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NEWS RELEASE · 27th September 2010
M. of Healthy Living & Sport
Canadian athletes will benefit from a cash infusion of $1.3 million to the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific from the Governments of Canada and British Columbia.

The money will be used to deliver critical programming at Canadian Sport Centre Pacific's locations in Victoria (summer) and the legacy of facilities in Whistler (winter), which were originally constructed to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The financial commitment of $650,000 by the federal government, with an additional $650,000 matched by the Province of British Columbia, enables the Own the Podium-inspired Canadian Sport Institute strategy to take a major step forward. The vision for the institutes is to marry the facilities and resources necessary to develop a performance pathway that includes a provincial high-performance stream that supports current and future national team athletes, coaches and training groups. The shared goal is to ensure sustained international sporting excellence.

With the successful hosting of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the investment in world-leading facilities constructed for the event, British Columbia represents the first logical place to start making the Canadian Sport Institute concept a reality.

"Canada's coaches and athletes are an enormous source of pride for all Canadians and our Government continues to actively support them as they strive for excellence," said Minister of State Gary Lunn. "This additional funding on behalf of the Government of Canada is an investment into the people who truly make Canada a leading sporting nation."

The investment in Canadian Sport Centre Pacific's daily training environment within the Whistler Athletes' Centre and Victoria's Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence will improve sport coaching and programming, provide athletes with additional access to facilities, improve equipment and program leadership, and enhance sport science and medicine services.

British Columbia has played a crucial role in supporting the Own the Podium program since it was launched in 2005. B.C. continues to lead the way to help Olympic and Paralympic athletes achieve podium performances and is the first province to step forward with new funding for the next evolution of the program.

"We saw the successful results of Own the Podium at the 2010 Games, and now Canada's top winter athletes are going to receive the services they need right here in Whistler," said Ida Chong, B.C. Minister of Healthy Living and Sport. "This venue will bring together the people, programs, equipment and infrastructure to link athletes and coaches to the best in sport services, including sport medicine and sport innovation."

Evolving out of a network of seven Canadian Sport Centres across the country, the movement toward the development of the Canadian Sport Institute system, with a goal of centralizing facility and programming resources for athletes, has been a substantial focus shared by Own the Podium, Sport Canada and its provincial partners over the last few years.

"This much needed funding by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia allows Own the Podium to begin moving its vision of creating Canadian Sport Institutes across the country closer to reality," said Alex Baumann, chief executive officer, Own the Podium. "This type of investment stretches our ability to positively impact athlete performances at the provincial and development levels without compromising our ultimate goal of delivering more Olympic and Paralympic medals for Canada."

The Government of Canada is the largest single contributor to sport in this country, and strongly supports sport participation and physical activity among people of all ages and abilities. Funding of an additional $650,000 brings the total Government of Canada investment in the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific to $3,070,485 in 2010-11.

The Province of British Columbia is providing more than $47 million in 2010-11 to support sport programming in B.C. and has invested more than $655 million in sport infrastructure to provide facilities for competition, training and athlete and coach development. It has also provided almost $12 million to support major, world-class sporting events around the province, giving B.C. athletes the opportunity to compete and excel in national and international events here at home.