The federal government’s timing could not have been better in announcing that it will contribute $25 million to the 2010 Olympic and Parlaympic Games Torch Relay.
It comes during the just the second visit of International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, who is here this week to check up on preparations for the Games.
The IOC’s Coordination Commission is also in town and will spend this week reviewing every aspect of the Games, including sport planning, marketing, media services and services to all the National Olympic Committees.
The funding announcement came as part of the Government of Canada’s release of the federal budget.
“Our goal is to create and deliver an extraordinary Olympic and Paralympic experience that makes all Canadians proud,” said John Furlong, the chief executive officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC).
“The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays are one way the Games can touch and inspire us all in a profoundly personal way. We thank the Government of Canada for its tremendous support in helping all of us achieve this goal together.
“The Olympic and Paralympic torches are traditionally among the most iconic, recognized symbols of the Games, so the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays present a tremendous opportunity to unify and inspire people across Canada.”
The Olympic Flame will travel 35,000 kilometres over approximately 100 days and visit every province and territory in Canada. The flame will be carried on its remarkable journey by some 12,000 torchbearers. Up to 120 people will have the opportunity to carry the flame each day.
Further torch relay announcements are planned for fall 2008, including the announcement of the relay route, the unveiling of the 2010 Olympic Torch design, the official torchbearer uniform and information on the torchbearer application process.
It is not clear yet what the federal government expects in return for its investment. It could mean the torch will travel to more places
This is the second funding announcement from the federal government, which had always said it would not spend any more than its close to $300 million investment in venues.
Earlier this month it announced that it would contribute $20 million to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games.
“We are all Canadians look forward to a memorable Opening Ceremony that will allow the world to see the best that Canada has to offer,” said David Emerson, federal minister responsible for the Games at the time.
The federal government also announced an additional $24 million in funding for Canada’s summer sports athletes, matching the increased funding provided for winter sports athletes preparing for 2010.