One Amazing Games Strengthened Sport, Athletes and the Nation
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VANCOUVER, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - One year ago tomorrow, the XXI Olympic Winter
Games launched here on Canada's West Coast. What unfolded over the
remainder of February was an event that immeasurably strengthened
Canadian athletes and sports, and brought the Olympic Movement to the
forefront across the nation. And there it has stayed.
A Nation United
"We have watched as the spirit from Vancouver, the passion for Olympic
athletes, has not waned in Canada, but instead solidified," said Marcel
Aubut, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). "The goal is
for Canada to follow and support the country's hard working athletes in
the months and years outside of the Olympic Games. Looking back at
Vancouver, we find a nation-altering event that made Canadians stand up
and recognize the power of the Olympic Movement and the joy of cheering
for Canadian athletes year-round."
One year ago, Canadians watched their athletes take on the world's best
with confidence and, on home soil, achieve a brand new level of
success. The most gold medals ever won at an Olympic Winter Games - 14.
The most winter medals ever for Canada - 26. The most top-8 finishes
ever for Canada - 72. A rising number of athletes who finished fourth
or fifth - 24. From Alex Bilodeau's historic gold medal at Cypress
Mountain to Christine Nesbitt's gold medal at the Richmond Oval to
Joannie Rochette's unforgettable bronze medal at Pacific Coliseum to
Jon Montgomery's golden runs at Whistler Sliding Centre to Devon
Kershaw's record 5th-place finish in the gruelling 50 km cross-country
race, the Canadian Olympic Team made the entire nation proud, producing
stirring memories that will help drive future athletes toward the
The 2010 Olympic Winter Games helped unite 33 million Canadians in a way
never before seen. Olympic spirit reached new heights as Canadians -
sport fans or not - cheered on one team, which produced sparkling
results. According to Charlton Strategic Research Inc, the overarching
feeling that 2010 Olympic viewers felt was national pride. It found
that the Olympic Winter Games is the sport property Canadians have the
most interest in, at 47%. (The NHL, for comparison, is 36%.) The
Canadian Olympic Team has the broadest reach across age categories and
genders compared to professional sport leagues. Post-Olympic research
also found that 94% of respondents believe it's important to build
amateur sport in Canada, and 90% are proud to be Canadians when the
team wins medals. Sponsorship Intelligence found in August 2010 that
Olympic interest is at an all-time high in Canada, rising significantly
since 2006 and 2008.
A Stronger Sport System
"Never have we seen one Olympic Games have a greater impact on the
success of our athletes and sports," said COC Chief Executive Officer
Jean R. Dupré. "The amazing efforts that went into the athletic
performances last year have put this nation on a new path to success.
There is a new resolve in Canada to achieve Olympic excellence at every
Games. This has everything to do with Vancouver 2010."
Both summer and winter Canadian athletes, feeding from the 2010 success,
have greater resources than ever before to compete with the world's
best. Improved technology, increased coaching and more significant
investment - as that delivered by the COC's technical program, Own the
Podium - have helped push Canadian athletes over the top in their
respective sports. There is considerable evidence to this effect,
perhaps none as stark as Alex Gough's three luge medals this year, two
more than any Canadian has ever won over a World Cup career, in a sport
historically dominated by Germany. Canada is now a force among a wide
variety of sports.
Overall, the Vancouver Games contributed to a sense of "one team" among
all high performance athletes in Canada. Summer athletes have already
begun to feed off the momentum from Vancouver as they push toward
London 2012 success.
A Newfound Sense of Confidence
"The legacy of the Vancouver Games lays in the newfound confidence and
belief shared by all athletes, coaches and National Sport Federations,"
said Caroline Assalian, the COC's executive managing director of Sport
and NSF Relations. "The Games were a triumph of human spirit. We were
bold enough to think we could compete with anyone and win - and that
feeling has now transcended all of Canadian sport."
Intense preparations went into the Canadian Olympic Team for Vancouver,
joined by a sense among athletes that they could win a medal at any
time. Canada's record-setting performance stemmed from something
intangible - that at any given time it isn't necessarily the best
athlete who wins, but the ones that believe they can.
Such confidence has been transferred from the 2010 athletes not only to
those in winter sport but those in summer sport as well. Vancouver 2010
helped forge a unique Canadian Olympic Team identity, and the
confidence and boldness displayed one year ago is shared among all
athletes aiming to compete on the world's biggest stage in the future.
"It is now about winning as a country," Assalian said.
That one-team mentality will be centre stage first in London next year,
where Canada's top summer athletes will look to use the momentum and
record an even higher finish than in Beijing in 2008. After London, the
Olympic spirit in Canada will be in full force, propelling the winter
athletes toward Sochi in 2014 where the team will aim to convert those
fourth- and fifth-place finishes in Vancouver into medal-winning
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, Youth 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:
Isabelle Hodge, Manager, Media Relations, Canadian Olympic Committee,
Phone: (416) 324-4122, Cell: (289) 388-6419, Email: email@example.com