Celebrating Excellence 2010 - 2010 Olympic Cycle Culminates with Unique and
Prestigious Event

Olympians, Celebrities and Inductees to gather during Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Gala

MONTREAL, March 31 /CNW/ - Just weeks after the close of the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, the Olympic family - including 2010 athletes and prominent sport leaders - will gather in celebration and mark the end of the Olympic cycle. In hosting its annual Hall of Fame Gala Dinner and Induction Ceremony co-presented by Chevrolet, Bell and RBC in the vibrant eastern city of Montreal, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) looks to further unite Canada following the Games that unfolded so memorably on the West Coast. The COC announced today a series of events that will debut in Ottawa on Thursday, April 22, as well as a star-studded line-up of athletes, celebrities and special guests that will gather on April 23 for its prestigious gala dinner, as an exemplary class of individuals are inducted in the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.

"With the end of the Olympic cycle and the Hall of Fame induction, we commemorate eight years of hard work and preparation with an event that will celebrate one of the most successful sporting events our nation has ever seen," said Marcel Aubut, COC President-Elect. "We will also proudly honour the contributions of some of our most distinguished Olympic athletes, coaches and builders who too have made a significant and lasting impact on the Olympic Movement in Canada."

The festivities will begin as Prime Minister Stephen Harper hosts 2010 Olympians in the House of Commons on Thursday, April 22. Following their reception on Parliament Hill, the athletes will head to Montreal.

Olympic heroes in the streets of Montreal - April 23, Noon

The public will have an opportunity to join in Celebrating Excellence as many of the athletes who mesmerized the country with their sporting and human achievements will parade on Sainte-Catherine Street in Montreal on Friday, April 23 at noon. Further details will be announced at a later date.

"The Olympic city of Montreal is very proud to welcome our Canadian athletes. I hereby invite everyone to take part in the parade. This great celebration will be an occasion to recognize our athletes' excellence and achievements", said Mrs. Monique Worth, Member of the Executive Committee, Responsible for Sports and Recreation, City of Montreal.

A memorable induction evening - April 23, 5:30 p.m.

The highlight of the day will feature an unforgettable induction evening at the Bell Centre, as more than 1,200 guests welcome 2010 inductees kayaker Caroline Brunet, sprinter Bruny Surin, speed skater Susan Auch, builders Walter Sieber, Peter Lougheed and Carol Anne Letheren (posthumously), and athletics coach Paul Poce as they officially enter the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.

Joining them will be two ambassadors and contributors of the Olympic Movement who will receive the Canadian Olympic Order: the Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors and the CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Jack Poole (posthumously) and John Furlong, respectively.

Returning to the Olympic City of Montreal, this unique Gala will feature top Canadian artists including Sarah McLachlan, Tom Cochrane, Ginette Reno, the Canadian Tenors, Simple Plan, and singers Annie Villeneuve and Nikki Yanofsky, accompanied by composer Stephan Moccio, who will perform CTV's Vancouver 2010 theme song I Believe/J'imagine. Prime Minister Harper will act as Honorary President of the evening and will be joined by Quebec Premier Jean Charest. Etalk's Ben Mulroney will serve as host of the evening's events.

Furthermore, the Canadian Olympic Committee will distribute the Athlete Excellence Fund, a record $1.7 million awarded to Canadian 2010 Olympic medallists.

Following its unprecedented and revolutionary coverage of Vancouver 2010, CTV and V will produce and televise the COC Hall of Fame Gala Dinner & Induction Ceremony co-presented by Chevrolet, Bell and RBC. Airing April 24 and 25, the coverage will provide national exposure in English and French for the festivities celebrating excellence in amateur sports. Further details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Artistic Director Guy Lévesque, perhaps best known for his role as artistic director for several Just for Laughs galas, unveiled the event production team that will assist him. "The artistic program should live up to the amazing class of inductees being honoured, and to our 2010 Olympians who made us live so many great moments in Vancouver - this is the standard to which we are preparing. The artists have expressed their enthusiasm to be part of this magical evening and to work with this renowned production team, put in place to produce one of the most unforgettable shows," said Lévesque.

Guy St-Onge will lead-up the musical direction with the collaboration of Philippe Dunigan, Montreal Jazz Festival concert master, who will direct an orchestra of 20 renowned musicians. Visual effects will be provided by lighting designer, Yves Aucoin, best known for his work with Céline Dion. Olivier Goulet, who has worked with Justin Timberlake, Cher and Tina Turner, among others, will be projection designer. Also part of this tremendous creative team is television producer and director (including Star Académie) Jean Lamoureux.

Without the incredible support of our partners an event of this magnitude would not be possible. The COC has received generous support from its three co-presenting sponsors in Chevrolet, Bell and RBC, while the federal government, Canadian Tourism Commission, province of Quebec and City of Montreal have all been instrumental in ensuring the success of the events. "These organizations did not hesitate to contribute to this evening so that we could raise as much funds for our Canadian athletes. It's unbelievable how these Games sparked even more Olympic pride," added Marcel Aubut, who will officially take office as president of the COC on April 24, the first francophone to do so since the creation of the organization in 1906.

"Chevrolet is proud to be the co-presenting partner of the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Gala Dinner and Induction Ceremony for the fourth consecutive year," said Tom Laurie, Manager of the Olympic Partnership at General Motors of Canada Limited. "As a long-time supporter of amateur athletes, Chevrolet is honoured to celebrate the achievements of our finest Canadian athletes who participated in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. This is a wonderful occasion to recognize al of the inductees - including athletes, coaches, and builders who have laid the foundation for Canadian sport from the playground to the podium. We are truly inspired, and look forward to being a part of this special evening."

"Bell is pleased to continue in its support of the COC's Hall of Fame Gala Dinner & Induction Ceremony," said Loring Phinney, vice president, Corporate and Olympic Marketing, Bell. "Recognizing these great individuals for their efforts in amateur sport aligns so well with our passion for the Olympic Movement."

"We have been an enthusiastic supporter of the development, performance and achievements of Canada's Olympic athletes since 1947, but we have never been more proud of our association with the Olympic movement in Canada," said Jim Little, RBC Chief Brand and Communications Officer. "We are pleased to join all of our partners and all Canadians to congratulate and celebrate some of our most accomplished Olympians as they are inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame."

Three highly reputable individuals will co-chair the event: Jacynthe Côté, CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan, Pierre Beaudoin, CEO of Bombardier, as well as Mark Smith, CEO of Pandion Investments Limited. Together they have put together a first-rate team of governors to sell event tickets and maximize profits that will go to Canadian athletes at the end of the night.

Please note that all tickets and tables for this event are sold out and all proceeds from the 2010 Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Gala Dinner & Induction Ceremony will benefit the Canadian athletes.

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).

SOURCE Canadian Olympic Committee

For further information: For further information: Isabelle Hodge, Manager, Media Relations, Canadian Olympic Committee, Cel. (289) 388-6419, Email: ihodge@olympic.ca; Elisabeth Besson, Louise Ferland, Communications Officers, Heenan Blaikie, Cel. (514) 688-0876, (514) 243-5349, Email: ebesson@heenan.ca, lferland@heenan.ca

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