Step up Canada! Get behind Canadian athletes who need your $20.10 donation to get to the podium in 2010

    National online fundraising campaign kicks off to raise $5 million for
                         Own the Podium 2010 Program

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - It's time to step up and help Canadian Olympic
and Paralympic winter athletes own the podium in 2010. That's the message
today as a massive national online campaign kicks off to raise a minimum of $5
million through individual donations of $20.10 online at
    Every Canadian who donates $20.10 will increase Team Canada's medal hopes
at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Own the Podium
2010 program is almost fully funded and the last $5 million raised through
this national campaign will cap off the $55 million in private matching funds
to $55 million in federal funding. The $110 million program will ensure that
Canadian athletes have everything they need to win in 2010. Donors will
receive a tax receipt as well as an e-mail and thank you message from Nathalie
Lambert, Olympian (short track speed skating) and Chef de Mission for the 2010
Canadian Olympic team and Blair McIntosh, Chef de Mission for the 2010
Canadian Paralympic team.
    "In sports where a hundredth of a second can determine gold over silver
and joy over heartache - the pennies, loonies and dollars donated to Own the
Podium 2010 by Canadians of all ages at will help
give Canadian athletes the extra push they need to aim higher and reach
further," said Lambert. "Let's help to make their Olympic and Paralympic
dreams come true on behalf of all Canadians."
    "There is nothing more inspiring than knowing you have an entire nation
behind you - it's an honor and a privilege." said Clara Hughes, Olympic gold
medallist at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games. "Own the Podium 2010 is
allowing us to completely focus on the task at hand - to demonstrate
excellence and represent our country in a way that will make all Canadians
proud in 2010."
    "In less than a year, Canada will witness great athletic achievements
from the world's greatest athletes," said Brian McKeever, seven-time
Paralympic medalist, cross country skiing. "Own the Podium is giving Canadian
winter athletes the tools and the resources so that we too can deliver the
performance of a life-time in 2010,"
    "Canadian winter athletes are on a roll, and the world is taking notice -
but to really shine in 2010 they need the support of an entire nation, so we
need every Canadian to do their part," said Roger Jackson, CEO of Own the
Podium 2010. "The Own the Podium 2010 program has played a critical role in
developing the strongest Canadian Olympic and Paralympic teams ever. From a
funding standpoint, we're in the home stretch and we need Canadians' help to
raise the last $5 million through $20.10 donations," he said. "Next year,
Canadian winter athletes will be ready for the world's biggest stage. By
making a small donation of $20.10 Canadians from coast to coast to coast can
celebrate in their unprecedented success knowing they have played a part in
making it happen."

    Canadian athletes have momentum now

    This winter sports season, Canadian athletes have been serving notice on
the international winter sport circuit that they are ready to shine in 2010.
Currently ranked second behind Germany in World Cup standings, Canada recently
experienced the best-ever weekend in Canadian winter sport history, amassing a
total of 30 World Cup and World Championship medals including John Kucera's
first-ever world championship title in alpine skiing for a Canadian man.
Canada's ice sledge hockey team is the current World Sledge Hockey Challenge
Champions, and Canada's para-alpine ski team is currently number one in the
world for the first time in history.

    Time to change Canadian medal history by winning Olympic gold at home

    While Canada has enjoyed Olympic and Paralympic successes at Games
outside Canada, no Canadian athlete has ever won gold at home - not at the
Montreal 1976 Olympic Games or at the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games.
Canadian Paralympians will be competing in the first Paralympic Winter Games
ever hosted in Canada. Own the Podium 2010, a sport technical initiative
designed to help Canada be the number one nation at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic
Winter Games in total medal count and to place among the top three nations in
gold medal count at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, is helping set
the stage for Canadian athletes to make history.

    Awareness campaign featuring podium moments

    A cross-Canada advertising blitz to raise awareness of the Own the Podium
2010 public fundraising campaign starts today. The campaign creative features
moments of exhilaration and excitement of several medal-winning Canadian
winter athletes at the Torino Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: Clara
Hughes (speed skating), Mellissa Hollingsworth (skeleton), Pierre Lueders and
Lascelles Brown (bobsleigh), Chandra Crawford (cross-country skiing),
Louis-François Tremblay (short track speed skating), Dominique Maltais
(snowboard) and the Canadian men's ice sledge hockey team. The advertising
campaign is planned to run until the end of April, the close of the winter
sport competition season. High-resolution versions of the campaign creative is
available at The username is OTPMedia, the
password is Br1ll1ant and the folder is OTPMedia.

    Own the Podium 2010

    Started in 2005, Own the Podium 2010 is supported by the Government of
Canada, Canadian provinces and territories, Canadian companies, the Canadian
Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
    Own the Podium 2010 provides Canadian athletes, coaches and support
personnel with additional resources, leadership and high-performance support

    -   Support and services in the areas of travel, training camps,
        coaching, physiotherapy, sport psychology and sport medicine.
    -   Research and development of equipment and technology
    -   Top Secret research
    -   Coaching development

    A full summary of Own the Podium 2010 initiatives and programs including
breakdown of support and services by sport, is available at The username is OTPMedia, the password is
Br1ll1ant and the folder is OTPMedia.

    Own the Podium 2010 is a partnership of Canada's 13 winter national sport
organizations, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic
Committee, Sport Canada and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010
Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) .
    Half of the $110 million in funding originated from the Government of
Canada, through Sport Canada. VANOC is raising the other half through
corporate, provincial, territorial, and public support. Bell Canada is the
founding corporate partner and other corporate partners include General Motors
of Canada, Hudson's Bay Company, McDonald's Canada, Petro-Canada, RBC
Financial Group and RONA. Provincial and territorial support is provided by
the governments of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario,
Québec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut,
Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

    The Canadian Olympic Foundation was created by the Canadian Olympic
Committee (COC) as the National Charitable Organization to support Canadian
high performance athletes in pursuit of their Olympic dreams. The Foundation
through its engagement of Canadians from all walks of life is set up to lead a
grassroots movement to the podium and to sports excellence. The Foundation
works to generate support to meet the technical, scientific, medical and
coaching needs of Canada's high performance sport system and assist Canada's
athletes in becoming ambassadors for sport, healthy living and the pursuit of
excellence across the nation. The Foundation is the official philanthropic
funder of Own the Podium, and provides charitable and philanthropic donations
to both the Own the Podium and Road to Excellence programs.

For further information:

For further information: Isabelle Hodge, Canadian Olympic Committee,
(416) 3240-4122; Chris Dornan, Own the Podium, (281) 703-4394; Mary Fraser,
VANOC Communications, (604) 403-2667; Anna Parisi, Canadian Paralympic
Committee, (604) 828-2875

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