to win Olympic gold on home soil.

We felt the pain of long track speed skater Denny Morrison when he failed to live up to expectations in the 1,000m, then went along for the thrilling ride on the ice in Richmond when he and Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux won the team pursuit.

We cheered when Jon Montgomery slid to split-second skeleton win and understood why everyone (even Oprah) wanted to meet the beer-chugging, fast-talking auctioneer. It was another feather in Young's cap after the Games when Montgomery showed up at his office overlooking downtown Calgary to join the list of Olympic champions who have turned their marketing futures over to ASM.

"For the most part, we don't chase after too many athletes," said Young, who turns 46 today. "Our reputation is doing a lot of that for us. We make sure we really know the athletes before we represent them. We set expectations with the athletes that is a longterm relationship that will take time to develop, and hopefully we all win.

"With the success of the Olympics, things have never been better for us. We want to try to stay modest, but it's looking good. Most days it's not even like work, it's pretty fun."

Part of the business is arranging speaking engagements and endorsement opportunities for athletes and in Montgomery's case, that takes management. Young says there's been such a demand for him to make appearances, he has just 10 days off in the next three months.

"It's not a slam-dunk if you win a medal that the phone starts ringing off the hook, but what it does is renew the sponsorships they already have, at a higher level, and they may earn bonuses and find new opportunities," said Young. "It's lucrative for Jon because he made such an impression on Canadians and people want to see him.

"It helps every Olympian, not just the ones who won medals. Even the ones just getting going, all of a sudden, just the fact they were at the Olympics, it makes sense for corporations to get involved. What an athlete like Megan Tandy did (as the top female Canadian in biathlon) is on the radar of far more Canadians than it ever has been. She might get a few more dollars in support that may keep her motivated to keep going. "

Having grown to six employees, with a small satellite office in Vancouver and plans to branch out to Toronto, ASM is also involved in sports tourism and helping Alberta facilities and sport councils attract major events like World Cups and world championships. Its sports marketing branch helps cities prepare bid packages and determine the economic impact of hosting major sporting events.

Young, a 1982 Duchess Park secondary school graduate, is the son of Findlay Young, a local golf legend and Prince George Sports Hall of Fame member. Colin left Prince George to attend the University of Alberta and UBC, then went to Los Angeles to complete his MBA studies.

He worked for Nike's sports marketing department, then was hired by NBC Sports to develop websites the broadcaster used during the Olympic Games in Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens and Turin. In his 20-year marketing career, he's also worked for Bauch & Laumb and the Canadian Sport Centre Calgary.

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