Visa congratulates Clara Hughes as Canada's flag bearer for the Vancouver
2010 Olympic Winter Games

TORONTO, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - Visa Canada proudly congratulates Team Visa athlete Clara Hughes as Canada's flag bearer for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games following today's official announcement by the Canadian Olympic Committee. An accomplished athlete, Clara has won Olympic medals in both cycling and speed skating, making her the only Canadian and one of four athletes worldwide to win medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Clara is set to compete in speed skating events at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

"We are thrilled that Clara will represent Canada as flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games," said Brenda Woods, Head of Marketing, Visa Canada. "Clara is not only a tremendous athlete, but also an extraordinarily dedicated person who gives back to her sport, her community and the charities she values - all reasons why we selected her to be part of Team Visa in 2005."

After achieving more than one hundred victories in cycling - including two bronze medals in the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, medals in both the Pan American and Commonwealth Games, and numerous World Cycling and National Championship titles - Clara decided to pursue her speed skating dream.

Clara's first season on ice was full of unprecedented achievements. After being named to the Canadian Olympic Team, Clara shocked the sporting world at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games when, only sixteen months after competing in her second Summer Games as a cyclist, she won a bronze medal in the grueling 5000m speed skating event. Over the years, Clara has continued to prove herself as one of the best speed skaters in the world winning numerous achievements, including a gold and a silver medal at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games.

Team Visa

A Worldwide Sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Visa supports more than 30 individual athletes from Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia who are aiming to compete at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

As part of the Team Visa program, each Olympic and Paralympic hopeful is provided with direct financial support that can be used for their training and travel regimens. This financial support is supplemented with ongoing mentorship from Olympians and Paralympians who have competed in previous Games. Around the world, Team Visa athletes are selected for their sporting achievements, dedication to developing their sports and giving back to their communities. These athletes epitomize the Olympic Spirit through their core values, attitudes, and behaviours and serve as an inspiration for the next generation of young athletes.

For more information about Clara Hughes and the Team Visa program, visit

About Visa Inc.

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks - VisaNet - that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit

SOURCE VISA Canada Corporation

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

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