Own the Podium 2010 (OTP) recommends funding to targeted winter sports and announces two new national programs

    -Upcoming season critical to podium success at 2010 Winter Games-

    CALGARY, Oct. 2 /CNW/ - Own the Podium 2010 recommended today the
distribution of excellence funding for targeted winter sports for the
2007-2008 competition season and announced two new national programs targeted
at coaching development and performance technology training. The announcement
was made during a two-day session in Calgary with all 13 winter National Sport
Organizations (NSOs), Government, Sport Partners and members of the Vancouver
Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC)
to discuss preparations for Canadian athlete success at the 2010 Winter Games.
    "While we are pleased with the progress our winter sports are making to
get ready for 2010, the upcoming competition season is critical. This is the
year where many Canadian athletes must learn how to medal at world events,
building the confidence required to perform at the highest level in 2010,"
stated Roger Jackson, CEO Own the Podium 2010 (OTP). "The funding as well as
the coaching and video technology sport programs announced today will
significantly build on what is becoming a much stronger Canadian winter sport
system that will result in even greater medal performances by our Canadian
winter athletes."

    2007-2008 Funding

    For 2007-2008, the funding parties of OTP are providing over $18 million
in excellence funding directly to 13 targeted winter sports and disciplines
that have demonstrated medal potential for 2010. The excellence funding is
primarily for training and competition, coaching and support staff salaries,
sport medicine and sport science support. The remaining $5 million of the OTP
$23 million budget for the 2007-2008 is to support services to athletes from
certain Canadian Sport Centres, Top Secret research and various other

    New National Programs

    Coach Professional Development Program

    The Coach Professional Development Program has been developed to ensure
that coaches have the training required to successfully prepare their athletes
for medal performances at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter
Games. More than 20 projects have been supported in the initial launch of the
program, which was developed in partnership with the Coaching Association of
Canada and the National Sport Organizations.

    National Performance Technology Clinics

    The National Performance Technology Clinics, which have been initiated in
partnership with Canadian Sport Centres will create a Canadian network of
certified video technology specialists who will work with national coaches and
teams to provide video analysis services wherever athletes are training and
competing. Clinics have already been held in Vancouver in late September and
will be held in Montreal (October 16-17), in Toronto (November 3-4) and
Calgary (November 27-28).

    Comments from Sports

    At today's media conference, representatives of the snow, ice and sliding
sports - Ken Read, CEO Alpine Canada; Jean Dupré, CEO Speed Skating Canada;
and Bill Warren, Director Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton - all commented on the
benefits of the Coach Professional Development Program, the Performance
Technology Clinics and the importance of OTP's contributions in meeting their
performance goals for the 2010 Games.
    ACA Chief Executive Officer Ken Read said, "Increased human, technical
and financial resources are critical for Canada's alpine ski racers to win
against the best in the world. Own the Podium 2010's support is critical as
our athletes relentlessly chase the hundredths of a second that make the
difference between winning a medal and finishing fourth. We are coming off a
record year and 2007-2008 will again allow Alpine Canada Alpin to take measure
of where we are in our goal to be the world leading ski racing nation by
    Three-time winter Olympian and hockey hero Hayley Wickenheiser stated,
"The 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is the epitome of a
Canadian athletes' sporting career because we will be competing at home in
Canada in front of family, friends and the entire nation." The additional
funding that Own the Podium 2010 is providing is fundamentally changing the
winter sport delivery model in Canada. The opportunity to have the best
equipment, the best coaches and the most innovative technology is allowing
Canadian winter athletes to be competitive on the world stage and this is
critical to Canada's drive to the Podium in 2010."

    October 1 and 2 OTP/NSO Meetings

    The two days of meetings and discussions on the Own the Podium 2010
initiative have focused on a number of key areas, including how to continue to
strengthen the sports and their programs; priorities for future funding;
review of all OTP programs and the OTP strategic plan; and developments in
sport technology and innovation. OTP Partner updates were provided by the
Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) on Games-time preparations, VANOC on
pre-Games venue operations and Sport Canada on federal government initiatives
to support high performance sport.

    Canadian Podium Success in 2007

    Canada's winter athletes ranked second overall in total World Cup medals
at the end of the 2006-2007 competition season, with 135 medals. Canada also
ranked second overall in total 2007 World Championship podium results with 27
medals. Overall, a total of 77 Canadian athletes reached the podium in World
Cup and World Championship events during the 2006-2007 winter season.
    Germany finished the 2006-2007 World Cup season ranked first among all
nations with 215 medals. The United States of America was third with 134,
followed by Austria and South Korea with 128 and 103 podium performances
respectively. In 2007 World Championship events, Germany led all nations with
39 medals. Norway was third with 25, five ahead of the United States which
finished fourth. Switzerland rounded out the top five with 15 podium finishes.

    About Own the Podium 2010

    Own the Podium 2010 (OTP) is a collaborative winter sport technical
initiative of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Paralympic
Committee (CPC), Sport Canada and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). OTP is designed to help
Canada become the number one nation at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in terms
of medals and to place among the top three (gold medal count) at the 2010
Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler.
    One-half of the $110 million in funding, which began in 2005, originates
from the Government of Canada, through Sport Canada ($55 million). VANOC is
raising the other half ($55 million) through corporate and provincial support.
 Bell Canada is the Founding Corporate Partner, and the other Partners are
General Motors of Canada, Hbc, McDonald's Canada, Petro-Canada, RBC Financial
Group and RONA. The Government of British Columbia is the first province to
contribute to OTP. Also contributing to the success of this initiative through
administrative and financial support are the Canadian Olympic Committee and
the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

    Background material and B-roll are available upon request.

For further information:

For further information: Lisette Johnson Stapley, Communications
Manager, Own the Podium 2010, Tel. (403) 202-6314, Cel. (403) 589-3258,
lisettestapley@ownthepodium2010.com, www.ownthepodium2010.com

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