British Columbia businesses get behind local athletes

    VANCOUVER, Jan. 8 /CNW/ - High-performance athletes in British Columbia
are getting a helping hand thanks to the new Growing Champions program which
pairs athletes with businesses in their community.
    "Everyone involved in sport knows the time, talent and finances it takes
to compete at the highest levels," explained Tourism, Sport and the Arts
Minister Stan Hagen. "Growing Champions eases that financial pressure by
enabling B.C. businesses to support local athletes."
    A partnership of the Province of British Columbia, Sport BC, PacificSport
and BC Athlete Voice, Growing Champions connects athletes with local companies
who contribute $5,000 annually for three years. Three out of every four
dollars goes to the athlete with the remaining dollar supporting future
athlete development and sport participation programs.
    "When an athlete competes at the national or international level, you can
be sure they've traveled a very tough and competitive road to get there,"
added Henry Lee, president, Tom Lee Music and Growing Champions contributor.
"We are excited about Growing Champions and the hundreds of athletes who will
be helped by local businesses getting behind local talent."
    "Knowing I've got someone else on my team who is prepared to help me
reach my goals is awesome," said North Vancouver's Rebecca Staynor, who is a
B.C. triathlon champion and Growing Champions athlete.
    There are currently over 200 Growing Champions athletes waiting to be
connected with contributors, and more are expected in the coming months.
Several B.C. businesses and organizations are already supporting Growing
Champions including the Business Council of B.C., B.C. Chamber of Commerce,
The Vancouver Board of Trade, Pacific Blue Cross, Tom Lee Music, Rocky
Mountaineer Vacations, and the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers. For more
information on Growing Champions, please visit

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Trevor Pancoust, (604) 646-3567,; Dean Recksiedler, (604) 646-3574,

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