February 14/08 8:54 am - COC on Parliament Hill to Seek Funding for Road to Excellence Program
Posted by Editor on 02/14/08
COC on Parliament Hill to Seek Funding for Road to Excellence Program
With the federal budget set to be unveiled on February 26, representatives of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Sport Matters Group, National Sport Federations and Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be meeting with parliamentarians in Ottawa today seeking a five-year injection of $30 million annually for the Road to Excellence initiative. The Road to Excellence program is a summer sport initiative aimed at helping Canada's Olympic and Paralympic athletes achieve international success.
Today's meetings build upon Recommendation #14 outlined in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance pre-budget report calling for funds to be invested in the Road to Excellence program. This financial boost toward training, technology and equipment is expected to improve the country's medal performance at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Olympic success builds national pride and a healthier Canada," said Alex Baumann, executive director of Road to Excellence and double Olympic gold medallist in swimming. "These funds are needed now to support our summer athletes and inspire future Olympians from coast to coast."
Athletes and sport representatives will meet with Members of Parliament, Senators and other parliamentarians today to provide details on the Road to Excellence initiative. The participants include Baumann; COC president Michael Chambers and CEO Chris Rudge; Canada's chef de mission at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Sylvie Bernier; Sport Matters Group senior leader and Olympian in field hockey, Ian Bird; Canoe/Kayak Canada director general Anne Merklinger; and Canadian Cycling Association CEO Lorraine Lafrenière. Olympic hopefuls Alexandra Orlando (rhythmic gymnastics) and Ryan Semple (alpine skiing) as well as Paralympic hopeful Dean Kozak (goalball) will also participate in the effort.
"We are starting to see great returns from the investment in Own the Podium winter sport program, proving that increased funding fosters success," said Bernier, who won a gold medal in diving at the 1984 Olympic Games and remains today the only Canadian athlete to win Olympic gold in diving." It's time for Road to Excellence to have the same opportunity to support summer athletes."
Road to Excellence is a summer sport initiative that is designed to provide technical support for summer Olympic and Paralympic sports to help them achieve international podium success. The goal of the program is for Canada to place 16th in the overall medal count in Beijing this summer, 12th at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and in the top five for both the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games.