Visa Canada welcomes two new athletes to Team Visa Vancouver

    Jennifer Heil and Alexa Loo to receive mentorship as part of Visa's
    Olympic Games sponsorship program

TORONTO, Nov. 16 /CNW/ - A long-term supporter of Canadian athletes, Visa Canada proudly announced today that two additional athletes - freestyle skier Jennifer Heil and snowboarder Alexa Loo - have been named to the Team Visa program. Team Visa athletes, who will aspire to compete at Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, are selected for their sporting achievements, dedication to developing their sports, and active community involvement. It is because of these exemplary characteristics that Visa chose Jenn and Alexa to be a part of the Team Visa program.

A global program, Team Visa is dedicated to supporting amateur athletes as they prepare for one of the greatest athletic challenges of their lives: competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Team Visa in Canada includes the following seven amateur athletes:

    -   Colette Bourgonje (Paralympic Cross-Country Skiing)
    -   Emily Brydon (Alpine Skiing)
    -   Jeff Christie (Luge)
    -   Jennifer Heil (Freestyle Skiing - Moguls)
    -   Clara Hughes (Speed Skating)
    -   Alexa Loo (Snowboard)
    -   Brian McKeever (Paralympic Cross-Country Skiing)

"We are thrilled to welcome Jenn and Alexa to our roster of exceptional Canadian athletes," said Brenda Woods, Head of Marketing, Visa Canada. "Visa is proud to support our Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls on their journey to Vancouver through financial support and direct access to Team Visa mentors' Kurt Browning, Nathalie Lambert and Ian Balfour."

In Canada, the role of the mentor is central to the Team Visa program and provides the opportunity for amateur athletes to learn from and be inspired by Olympians and Paralympians. Team Visa mentors' Kurt Browning (Figure Skating), Nathalie Lambert (Short Track Speed Skating) and Ian Balfour (Paralympic Alpine Skiing) are uniquely qualified to answer complex questions, such as how athletes should mentally and physically prepare for the Games, if their lives will change should they win a medal, and what they need to do to be their best. Browning, Lambert and Balfour all return for their second stint as Team Visa mentors; they previously served in this position for the Torino 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

"I am delighted to be involved with the Team Visa program as a mentor," said Nathalie Lambert. "With less than 100 days to go to the 2010 Winter Games, this is an exciting but often demanding time for Canada's amateur athletes. Whether through phone, email or in person, Kurt, Ian and I are available to share our experiences, answer questions, and help the athletes of Team Visa on the road to the Games."

Recently retired Olympians Danielle Goyette (Ice Hockey), Jeffrey Buttle (Figure Skating) and Deidra Dionne (Aerials) proudly serve as Team Visa ambassadors.

Globally, Team Visa Vancouver supports more than 25 individual athletes, all with the potential to be selected for their National Olympic and Paralympic Teams. Visa has been a committed supporter of the Olympic Movement since 1986.

About Visa

Visa operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit

SOURCE VISA Canada Corporation

For further information: For further information: Teri Broughton, Visa Canada, (416) 860-8869,; Janine Allen, Fleishman-Hillard, (416) 645-3657,

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