COC Distributes $515,000 to Canadian Olympic Medallists Through Athlete Excellence Fund



    TORONTO, Oct. 11 /CNW/ - The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) will reward
Canada's 2008 Olympic medal winners today in its first distribution of the
Athlete Excellence Fund, a financial incentive program for Olympic medallists.
The ceremony celebrates a successful Beijing Games, where Team Canada's 18
medals tied it for 14th overall - surpassing its goal of placing in the top 16
countries.
    Under the Athlete Excellence Fund, unveiled last November, Canadian
Olympians receive $20,000 for each gold medal won, $15,000 for each silver
medal and $10,000 for each bronze medal. From the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,
34 Canadian athletes will be rewarded for the three gold, nine silver and six
bronze medals won in August. The total amount awarded to Canadian Olympians
following Beijing 2008 is $515,000.
    "The COC is proud to be honouring our Beijing Games Olympians, who
achieved great success and provided so many inspiring moments for Canadians
this past August," said COC chief operating officer Lou Ragagnin. "These
awards are a first for Canada but certainly not the last. They are a testament
to thousands of hours of training and dedication our athletes invest in
representing our nation. We look forward to continued Podium success and
recognition for our great athletes in 2010, 2012 and beyond."
    "The Beijing Games were an amazing experience and this fund is
recognition for our athletes' commitment to excellence," said Iain Brambell,
2008 bronze medallist in lightweight four rowing and a member of the COC
Athletes' Council. "There's no amount of money that can replace an Olympic
medal but this shows Canada is seriously aiming for the podium at each Games."
    Equestrian show jumper Eric Lamaze, who won an individual gold medal and
a team silver medal, is Canada's sole double-medallist from the 2008 Olympic
Games. He becomes the first multiple award winner under the Athlete Excellence
Fund.
    The Athlete Excellence Fund follows a four-year cycle in rewarding
athletic performance. In the three non-Olympic years between Games (for both
summer and winter sport athletes), this fund also helps support athletes.
Athletes who place in the top five in years one or two, or top four in year
three, each receive a $5,000 grant. This is determined by their best
performance at that year's highest level competition (typically a World
Championship).
    This fund evolved from the COC's former Performance Recognition Support
Program, launched in 2003. That program awarded $5,000 to any athlete who
finished in the top five at a World Championship or Olympic Games. In 2006,
the COC's Athletes' Council developed new criteria that represented the most
effective way to reward athlete performance. That set the stage for the
Athlete Excellence Fund - whose budget from 2009 through 2012 is $5.2 million.
    The performance awards apply to all Olympic sports, and remain the same
whether the athlete is from a team sport or an individual sport. For a
medal-winning team sport, each member of the team will receive the performance
award.
    Twenty-one medallists from Beijing will partake in the celebration today,
flown to Toronto by Air Canada.

    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.

    
    Complete List of Award Winners

    Carol Huynh / Wrestling 48kg / Gold / $20,000
    Eric Lamaze / Equestrian Show Jumping / Gold / $20,000
    Andrew Byrnes / Rowing Men's Eight / Gold / $20,000
    Kyle Hamilton / Rowing Men's Eight / Gold / $20,000
    Malcolm Howard / Rowing Men's Eight / Gold / $20,000
    Adam Kreek / Rowing / Men's Eight / Gold / $20,000
    Kevin Light / Rowing Men's Eight / Gold / $20,000
    Brian Price / Rowing Men's Eight / Gold / $20,000
    Ben Rutledge / Rowing Men's Eight / Gold / $20,000
    Dominic Seiterle / Rowing Men's Eight / Gold / $20,000
    Jake Wetzel / Rowing Men's Eight / Gold / $20,000

    Jason Burnett / Trampoline / Silver / $15,000
    Karen Cockburn / Trampoline / Silver / $15,000
    Alexandre Despatie / Diving 3m / Silver / $15,000
    Emilie Heymans / Diving 10m / Silver / $15,000
    Karine Sergerie / Taekwondo -67kg / Silver / $15,000
    Adam van Koeverden / Kayak K-1 500m / Silver / $15,000
    Simon Whitfield / Triathlon / Silver / $15,000
    David Calder / Rowing Men's Pair / Silver / $15,000
    Scott Frandsen / Rowing Men's Pair / Silver / $15,000
    Mac Cone / Equestrian Team Jumping / Silver / $15,000
    Jill Henselwood / Equestrian Team Jumping / Silver / $15,000
    Eric Lamaze / Equestrian Team Jumping / Silver / $15,000
    Ian Millar / Equestrian Team Jumping / Silver / $15,000

    Ryan Cochrane / Swimming 1,500m / Bronze / $10,000
    Thomas Hall / Canoe C-1 1,000m / Bronze / $10,000
    Priscilla Lopes-Schliep / 100m Hurdles / Bronze / $10,000
    Tonya Verbeek / Wrestling 55kg / Bronze / $10,000
    Tracy Cameron / Rowing LW Women's Double Sculls / Bronze / $10,000
    Melanie Kok / Rowing LW Women's Double Sculls / Bronze / $10,000
    Jon Beare / Rowing LW Men's Four / Bronze / $10,000
    Iain Brambell / Rowing LW Men's Four / Bronze / $10,000
    Mike Lewis / Rowing LW Men's Four / Bronze / $10,000
    Liam Parsons / Rowing LW Men's Four / Bronze / $10,000
    





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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