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TORONTO, April 6 /CNW/ - The Canadian Olympic Team congratulates the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) on its decision today to add six
new events to the 2014 Olympic program. A major step in gender equality
is made with the inclusion of women's ski jumping, while the door is
opened now for freestyle ski halfpipe (men and women), biathlon mixed
relay, a team figure skating event and luge team relay. For Canada, the
decision helps bolster medal opportunities in Sochi, as Canadians have
won multiple 2010-11 medals in these new disciplines.
"There is no question that Canada will strengthen its already
world-class team for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games as a result of the
IOC's decision," said Jean R. Dupré, Canadian Olympic Committee CEO.
"It means more of our great athletes get a chance to experience the
world's biggest sport stage."
Women to Compete in Ski Jumping
In 2014, for the first time ever, women's ski jumpers will compete at
the Olympic level. Featured on the Olympic program since 1924, the
sport has until now remained men-only. It and Nordic combined (which
also features ski jumping) were the only such sports on the winter
"I welcome our women's ski jumpers to the Olympic ranks and can't wait
to see them compete, beginning in Sochi, at the level where they
belong," Dupré said.
The impact of this decision extends well into the future. The Olympic
nod will not only help advance women in sport, but aid Ski Jumping
Canada in its long-term athlete recruitment goals. In the past decade,
the quality of women's ski jumping has risen significantly. The first
World Cup series is now set for the 2011-12 season, and women have
competed at the World Championships since 2009.
New Winter Events a Boon for Canadian Olympic Team
Canada will have multiple medal opportunities at the Sochi 2014 Games
among the five new winter disciplines approved by the IOC. Both men and
women will compete in the individual events of freestyle ski halfpipe
and in the multi-athlete events of figure skating team event, luge team
relay and biathlon mixed relay.
"We look forward to welcoming the athletes and coaches to the 2014
Canadian Olympic Team, and will work hard to orient new and returning
Olympians to the unique environment of the Games," said Caroline
Assalian, COC Executive Managing Director, Sport & NSF Relations.
"Their Olympic teammates will no doubt want to watch and cheer on
Canada at these exciting new events, which give many of our National
Sport Federations important new opportunities for success."
In 2014, the halfpipe will not be the sole domain of snowboarders, but
also of freestyle skiers. Canada has considerable talent in this new
Olympic event. That includes the 2011 world champions on both the men's
and women's sides in Mike Riddle (Squamish, B.C.) and Rosalind
Groenewoud (Calgary). Groenewoud also finished second overall in the
2011 World Cup standings - to teammate Sarah Burke (Squamish, B.C.),
who captured the Crystal Globe as overall points leader. Burke is also
reigning X Games champion. Edmonton's Keltie Hansen added a bronze
medal at the 2011 World Championships.
The IOC's vote Wednesday in London affirmed three Olympic events that
feature mixed gender or teams. The luge team relay encompasses one man
and one woman sliding individually, combining their times with one
pair. Canada has had podium success in this format, collecting a silver
medal during the 2010-11 World Cup season. The figure skating event is
brand new, a proposed 10-team event held over three days that combines
individual, pairs and ice dance short program. Canada enjoys a strong
history of success in figure skating. The biathlon mixed relay is a
fixture on the World Cup circuit, incorporating two men and two women
striving toward the podium. At Vancouver 2010, Jean-Philippe Le Guellec
(Quebec City) set four Canadian records in biathlon.
"There is no doubt the IOC's inclusion of women's ski jumping, ski
halfpipe, team figure skating, luge team relay and biathlon mixed relay
will be a boost to these sport programs in Canada, and our continued
goal to sustain our position in the medal standings in 2014," said Ken
Read, Director of Winter Sport, Own the Podium. "The recognition of
women's ski jumping, adding mixed gender events and the addition to the
new disciplines strengthens the country's overall winter sport program
and will play a significant role in attracting more women to high
performance sport. We look forward to working with Ski Jumping Canada,
the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, the Canadian Luge Association
and Biathlon Canada to recruit and develop more medal winners for
The IOC stated that its members considered certain factors as being most
important for the vote. They included whether an event increases
universality, gender equity and youth appeal, as well as if it added
value to the Games.
In the coming weeks, the IOC will decide on the inclusion of snowboard
slopestyle, freestyle ski slopestyle and alpine team parallel
competition, which will now enter a further feasibility study.
About the Canadian Olympic Committee
The Canadian Olympic Committee is a national, private, not-for-profit
organization committed to sport excellence. It is responsible for all
aspects of Canada's involvement in the Olympic Movement, including
Canada's participation in the Olympic and Pan American Games and a wide
variety of programs that promote the Olympic Movement in Canada through
cultural and educational means. For news and information, visit the COC
website at www.olympic.ca and find the team on both Facebook (Canadian Olympic Team) and Twitter
For further information:
Manager, Media Relations,
Canadian Olympic Committee
Tel.: (416) 324-4122