OTTAWA, Feb. 14 /CNW/ - With the federal budget set to be unveiled on
February 26, representatives of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the
Canadian Paralympic Committee, Sport Matters Group, National Sport Federations
and Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be meeting with parliamentarians in
Ottawa today seeking a five-year injection of $30 million annually for the
Road to Excellence initiative. The Road to Excellence program is a summer
sport initiative aimed at helping Canada's Olympic and Paralympic athletes
achieve international success.
Today's meetings build upon Recommendation No. 14 outlined in the House
of Commons Standing Committee on Finance pre-budget report calling for funds
to be invested in the Road to Excellence program. This financial boost toward
training, technology and equipment is expected to improve the country's medal
performance at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Olympic success builds national pride and a healthier Canada," said Alex
Baumann, executive director of Road to Excellence and double Olympic gold
medallist in swimming. "These funds are needed now to support our summer
athletes and inspire future Olympians from coast to coast."
Athletes and sport representatives will meet with Members of Parliament,
Senators and other parliamentarians today to provide details on the Road to
Excellence initiative. The participants include Baumann; COC president Michael
Chambers and CEO Chris Rudge; Canada's chef de mission at the Beijing 2008
Olympic Games, Sylvie Bernier; Sport Matters Group senior leader and Olympian
in field hockey, Ian Bird; Canoe/Kayak Canada director general Anne
Merklinger; and Canadian Cycling Association CEO Lorraine Lafrenière. Olympic
hopefuls Alexandra Orlando (rhythmic gymnastics) and Ryan Semple (alpine
skiing) as well as Paralympic hopeful Dean Kozak (goalball) will also
participate in the effort.
"We are starting to see great returns from the investment in Own the
Podium winter sport program, proving that increased funding fosters success,"
said Bernier, who won a gold medal in diving at the 1984 Olympic Games and
remains today the only Canadian athlete to win Olympic gold in diving." It's
time for Road to Excellence to have the same opportunity to support summer
Road to Excellence is a summer sport initiative that is designed to
provide technical support for summer Olympic and Paralympic sports to help
them achieve international podium success. The goal of the program is for
Canada to place 16th in the overall medal count in Beijing this summer,
12th at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and in the top five for both the
2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games.
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: Steve Keogh, Manager, Communications, Canadian
Olympic Committee, Phone: (416) 324-4146, Cell: (416) 806-3949, Email:
email@example.com; Sylvie Bigras, Gestionnaire, Communications, Comité
olympique canadien, Cell.: (613) 298-1625, Courriel: firstname.lastname@example.org