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COC Distributes $ 919,000 to World Ranked Athletes

Montréal, June 20, 2002 – As part of a new philosophy of investing and
supporting excellence the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is distributing
$919,000 to 218 World leading athletes in 2002. The Athlete Grant Program
recipients were honoured in Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal.

In line with the COC’s new philosophy to support excellence, the
Athlete Grant Program was modified this year to focus on excellence. A
selected number of athletes from Olympic and Pan American sports, ranked
top-8 in the World were awarded the Grants. The largest cheques amount to
$8,000, and were distributed to Athens 2004 hopefuls ranking among top-6 in
the world.


“The COC’s Athlete Grant Program rewards the best Canadian athletes
and invests in their future performance at Olympic or Pan American Games”
explains Jim Thompson, CEO of the COC. “All COC financing initiatives to
the sport system were realigned this year to focus on excellence” he added.
The amount of the 2002 Athlete Grant Program was revealed at a national
press conference held yesterday in Toronto. The $919,000 total is part of a
$6.8 million investment in the high performance sport system, distributed
to National Sport Federations (NSF), athletes and coaches. Of the $6.8
million, $5.25 million will be awarded to 45 National Sports Federations
and seven Pan American only sports, $919,000 goes to athletes and a new
$650,000 support program for coaches. The NSF program was renamed High
Performance Support Program to reflect the new philosophy.


More than twenty athletes received their cheque at a special
presentation held at the Club Sportif MAA in Montreal. Swimmer Marianne
Limpert, Olympic silver medallist and an annual recipient of the program
since its inception in 1997 talked about the contribution of the COC
Athlete Grant Program. “Winning an Olympic medal does not guarantee a
steady income, or a safe financial future”, said Limpert. “We need all the
financial support we can get to reach and maintain our rankings at the
world level, so this COC program is really welcomed by athletes” she added.


In cycling for example Lori-Ann Muenzer from Edmonton, AB
received$8,000, Mandy Poitras from Langley, B.C. received $3,000, while
triathletes Simon Whitfield from Penticton, B.C. and Jill Savege from
Victoria, B.C. each received 8,000. Former cyclist turned speed skater
Clara Hughes received $2,000.The CCA as one of the 45 National Sports
Federations is slated to receive $130,792. Speed Skating tops the list at
$605,498.


An Olympians Canada reunion of the BC Chapter in Vancouver was the
stage for the cheque distribution to the British-Columbia recipients of the
Grant. Retired Olympian and IOC member Charmaine Crooks was among the
presenters. Over 60 Olympians attended this annual event, which allowed
Olympians of all of ages to re-connect and share Olympic memories.


“The timing of these COC Athlete Grant cheque presentations is
ideal as it coincides with Olympic Day celebrations around the world. June
23rd is the anniversary of the founding of the modern Olympic Movement”
explains Crooks,
“This is the ideal time to celebrate our past Olympic achievements
and look forward to the future as athletes prepare for the Pan American
Games in Santo Domingo in 2003 and the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004”.


The COC, a private, not-for-profit corporation, is the largest
private sector benefactor of high performance sport in Canada. It is
responsible for all aspects of Canada’s involvement in the Olympic
movement, including Canada’s participation in the Olympic and Pan American
Games. In addition, the COC manages a wide variety of programs that promote
the Olympic Movement in Canada through cultural and educational means. For
more information see the COC website: www.coa.ca





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