Canadian Olympic Team Set for Beijing 2008 Olympic Games



    BEIJING, Aug. 7 /CNW/ - With China set to welcome the world in Friday's
Opening Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the Canadian Olympic Team
readies for 16 days of sport at the highest level. The 332 competing Canadian
athletes will be led by flag bearer Adam van Koeverden, Olympic and world
champion kayaker.
    Van Koeverden will lead the entire Canadian contingent into the brand new
Beijing National Stadium - dubbed the "Bird's Nest" due to its unique design -
to kick off the Games in the Opening Ceremony on August 8. Canada will be the
63rd team to march into the stadium (just after Ghana at 62). The 332 athletes
include members of five traditional "team" sports that Canada has qualified
for Beijing: men's baseball, men's water polo, women's softball, men's field
hockey and women's soccer.
    The Games of the XXIX Olympiad will run from August 8 to 24.
    "BOCOG has done a remarkable job preparing Beijing for the Games," said
COC president Michael Chambers. "Everything is at the ready for the Games and
the people of Beijing have extended a warm welcome to the athletes and their
coaches of the 205 countries from all regions of the world who are gathering
together for this Olympic competition. The Canadian Team is ready for and
eagerly awaits the Games to begin."
    "We knew that Beijing would go above and beyond in its preparations for
these Games and with what we've seen so far, they have even managed to exceed
our high expectations," said Sylvie Bernier, Canada's Chef de Mission and 1984
gold medallist in diving. "The Olympic Village is spectacular and all of our
teams are raving about their venues. In short, we are very impressed."
    Nine athletes who reached the podium in Athens 2004 are back in 2008: van
Koeverden (gold and bronze, kayak), Kyle Shewfelt (gold, artistic gymnastics),
Alexandre Despatie (silver, diving), Marie-Hélène Prémont (silver, cycling),
Karen Cockburn (silver, trampoline), Tonya Verbeek (silver, wrestling), Jake
Wetzel (silver, rowing), Emilie Heymans (bronze, diving) and Blythe Hartley
(bronze, diving).
    Canada is also sending several current world champions in their
respective sports to Beijing. These champions include: Karine Sergerie, a 2007
taekwondo world champion; swimmer Brent Hayden, 2007 world champion in 100m
freestyle; Tyler Christopher, gold medallist this year in 400m at the world
indoor track and field championships; kayaker Adam van Koeverden, world
champion in the K-1 500m; and the men's eight rowing team that took gold at
the 2007 World Championships.
    Canada's veteran leadership is most prominently displayed in a number of
athletes who have been to four or more previous Olympic Games. They are led by
equestrian standout Ian Millar who has tied a world record (Austrian sailor
Hubert Raudaschl) with his ninth Games and rower Lesley Thompson-Willie who
will compete in her sixth Olympic Games, with four medals to her credit.
Others include trap shooter Susan Nattrass (sixth), race walker Dr. Tim
Berrett (fifth), slalom kayaker David Ford (fifth), judoka Keith Morgan
(fourth), tennis player Daniel Nestor (fourth) and fencer Jujie Luan (fourth).
    There have been four roster changes to the Canadian Olympic Team since it
was officially named on July 23. The team size grew to 332 total athletes
after the International Tennis Federation extended a quota position to singles
player Frank Dancevic (Niagara Falls, Ontario), who is ranked 114th
world-wide. Also added to team were football's Jodi-Ann Robinson from
Richmond, B.C. (replacing Amber Allen), baseball's Emmanuel Garcia from
Montreal (replacing Pete Orr) and James Avery from Moose Jaw, Sask. (replacing
Scott Richmond).
    The complete list of the 2008 Canadian Olympic Team can be found by
visiting the newly-launched COC's Games website at
http://www.olympic.ca/Beijing2008/EN/Athletes/searchResults.htm. Also featured
on the site will be 2008 Olympic Games results, athlete and coach biographies
in the team's downloadable media guide, historical results and more.

    The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) 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, Director, Communications, Canadian
Olympic Committee, Beijing Cell: 15007724275, Email: skeogh@olympic.ca; Sylvie
Bigras, Press Chief, Canadian Olympic Committee, Beijing Cell: 15007724317,
Email: sbigras@olympic.ca

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