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COC announces $3.2 million in athlete funding

An additional $10 million boost to federal sport funding this year has already been spent...

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An additional $10 million boost to federal sport funding this year has already been spent, with approximately $3.2 million in additional funding for athletes and $7 million to pay Canada’s way to the 2004 Olympics.

The athlete funding will be distributed through the Canadian Olympic Excellence Fund, with $900,000 in direct grants to individual athletes in $5,000 blocks, and another $2.3 million for summer athletes and teams with the greatest potential for success in Athens this summer. Over the past two years the Excellence Fund has provided $8.4 million in grants to Canadian athletes.

"We are proud to provide additional funding to support Canadian athletes and teams training for the upcoming Olympic Games in Athens and beyond," said Chris Rudge, chief executive officer for the Canadian Olympic Committee.

The $10 million was added by the federal government last month following an outcry from the sporting community when no new funds were allocated for high performance sports in Canada. While the $10 million falls short of the $60 million that Sport Matters, a lobby representing some 60 national sporting organizations has requested, the additional funding was praised as a promising start. In addition, the federal government extended an additional $20 million of funding that was expected to run out, bringing Sport Canada’s annual budget to $90 million.

To decide how the additional $10 million in funding would be allocated a Sport Review Committee of technical representatives met with each of Canada’s summer national sport federations between October and December of last year. Athletes, teams, coaches and programs with the best chance of finishing in the top eight at future Olympic and Pan-Am Games were given the highest priority, as well as athletes that made top-five finishes in international competition in 2003.

The Sport Review Committee was formed by the Canadian Olympic Committee in 2002 to improve Canada’s showing in international competition.

Some critics have said that the committee’s funding formula is essentially a Catch-22 – you have to get results to qualify for funding, but you need funding to get those results in the first place.

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