Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams Set Sights on London 2012

TORONTO, July 21 /CNW/ - With the historic 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games now in the record books, Canada's summer-sport athletes today gathered with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and Own the Podium (OTP) as they announced their performance goals and launched themselves on the road to the London 2012 Games.

The COC reaffirmed its goal for the Canadian Olympic Team to place among the top-12 nations in total medal count and the CPC set its goals for the Canadian Paralympic Team to post a top-8 finish in the gold-medal count.

"With the success of the 2010 Games, we've seen what a focused plan can deliver," said COC Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General Jean R. Dupré. "Placing top-12 in London is an ambitious goal but striving to be your best is a core element of the Olympic Movement. It's what our athletes, and Canadians, demand.

"Our vision is to make Canada a leading nation in both winter and summer sport, and it is through our partnerships with the National Sport Federations, OTP, the Government of Canada and our other partners that our athletes will step onto the podium".

"Our athletes train very hard and have a relentless commitment to achieve medal performances. Athleticism, determination, world-class competitiveness, and winning results are the hallmarks of our Paralympians," says Henry Storgaard, CPC Chief Executive Officer. "I am confident that by working closely with our partners, we will achieve our goal of being in the top-8 countries in gold medal count at the London 2012 Paralympic Games."

In just over two years, London will welcome the world to the 2012 Olympic Games - their third time as host (1908, 1948). The Games take place from July 27 to August 12, with the Paralympic Games following shortly thereafter from August 29 to September 9.

At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Canada was one of just six nations that succeeded in winning more medals than it had at previous Games, finishing tied for 13th with 18 medals. The Canadian Olympic Team surpassed its top-16 performance goal and matched its third-best output ever with three gold, nine silver and six bronze medals.

The CPC will also look to build upon its recent success. The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games saw Canada experience its greatest Winter Games, finishing third for gold-medal winning nations with 10 (19 medals overall).

As witnessed during the Vancouver 2010 Games, OTP was an integral component to the success of both the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams. The sport technical initiative provided unprecedented research and support that enabled the teams to collect record medal hauls, setting new standards in Canadian high performance sport.

"With Own the Podium leading the way, a new culture for winning was instilled in all Canadians during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games," said John Furlong, Own the Podium Chair. "We now have a precious legacy to build upon in developing an even stronger high performance sport system in Canada. Own the Podium, and our partners, will continue to serve as the engine that will drive athlete performance on the road to London 2012."

With the Government of Canada as its largest financial provider, OTP will continue to provide more than $30 million in annual funding to 23 of Canada's summer sports in order to support their drive to the podium in 2012.

"Our Government's commitment to Own the Podium has never been stronger," said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport). "We are proud today to join our partners in wishing the best to our summer athletes as they prepare for London 2012. We saw the outstanding results of OTP at the recent Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and we are confident that our summer athletes will likewise benefit from OTP's expertise as they prepare for London. We are behind you all the way!"

Ottawa's commitment to OTP now totals $64 million annually, which includes a base level of funding of $22 million per year that will be directed to winter sport. For summer sport, the federal government's support is set at $42 million a year, which will be invested in athletes with the potential to contribute to the medal targets at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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 (@CDN OlympicTeam).

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 22 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The CPC is responsible for creating an optimal high-performance environment for Canadian Paralympic athletes to win at Paralympic and ParaPanAmerican Games. By supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes and promoting their success, the CPC inspires all Canadians with a physical disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca and find the team on both Facebook (Canadian Paralympic Committee) and Twitter (@CDNParalympics).

About Own the Podium

Own the Podium is a national sport technical initiative that was created in 2005 to help Canada become the number one nation (total medal count) at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and to place in the top-three nations (gold medal count) at the 2010 Paralympic Games. The initiative has also set a goal for Canadian athletes to have a top-12 placing (medal count) at the London 2012 Olympic Games and in the top eight nations (gold medal count) at the 2012 Paralympic Games. Both of these initiatives reflect what Canadians want from Canada's high-performance athletes and helps advance the "excellence" goal of the Canadian Sport Policy. Own the Podium's largest contributor of funding is the Government of Canada with additional funding from the corporate community and the COC through its Canadian Olympic Foundation.

SOURCE Canadian Olympic Committee

For further information: For further information: Isabelle Hodge, Canadian Olympic Committee, Office: 416-324-4122, Cell: 289-388-6419, ihodge@olympic.ca; Marie-Hélène Cayer, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Office: 613-569-4333 ext. 227, Cell: 613-293-3358, mcayer@paralympic.ca; Chris Dornan, Own the Podium, 281-703-4394, hpprchris@comcast.net

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