Government pledges $31 million to Olympic athletes

by | Jan 25, 2013 | Sports

Olympic medals won by Canada since "Own the Podium" initiative.

Olympic medals won by Canada since “Own the Podium” initiative. GRAPHIC designed by Shannon O’Reilly

Complied by Shannon O’Reilly

The federal government announced its support Thursday  for Canada’s Olympic athletes with $31 million.

Eleven winter sports will receive federal funding ahead of Sochi 2014.

“Thanks to the leadership of the Government of Canada, this is the largest investment ever for Canada’s winter-sport athletes heading into the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Anne Merklinger, CEO of Own the Podium, in a press release.

After the success of the 2010 Olympics, which were hosted in Vancouver, Canada is looking forward to building on its record setting 14 gold-medal count at a single Winter Olympics, said Ozzie Sawicki, Chef de Mission for the 2014 Canadian Winter Paralympic Team, in a press release.

“Our objective is to finish top 3 in gold medal count for Sochi, continuing the tradition from Vancouver 2010,”  Sawicki said in the press release.

Funding comes from Sport Canada’s Sport Support Program and will fund alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh/skeleton/luge, cross-country skiing, curling, figure-skating, freestyle skiing, hockey, ski jumping, snowboarding, and speed skating.

Merklinger said in the press release the primary goal is to make sure athletes have access to the resources they need to prepare for more Winter games.

Since Canada’s leading performance in Vancouver, funding for the winter games has increased by $10 million over the last four years.

“The Canadian Olympic Committee is investing unprecedented support directly for athletes because they are at the core of what our country stands for: pride, determination, and excellence,” said Marcel Aubut, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, in a press release.

In 2004, the year Own the Podium was created, the then not-for-profit organization received $12 million to support our Summer Athletes in Beijing and $11 to support our Winter athletes in Turin, from federal funding. That’s a total of $23 million.

Fast forward ten years, and a record setting most medals for Canada in a non-boycott games (boycotted Olympics is when a country decides not to send athletes for political or social reasons), and federal funding now provides roughly $70 million to Canadian athletes, in both seasons.

“Our Government is proud to support our high-performance athletes as they prepare for Sochi,” said Minister of State Bal Gosal, in a press release. “Along with all Canadians, I look forward to cheering on our athletes next winter at the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”