Scott Willgress explains a strength exercise to an athlete in the weight room
Behind the Podium with Scott Willgress
9 August, 2023

Using his experience and scientific best practices, CSI Atlantic’s lead strength and conditioning coach and physiologist Scott Willgress has turned an internship within the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Institute Network (COPSI Network) into a career and most importantly, a home. 

Scott Willgress in front of the Olympic Rings in Tokyo

While taking his masters in Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology at the University of Calgary, Willgress secured an internship with the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary where he was closely mentored. It was there he got his first taste of the COPSI Network. Willgress graduated from his masters program in 2010 and secured a position with CSI Atlantic that saw him make the move to the East Coast in 2011.

Over 12 years into his role with CSI Atlantic, Willgress has built strong relationships with colleagues across the COPSI Network and worked with athletes for over a decade. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with such great colleagues–we are always pushing each other to improve,” says Willgress. 

One of the athletes Willgress has worked with the longest is Canada’s most decorated artistic gymnast, Ellie Black, who he has worked with since 2011. “He finds a way to connect with every athlete,” says the three-time Olympian Black, “[Scott] creates such a fun, inclusive environment for everyone. He makes you feel comfortable and knowledgeable–he keeps training exciting and objective-based.”

As a kid growing up in Calgary, Willgress had always been inspired by the Olympic legacy left in the city following the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. Willgress fondly remembers the late nights spent watching the Olympic Games on television and now, he helps athletes reach their own Olympic dreams. “It's really about helping people achieve their goals using my experience as well as scientific best practices embedded in training methods that are safe, effective and proven,” says Willgress, “and I feel like the work I do is valued.”

Willgress has been a part of the Olympics himself as he had the opportunity to make the trip to Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games. It was here he accompanied the bronze medal winning Canadian Women’s Softball team, as well as the Women’s Canoe Kayak sprint team and the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics team. “Athletes I’ve gotten to work with display a sense of Atlantic pride, seeing this small province still have success on the international stage–I'm grateful to be a part of the National teams,” says Willgress. 

But a career isn’t the only thing he has built in Atlantic Canada, “My family has really strong roots here now, my wife has her own business that she built from scratch,” says Wilgress, “we’re raising our kids here–I feel at home here.” 

As preparations for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris are in full swing, Willgress is highly motivated to continue to use his knowledge and experience to help athletes reach their Olympic dreams now, and for years to come at CSI Atlantic.