Alex Baumann, on Behalf of Canadian Olympic Committee, Makes Strong Pitch for Funding for Road to Excellence Program



    MONTREAL, Dec. 7 /CNW/ - Alex Baumann, Executive Director of the Road to
Excellence program and double Olympic gold medallist in swimming, made a
strong presentation before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance
today to advocate for funding for the Road to Excellence summer sport program
to benefit Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
    "Road to Excellence is a program that will give Canada's most talented
athletes leading edge support services, technology, equipment, science and
coaching in both daily and competitive environments to do this country proud
and continue to inspire Canadians to achieve excellence, pride and health in
sport," said Baumann, who won gold medals in the 200- and 400-metre individual
medley races in world record times at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.
    Baumann, who appeared on behalf of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC),
one of the partners in the Road to Excellence program, urged the Standing
Committee on Finance to recommend in its report ongoing funding of $30 million
annually - approximately $1 per Canadian - to support the program, which is
the summer equivalent of the successful Own the Podium 2010 winter sport
program. A copy of the COC's written submission to the Standing Committee on
Finance is available at
http://www.olympic.ca/EN/organization/publications/publications.shtmlNo.report
s.
    As part of his presentation, Baumann told the Committee that in recent
years, every other G8 country, except for Canada, has recognized the social
and health benefits of sport and significantly increased its investment in
sport and physical activity. He informed them that Canada lags far behind
other G8 countries in terms of investment in sport and is continuing to fall
further behind.
    Baumann also made the case for a strong return on investment for sport
funding by pointing out that community enrolment in sport increases
significantly following a Canadian Olympic medal win, citing that enrolment in
girls' hockey increased by 12% the year after Canada's women's hockey team won
the gold medal at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
    Those in attendance to support Baumann's appearance at the meeting
included International Olympic Committee and COC Executive Committee member
Richard Pound, COC President Michael Chambers and CEO Chris Rudge as well as
COC Executive Committee member Walter Sieber.

    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 more information see the COC website: www.olympic.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Jackie DeSouza, COC Communications, Phone:
(416) 324-4122, Cell: (416) 806-4342, jdesouza@olympic.ca; Sylvie Bigras, COC
Communications, Cell: (613) 298-1625, sbigras@olympic.ca

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