Vancouver 2010 torchbearers everyday Canadians committed to a better Canada

70 per cent (8,500) of 12,000 positions available to the public

VANCOUVER, Oct. 28 /CNW/ - Thousands of everyday Canadians are lacing up their running shoes and practising for their moment in the spotlight as official torchbearers in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay. The relay is presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government of Canada.

Approximately 12,000 people from coast to coast to coast will run, walk, paddle, wheel, sail, and even fly when their turn comes during the history making 106-day, 45,000-kilometre journey across Canada, which starts this Friday in Victoria, BC, with the Olympic Flame's arrival from Greece.

In November 2008, when the 1,030 communities along the torch route were announced, two complementary initiatives started to allocate a total of 8,500 public torchbearer spots.

The first initiative was application programs run by Coca-Cola and RBC in partnership with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). Canadians applied from every corner of the country by submitting details on how they will commit to live more active lives, or are inspired to create a better Canada.

The second initiative was the awarding of the remainder of the 8,500 public spots through other programs such as the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay Aboriginal program and the nearly 200 relay route celebration communities, who have selected local torchbearers to carry the flame as part of their community celebrations. Many communities have chosen to keep these names confidential until their celebration starts.

"With just two days remaining until the start of the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, our team and partners are in the finals stages of calling Canadians to let them know they've been successful in their applications and have been selected for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Andrea Shaw, VANOC's vice president sponsorship sales and marketing who has overall responsibility for the relays. "It's been completely inspiring making these calls and hearing the excitement from hundreds of people, from teenagers to senior citizens, in every province and territory who can hardly wait to be a part of Canada's Games and carry the Olympic Flame."

In addition to the public torchbearer programs, which will see an unprecedented number of public torchbearers selected, approximately 30 per cent of the total torchbearer positions were allocated to groups, such as Canada's national winter sport organizations, the Canadian Olympic Committee and VANOC's 60-plus Games sponsors, who are critical to the success of the relay and the 2010 Winter Games. This allocation is similar to the ticketing allocation VANOC has used for the Games.

A small number of positions have also been awarded to well-known Canadian and international figures who embody the Olympic Spirit and have made Canadians proud through their inspirational accomplishments or are Canadians that have gained international acclaim. These individuals include current and former National Hockey League star players Sidney Crosby and Trevor Linden, National Basketball Association (NBA) all-star Steve Nash, chart-topping country music star Shania Twain, legendary ballerina Karen Kain, and the young founders of Free the Children Craig and Marc Kielburger.

As the final confirmations are made for the 12,000 torchbearer spots, VANOC will make information available to the media and public at www.vancouver2010.com/torchrelay, while respecting the privacy rights of the individuals involved.

All 12,000 torchbearers will carry the flame contained in the curved metre-long winter white torch, designed and manufactured by Bombardier, while wearing keepsake uniforms created by the Hudson's Bay Company.

Daily media highlights, including details on notable torchbearers, images, broadcast quality video and editorial content for each day of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay are available to the media on FLAME, the torch relay digital asset management system. To register for FLAME, visit www.vancouver2010.com/flame, click 'Visit FLAME' and then 'Register now.'

For more information on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay visit www.vancouver2010.com/torchrelay.

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. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.

About Coca-Cola and the Olympic Movement

The Coca-Cola Company has been associated with the Olympic Games since 1928 and is the longest continuous corporate supporter of the Olympic Movement. Through the Olympic Games, Coca-Cola encourages people to create their own path of "positivity" in everyday life by believing that anything is possible. The Company's sponsorship supports National Olympic Committees in more than 200 countries to help athletes train and compete. The Coca-Cola Company is the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage provider to the Olympic Games through 2020. For more information about Coca-Cola Canada, please visit our website at www.cocacola.ca or our parent company's website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.

About RBC

As part of our commitment to helping create a better Canada, RBC sponsors amateur sport, from grassroots programs in local communities to national sport associations that support the development of amateur athletes who compete at home and abroad. Canada's longest-standing supporter of the Canadian Olympic Team since 1947, RBC continues its sponsorship through the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and is proud to bring the Olympic Spirit to communities across Canada as presenting sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay. RBC is also a premier sponsor of Hockey Canada, the Canadian Snowboard Team, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team, Athletics Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Visit www.rbc.com/sponsorship.

About the Government of Canada

The Government of Canada is proud to make 2010 a celebration for all Canadians. Through strategic investments in programming and funding, the spirit and excitement will be felt far and wide and leave lasting legacies for future generations. Through the Olympic Torch Relay, the Government of Canada is supporting citizen and community participation, as well as the inclusion of Aboriginal, ethnocultural and official-language communities. For more information on the Government of Canada's contribution to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, visit www.Canada2010.gc.ca.

About the Government of Canada

The Government of Canada is proud to make 2010 a celebration for all Canadians. Through strategic investments in programming and funding, the spirit and excitement will be felt far and wide and leave lasting legacies for future generations. Through the Olympic Torch Relay, the Government of Canada is supporting citizen and community participation, as well as the inclusion of Aboriginal, ethnocultural and official-language communities. For more information on the Government of Canada's contribution to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, visit www.Canada2010.gc.ca.

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

For further information: For further information: Media contact: Torch Relay Communications, Tel: (604) 403-9328, E-mail: media@torchrelay.vancouver2010.com

Organization Profile

VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

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