Coca-Cola unveils its Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay plans

Active living and environmental sustainability are top priorities

VICTORIA, Oct. 28 /CNW/ - The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games marks the seventh time Coca-Cola has sponsored an Olympic Torch Relay. During the 106-day journey leading up to the 2010 Winter Games, Coca-Cola will be profiling Canadians who have chosen to 'Live Positively' by committing to a more active, environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

Throughout the entire Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola will profile its torchbearers who are everyday Canadians that have demonstrated their commitment to active living and/or environmental sustainability. These torchbearers have made simple, small modifications to their lives that incrementally amount to bigger and better changes - for themselves, the planet and their fellow Canadians.

"The Olympic Torch Relay will profile Canadians who've demonstrated that they have the courage to dream even bigger than before and that everyone, every day, can make a choice to create a more positive reality," said Nicola Kettlitz, General Manager, Coca-Cola Olympic Project Team. "We hope our torchbearers inspire all Canadians to create their own path of "positivity" in their everyday lives and to believe that anything is possible. Our torchbearers are examples of Canadians who have taken simple steps to support environmental sustainability and active living in their communities".

Coca-Cola Canada used a Red Ribbon Panel to make recommendations on candidates hoping to be torchbearers in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay. The panel members looked for inspirational, everyday Canadians with unique stories about their dedication, decisions and deeds in becoming more physically active and environmentally conscious, as well as in influencing others in their communities to follow their lead.

The panel was comprised of the following health, wellness and environmental organizations: the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, ParticipACTION, WWF-Canada and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). Dr. Kellie Leitch, Chief, Paediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital, London, also served on the panel.

Torchbearers were chosen through two simple processes:

    
    1. Live Active, Live Green via icoke.ca:

       -  Canadians who demonstrate through physical activity or
          sustainability that they have made a commitment to the Olympic
          values

    2. Sogo Active via sogoactive.com:

       -  Coca-Cola Canada's national youth active living program created
          through a partnership with ParticipACTION.

    While Canadians stand up and cheer on their local torchbearers, Coca-Cola
will be sharing moments of 'Happiness' during the torch relay with
entertaining music and ice-cold Coca-Cola, which is packaged in a
commemorative aluminum bottle.
    Coca-Cola will also be part of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay's
189 city celebrations. The Coca-Cola experiences attendees can enjoy:

    -   Being mystified by the extraordinary world of Zero Gravity Circus -
        where anything is possible
    -   Seeing rare Olympic Torches dating back to 1948
    -   Taking a picture with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch
    -   Enjoying an interactive drummer to get the crowd all jazzed up for
        Coca-Cola's Open Happiness stage show

    Meet the Coca-Cola Torchbearers

    Friday, October 30th

    Neil Harbun - First Coca-Cola Torchbearer, carrying the Olympic Torch in
    Victoria, British Columbia
    

On January 11, 1988, Harbun was born and just 50 hours after giving birth, his mother carried the Olympic Torch through Wabigoon, Ontario. Now 21 years later, Harbun will carry on his family's tradition by being a Coca-Cola Torchbearer. His mother's actions have always inspired Harbun to live an active life. He grew up playing football, volleyball, track and field, wrestling and basketball. His favourite sport is football and in 2008 he was National Champion with the Vancouver Island Raiders. With his teammates, Harbun reached out to youth in his community to encourage active living - mainly through running camps for children. He also volunteers with the Children's Wish Foundation and coaches the junior varsity football team at River East Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Currently, Harbun is studying sciences at the University of Manitoba. With this degree he hopes to help and encourage others to Live Olympic not only by his profession, but by example.

"Participating in an Olympic Torch Relay is a once in a lifetime experience," said Harbun. "I am honoured and grateful to Coca-Cola for giving me the opportunity to participate as a torchbearer and to act as an ambassador of active living."

David Calder - carrying the Olympic Torch in Victoria, British Columbia

When Calder is not competing at the Olympics he is helping deliver them. As a B.C. public servant, Calder has been working on the delivery of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Calder has rowed for 17 years and has represented his community, his province and his country with honour and pride. Before his silver-medal performance in China (with partner Scott Frandsen), Calder won 12 National Championship titles, 11 World Cup medals and three World Championship titles. If Calder can find enough funding, he plans on racing at the London Olympics in 2012 with one goal: a Gold Medal. Calder has been involved with a community-based rowing program for at-risk youth since 2000 and is now the national spokesperson for Dynamic Opportunities For Youth. Finally, Calder has worked hard for the successful launch of an environmental public engagement initiative called Project Blue Sky (www.projectbluesky.ca). The initiative uses the 'star power' of Olympic, Paralympic and other athletes to encourage everyone to reduce their personal carbon footprint. Sharing stories, building communities and connecting with your favourite athlete are ways that the project draws users.

"Growing up I had great role models to follow in the athletic world and since making my first Olympic team, I have been able to turn around and mentor younger kids trying to get to the top," said Calder. "Now, as one of Coke's sustainability ambassadors on the torch relay, I have the opportunity to be a different kind of role model. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games provide an opportunity for the sporting community to champion climate action and sustainability efforts. Corporations like Coca-Cola have stepped up to make the environment a priority in product development and distribution and our games are better off for it. Thanks for this opportunity Coke."

    
    Chris Kantowicz - carrying the Olympic Torch in Victoria, British
    Columbia
    

Kantowicz's career has spanned various leadership roles in both the arts and sustainability fields - always balancing economic concerns with the equally valuable artistic, social and environmental ones. An MBA from the Sauder School of Business at UBC supports this experience with specializations in sustainability and strategic management. Kantowicz currently is a project lead on Project Blue Sky, which encourages everyone to join Canada's top athletes in an online community taking positive steps to fight climate change - by tracking your carbon reductions by logging the kilometres you walk, cycle or ride public transit. (www.projectbluesky.ca)

"I am excited to be an Olympic Torchbearer and I am grateful to Coca-Cola for that opportunity," said Kantowicz. "My hope is that the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games will inspire Canadians to take responsibility for how their daily choices impact both the environment and social fabric of our country."

    
    Jason Mackay - carrying the Olympic Torch in Central Saanich, British
    Columbia
    

Mackay's father was an electrician, so from an early age he was taught the importance of being aware of his energy consumption. His family made sure to switch off lights and turn off the television, so they could conserve energy-and save money! Now Mackay works fulltime for a power distributer in British Columbia to create awareness of the importance of power conservation. In his personal life, Mackay and his friends started a video production company, which creates films that focus on the human element of energy conservation. In his work life, Mackay developed a series of online videos that could educate the public on how to be more energy efficient and sustainable. Through tips like how to draft proof your home, use energy efficient lighting and cut back on water usage, Mackay has proven to be an excellent steward of energy conservation in British Columbia.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am truly thankful to Coca-Cola for making it possible," said Mackay. "The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games is a unique opportunity for Canadians to demonstrate their commitment to creating a more positive environment and I hope I have done just that."

Kristy Aikman - carrying the Olympic Torch in Songhees, British Columbia

Aikman, from Port Alberni, British Columbia has always had a passion for active living. She uses physical activity to inspire others and to raise money for a very important cause. Aikman, with two of her friends, recently set out to raise $10,000 for the Leukemia Ward at BC Children's Hospital. They organized a walk from Port Alberni to Nanaimo and accomplished the strenuous 13.5 hour trek while raising over $3,000. In April 2009, they raised another $1,000 when they collaborated with other volunteers to plan an event on the Simon Fraser University campus that included dancing, singing and other fitness activities. Aikman and her friends are using physical activity as a vehicle for change.

"The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games provides athletes and individuals, like myself, to take part in a moment where the flame of inspiration will be ignited," said Aikman. "This remarkable opportunity would not have been possible without the support of my family, friends and the continuous sponsorship by Coca-Cola in the Olympic Games."

    
    Saturday, October 31st

    Carolyn Murray - carrying the Olympic Torch in Cowichan Bay, British
    Columbia
    

Murray recently experienced the magic of the Olympic Games as a competitor in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Since a young age, Murray has been involved in sports. After many years of hard work, she qualified for the Olympic Games in Triathlon. The experience was something Murray will never forget and she can feel the same energy building as the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver approach. One of her highlights in Beijing was the closing ceremony where she could feel the true spirit of the games. Having achieved her goals in sport, Murray has chosen to pass on her experience and knowledge to the future Olympians in Triathlon. She coaches the Junior and U23 Development athletes in Victoria and is working to give them the tools they need to be successful athletes. She hopes that one day she will see some of these athletes in future Olympic Games. Although she is not competing anymore, the value of being active in sport is still present in her everyday life. She works to be a strong model for the younger athletes. Murray is excited to be a Coca-Cola Torchbearer as it will allow her to once again feel the Olympic magic.

"I am excited and honoured to be a torchbearer for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games and I would like to applaud Coca-Cola for their involvement and thank them for selecting me," said Murray. "We, as Canadians, have a great opportunity to showcase our amazing country and I can't wait to be a part of it!"

Hailey Toriglia - carrying the Olympic Torch in Cedar, British Columbia

Toriglia wanted to help save the planet, so the first thing she did was challenge her family to recycle. She found that with very little effort, her Blue Box was overflowing with recyclables - ones that before would have been sent to a landfill. Toriglia's father, a 'pack-rat', taught her how to reuse all sorts of treasures that had been sitting around their home. What they could not use in new and interesting ways were donated to their local thrift shop. Soon after, Toriglia wanted to decrease what went into their Blue Box by trying to reduce some of the plastic containers they purchased. She also planted a vegetable garden at her and her grandparent's home, so they could enjoy local, fresh produce while reducing the amount of waste they produced. Toriglia's entire family is making changes to their daily routines (shorter showers, turning off the lights and putting on a sweater instead of turning up the heat) all in an effort to reduce their impact on the environment - they are even converting their swimming pool heater from gas to solar. Toriglia also started walking everywhere she can, which is great exercise and doesn't burn gas!

"It's about taking small steps," said Toriglia. "If we all start small and work diligently at home and encourage others, we can collectively make a huge difference. Every little bit helps when it comes to saving our planet! When I applied to be an Olympic Torchbearer I learned about many of the positive efforts Coca-Cola has made to create a more positive environment. Thank you, Coca-Cola for this opportunity of a lifetime!"

James Mather - carrying the Olympic Torch in Mill Bay, British Columbia

Mather plays on his school rugby team and plays hockey in his community. Mather has played school and community soccer, he swims and he alpine races. At home, he prefers to do active, outdoor chores and often rides his bike to get around. Mather goes to the gym every day after school to enhance his performance in competitive sports and enjoyment of recreational activities. His efforts towards leading a healthy and active life have inspired his mother to go to the gym with him. As a result, his mother has benefited from lowered cholesterol, stronger muscles to support arthritic joints and greater enjoyment of other activities. Mather, during a five-day school trip, camped on a lake during the night and rock climbed throughout the day. Some of his fellow classmates were too scared of heights to try rock climbing, so Mather persuaded them to try it and overcome their fears. They ended up loving the sport and had Mather to thank. Mather's leadership taught him that the value of an active lifestyle goes beyond physical fitness as it also provides a sense of accomplishment and achievement.

"Running the torch for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games is something that I will remember for many years to come and I am very thankful to Coca-Cola for giving me this once-in-a lifetime opportunity," said Mather. "The Olympic Games are a unique way to showcase our great country as well as inspire others to get out and lead an active lifestyle."

About Coca-Cola and the Olympic Movement

The Coca-Cola Company has been an Olympic Games partner since 1928 and is the longest continuous corporate supporter of the Olympic Movement. The Company works with National Olympic Committees in more than 200 countries to help athletes train and compete. More than 90 percent of the Coca-Cola system's investment in the Olympic Games is directed to athlete development and to assist in staging the Games. Products of The Coca-Cola Company refresh athletes, volunteers, officials and spectators during the Olympic Games; and supporting programs such as the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay allows Coca-Cola to help share the Olympic Spirit around the world. The Coca-Cola Company is the exclusive nonalcoholic beverage provider to the Olympic Games through 2020.

For the most up-to-date torchbearer information and the latest Olympic Torch Relay pictures, videos and updates from the road, visit, www.cokenews.ca.

SOURCE COCA-COLA LTD.

For further information: For further information: or to book interviews with the listed torchbearers, please contact: Andrea Wooland, Hill & Knowlton Canada, (416) 413-4698, andrea.wooland@hillandknowlton.ca; Jill Batie, Hill & Knowlton Vancouver, Office: (604) 692-4227, Mobile: (778) 227-8766, jill.batie@hillandknowlton.ca

Organization Profile

COCA-COLA LTD.

More on this organization

VANCOUVER 2010

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890