Olympic Athletes Join Together in Commitment to Protect the Environment

VANCOUVER, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - Over two hundred athletes from over 40 countries have made a commitment to take environmental action during and after the Olympic Games, with Olympians like Sara Renner leading the way. Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola has partnered with two leading Canadian environmental organizations to encourage all Olympians to make a commitment to protect the environment.

With the support of Coca-Cola, members of Project Blue Sky (PBS) and the Clean Air Champions (CAC) recruit Olympians. PBS and CAC are two non-profit organizations made up of elite athletes who are serving as Environmental Ambassadors during the Games. These ambassadors are working out of the Athletes Villages where they enlist Olympians from around the world to make a pledge to protect the environment. Coca-Cola placed interactive touch displays in the athlete's village in both Vancouver and Whistler. These displays allow 2010 Olympians to record their personal sustainability pledge. Athletes can email these pledges with a photo and personal message around the globe.

"Olympic athletes are role models within their own countries. Our hope is that by making a commitment to the environment, we will inspire the world to help save the planet," said medal winner Sara Renner, Canadian Cross Country Skier and Clean Air Champion. "As an outdoor winter athlete, I care about the air I breathe and the snow under my feet. It is important to make a personal commitment to the environment and make everyday decisions with the environmental impact in mind. Our combined voices can make a difference."

"The Olympic Games are an inspiration to millions around the world. These athletes are taking the Olympic spirit to a new level by tackling the environmental challenges we all face. They are more than just ambassadors for their sports - they are role models of how the Olympics can inspire positive action on issues that affect us all," said David Moran, Communications Director, Coca-Cola Canada.

"We believe the combined efforts of Olympic athletes, sponsors and organizing committees can achieve something monumental and positively impact the planet," said Deirdre Laframboise, executive director, Clean Air Champions. "The Olympics transcend sport and bring the world together for a magical moment. We need to ensure the Olympic spirit lives on in our efforts to combat climate change."

Other components of Coca-Cola's environmental action plan include carbon neutral sponsorship of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and Olympic Torch Relay; the debut of the Company's new PlantBottle, a recyclable package made from up to 30 per cent plant-based material; ensuring 100 per cent collection of all PET containers used in Olympic venues; Coca-Cola associates' Olympic uniforms are made from recycled plastic (PET) bottles; and the deployment of 1,400 EKOfresh refrigeration units which eliminate direct greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy use by 35 per cent over regular refrigeration units through 'smart' temperature control.

Coca-Cola's Environmental Athlete Ambassadors: David Calder, Rowing - 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist & three time World Champion, Rumon Carter, Triathlon - Third place (amateur) IronMan Canada, Jake Cohn, Freestyle Mogul Skiing - sixth overall on 2008 World Tour; Brandon Crichton, Cycling - Participated in three World Championships, Matt Dolf, Tennis - Head of Sustainability, The Academy of Sport; Kari Ferlatte, Mountain Biking - 2003 Bronze Medalist at Transrockies;, Gina Grain, Cycling - 2008 Olympian & 2006 Silver Medalist at the World Championships, Benoit Huot, Paralympics Swimming - 16 Paralympic Medals (8 Gold); Ryan Johnson, Freestyle Mogul Skiing - 1997 & 2002 World Cup gold Medalist; Jamie Korab, Curling - 2006 Olympic Gold Medalist; Adam Kreek, Men's Eight Rowing - 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist; Nathalie Maurer, Rowing - 2007 Pam Am Games Gold and Silver Medalist; Ben Rutledge, Men's Eight Rowing - 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist; Robert Safrata, Alpine Skiing - Competed in 1976 Winter Olympic Games; Jessica Sedlock, Track & Cross Country Running - 2008/2009 N. American Champion; Bill Trayling, Kayak/Adventure Racing - 32-time National Kayak Champion, Katie Weatherston, Women's Ice Hockey - 2006 Olympic Gold Medalist

To view Olympians who have made pledges, please click here:

http://files.newswire.ca/860/AthletesFactSheet.pdf

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 non-alcoholic beverage provider to the Olympic Games through 2020.

About Project Blue Sky

Project Blue Sky is a fully functional social network where users can connect and learn more about their favourite athletes. They can also share photos and videos, make friends and compete to reduce climate change. Project Blue Sky started as a partnership between the Canadian Olympic Committee's Athlete Council and students in the Masters of Digital Media program at the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver, Canada. Offsetters became involved originally to consult on the site's CO2 calculations. In the summer of 2009, Offsetters sponsored and continues to develop the project as a means of engaging the public in considering the impacts of their daily transportation choices on carbon emissions.

About Clean Air Champions

The mission of Clean Air Champions is to improve air quality by working with respected athletes to motivate and educate Canadians to adopt practices and lifestyles that enhance both environmental and personal health. CAC is a national charity incorporated in 2002 with its head office in Ottawa, and affiliates in Southern Ontario (Toronto) and British Columbia (Vancouver and Victoria). Clean Air Champions (CAC) was founded in 2001 by three passionate individuals with education and careers in the sport and environment fields; David Chernushenko, Deirdre Laframboise and Anna van der Kamp. Today, CAC is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors, an Executive Director and staff, and an Advisory Board.

Coca-Cola in Canada

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company. In Canada, the Company is represented by its subsidiary, Coca-Cola Ltd. (Coca-Cola in Canada). Coca-Cola is Canada's largest beverage company. Coca-Cola in Canada markets three of Canada's top nonalcoholic sparkling beverage brands, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Sprite, and the leading ready-to-drink tea: Nestea. In addition, our subsidiary is the largest juice and juice drinks company with Minute Maid, Five Alive and Fruitopia. The Company also markets DASANI, PowerAde and other hot and cold beverages.

For more information about Coca-Cola in Canada, please visit our website at www.cocacola.ca or our parent company's website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.

SOURCE COCA-COLA LTD.

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Kirsten Mihailides, Coca-Cola Canada, (604) 828-3534, kmihailides@na.ko.com; Jill Batie, Hill & Knowlton Vancouver, (604) 692-4227, jill.batie@hillandknowlton.ca

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