UPDATED - VANOC thanks Canadians, fans, for wearing hearts on their hands

Over 3.5 million pairs of Red Mittens purchased in support of Canadian winter athletes

VANCOUVER, March 5 /CNW/ - The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) today thanked Canadians and all fans who showed their support for the Canadian athletes and the 2010 Games by purchasing a pair of Red Mittens. Over 3.5 million pairs of mittens were sold during the five-month campaign and the mittens quickly became one of the most enduring and popular items of the pre-Games and Games-time period. The full inventory of Red Mittens has now been sold.

"To everyone who bought a pair of Red Mittens, who waved at a torchbearer in their community, who showed their spirit every day, or who wore them while cheering their team at the venues or while watching on television, we send a heartfelt 'thank you'," said John Furlong, VANOC's Chief Executive Officer. "Red Mittens were more than a souvenir, they became the "it" item to show support for the Games and we're grateful to everyone who literally wore their hearts on their hands. We also thank our partners, and particularly the Hudson's Bay Company and CTV, Canada's Olympic Network, for their strong support of the Red Mittens campaign."

Since VANOC launched Red Mittens last fall to raise funds to support Canadian athletes at the 2010 Games, Red Mittens have been seen on the hands of a prince, a premier, a prime minister the IOC President and millions of proud Canadians and worldwide visitors. Numerous statues, including the Drumheller dinosaur, the Harry Jerome runner in Stanley Park, the Lion's Gate Bridge lions and sported Red Mittens. A hit from the beginning, by December 2009, the mittens had reached VANOC's established goal: one million pairs sold. By the time the Olympic Winter Games ended, on February 28, 2010, more than 3.5 million pairs had been sold. The mittens were made available on www.vancouver2010.com and through Hudson's Bay Company stores, including Zellers, the Bay and Home Outfitters locations.

Red Mittens were conceived as an affordable, fun and unique way for Canadians and all Games fans to connect with Vancouver 2010 and support Canadian athletes. Demand grew as soon as the Olympic Torch Relay and Olympic torchbearers started, on October 30, to wind their way across the country wearing Red Mittens. As the Christmas holiday season approached, their popularity - both as a gift item and as practical, fun winter apparel - grew rapidly. In January/February 2010, demand for Red Mittens peaked as Canadians and international visitors sought out the fun and distinctly Canadian Red Mittens.

Net proceeds from every pair of Vancouver 2010 Red Mittens sold help complete the funding of the five-year Own the Podium 2010 initiative, which provided Canadian athletes with top Games-related equipment and training. Any additional funds raised through the Red Mittens campaign support a variety of 2010 Winter Games athlete- and sport-based initiatives.

About VANOC

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Please visit www.vancouver2010.com for more information.

SOURCE VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

For further information: For further information: VANOC Communications, Tel: (604) 403-1611, E-mail: mediarelations@vancouver2010.com

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VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

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