Team Visa welcomes seven summer athletes to its Olympic Games sponsorship program

    Selected out of nearly 150 nominees, Team Visa athletes will receive
    mentorship from Olympians Marnie McBean, Bruny Surin and Paralympian
    Marni Abbott-Peter

    TORONTO, April 17 /CNW/ - As a long-term supporter of Canadian amateur
athletes, Visa proudly announced its Team Visa athletes who aim to compete in
the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Seven summer athletes,
including five Olympic and two Paralympic hopefuls, were added to the
company's unique Olympic Games sponsorship program. Olympic Gold Medalists
Marnie McBean and Bruny Surin and Paralympic Gold Medalist Marni Abbott-Peter
will serve as Team Visa mentors to the aspiring amateur athletes as they set
their sights on the 2008 Games.

    The following athletes have been selected to join Team Visa:
    -   Mark Boswell (High Jump)
    -   Karen Furneaux (Kayak)
    -   Emilie Heymans (Diving)
    -   Benoit Huot (Paralympic Swimming)
    -   Sabrina Kolker (Rowing)
    -   Richard Peter (Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball)
    -   Rick Say (Swimming)

    These athletes will join an impressive roster of existing Team Visa
members, including summer athletes Myriam Boileau (Diving), Nicole Forrester
(High Jump), Brent Hayden (Swimming), and Team Visa ambassador Jody Holden
(Beach Volleyball). The athletes will receive long-term support - both through
direct financial support and access to veteran Olympic and Paralympic mentors
- as they prepare for one of the greatest athletic challenges of their lives.
    "We at Visa are continually inspired by the dedication and passion
demonstrated by amateur athletes within their sports and communities," said
Brenda Woods, Vice President, Marketing, Visa. "Visa is proud to support these
competitors on their journey to Beijing through training, financial support
and direct access to world-class athletes, like Team Visa mentors Marnie
McBean, Bruny Surin and Marni Abbott-Peter."

    Team Visa members: Role models in athletics and in the community

    For the first time in its four year history, the Team Visa program
launched a public nomination process in June 2006 to help select the 2008 Team
Visa roster. Submitted by athletes' friends, family, teammates, coaches,
supporters and athletes themselves, a remarkable 480 nominations supporting
147 nominees were received.
    As with all Team Visa athletes, the seven newly appointed members were
selected for their sporting achievements, commitment to developing their
sports, and active community involvement. It is because of these exemplary
characteristics that Visa supports these athletes through the Team Visa

    Team Visa program: Long-term sponsorship with added benefits

    Visa understands that Canadian amateur athletes require support during
the Olympic and Paralympic Games and in the days of training in-between Games.
By providing both long-term financial support and access to mentors, the Team
Visa program helps athletes handle the challenges they may face in preparation
for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
    Team Visa mentors are elite athletes who have also established themselves
as exceptional role models. Olympians Marnie McBean, Bruny Surin and
Paralympian Marni Abbott-Peter will provide world-class mentorship for the
aspiring athletes on the road to the 2008 Games.
    "To be asked to be a mentor to athletes who are striving for success at
the Olympic Games is an honour," said Marnie McBean, three-time Gold Medal
Olympian, Manager of Olympic Preparation at the Canadian Olympic Committee,
and Team Visa 2008 mentor. "Team Visa goes so much further than other
corporate programs out there by not only providing financial assistance to
athletes leading up to and after the Games, but also by providing athletes
with unique access to successful veteran Olympians and Paralympians who can
guide through some of the small but very challenging steps to success. Whether
through phone, email or in person, Bruny, Marni and I are available to share
insights, answer questions, and help address the challenges they may face in
the upcoming months. I am very pleased to be part of Team Visa."
    Since 1988, Visa has been a committed supporter of the Olympic Movement
and was the first TOP sponsor to extend its sponsorship into the 2012 Olympic
Games. Visa is committed to supporting amateur athletes through its worldwide
sponsorship of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, its support of the Canadian
men's and women's bobsleigh and skeleton teams and through further expansion
of the Team Visa program.

    About Visa

    Visa connects cardholders, merchants and financial institutions through
the world's largest electronic payments network. Visa products allow buyers
and sellers to conduct commerce with ease and confidence in both the physical
and virtual worlds. Visa is committed to the sustained growth of electronic
payment systems to support the needs of all stakeholders and to drive economic
    Visa(R) products currently generate more than $US 4 trillion in sales
volume worldwide. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world. In
addition, Visa/Plus is one of the world's largest global ATM networks,
offering cash access in local currency in over 170 countries. Within Canada,
financial institutions have issued more than 29 million Visa cards, accounting
for $168 billion in sales volume in 2006. For more information, visit

    (R) Registered trademarks of Visa International Service Association; Visa
        Canada Association is a licensed user.

For further information:

For further information: Teri Broughton, Visa Canada, (416) 860-8869,

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