Canadian Olympic Committee Congratulates Government's Enhanced Support of Own
The Podium Program

TORONTO, March 4 /CNW/ - The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) commends the Harper government's decision to further invest in the Own the Podium (OTP) program, as unveiled today in the 2010 federal budget. The budget provides for an additional $22 million to be invested into support of high performance sport for both summer and winter athletes.

Today's commitment provides the ability to move our programs forward into the future and to help achieve the kind of results at future Games that Canada experienced in Vancouver. This builds a solid foundation for OTP to continue to grow as it needs to in order to help Canadian athletes keep pace with other leading sport nations in the world. The COC, in working through its Foundation and with its corporate partners, will continue to build on this foundation to support the commitment and leadership that our government partners have provided.

"We've seen how success on the world stage can energize Canadians following the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. These Games and Canada's athletes inspired the nation. They were transformational for Canadians of all ages - true nation-building at its best!" said Michael Chambers, COC president. "We commend the Government of Canada on its decision and its increased support of high performance sport as we collectively work towards making Canada a leading sport nation."

With today's announcement, the Government of Canada's commitment to the Own the Podium segment of high performance sport will total $69 million annually, which includes a focus of $22 million for the OTP winter sport program. For summer sport, the government's support will reach its full range this year at $36 million, setting the table for Canada's athletes for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (The summer program was created in 2006 and initially called Road to Excellence. Today, both the winter and summer programs now operate under the name of Own the Podium.) An additional $11 million will be focused on programs supporting both summer and winter programs and high performance development as we move into the future. The COC looks forward to working with Minister Lunn in appropriately allocating these funds moving forward.

"While recognizing the federal government's significant contribution, the COC will continue to work with its corporate partners and the Canadian Olympic Foundation to allow OTP and other COC Olympic related initiatives to continue to grow in the future," said Marcel Aubut, COC president-elect. "The COC welcomes the opportunity to focus its efforts on partnerships with corporate Canada, Provincial Governments and the Canadian public to ensure the program continues to keep pace with other leading sporting nations."

OTP 2010 was a $110 million sport technical program designed to help Canadian winter athletes achieve unprecedented success in Vancouver. The program was a partnership with all 13 of Canada's winter National Sport Federations and their sport partners, including the COC, the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC), Sport Canada, 12 provinces and territories, and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Canada's results on the international scene have steadily increased since OTP's inception in 2005. Canada finished 3rd in total medals at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, 2nd in overall World Cup podiums in 2007-08 and first in overall World Championship podiums (29) in 2008-09. At the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Canada finished third in the medal standings (26), setting new team highs in total medals, gold medals (14), top-5 (50) and top-8 finishes (72). Its 14 gold medals set the new standard for international success as they represent the most for any nation at a single Olympic Winter 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 (CDNOlympicTeam).

For further information on the Canadian Olympic Foundation, please visit the website at www.olympicfoundation.ca.

SOURCE Canadian Olympic Committee

For further information: For further information: Steve Keogh, Director, Communications, Canadian Olympic Committee, Phone: (416) 324-4146, Cell: (416) 806-3949, Email: skeogh@olympic.ca

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Canadian Olympic Committee

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FEDERAL BUDGET 2010

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