The federal government's panel on the future of sports - and sport funding - in Canada following the 2010 Games is still underway, but the Canadian Olympic Committee is pushing forward with its request for long-term funding.
On Dec. 10, Own the Podium was joined by representatives of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Sport Matters, AthletesCAN and various national sport federations and athletes on Parliament Hill, coinciding with the torch relay through Ottawa.
The groups are requesting an additional $22 million in annual funding for Own The Podium, a program that was created in 2004 to give Canada a chance of ranking first among nations in the medal count while hosting the 2010 Games. The extra funding was split between support for national sports organizations and coaching and the development of sports sciences, with half the original $55 million budget from the federal government and the other half from the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), Olympic sponsors and the B.C. government.
"Own the Podium has had exceptional returns since the first initiative five years ago," said Olympic committee president Michael Chambers. "We were number three in 2006, first in the world championships last year and are poised to have historic Games in 2010. Maintaining the program and building upon its success so that all Canadians continue to benefit from the achievement of our high performance athletes will be the greatest legacy for sport from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games."
After the Games funding sources will dry up, which is why the federal Standing Committee on Finance last week recommended that the federal government allocate $22 million annually.