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Golf tournament brings Olympians to Whistler

Fundraiser for Cdn Olympic Foundation

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By Andrew Mitchell

This Friday and Saturday Canadian Olympians and Olympic supporters will be teeing off in Whistler to raise money for the Canadian Olympic Foundation and local Olympic athletes.

This is the seventh year for the Canadian Olympic Golf Tournament, which includes 36 holes of golf, followed by receptions with other athletes.

Friday’s tournament, which takes place at Whistler Golf Course, includes on-site Olympic-themed competitions and demonstrations. Opening remarks are at 10 a.m., and there is a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. That evening the reception will be at the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain at 6:30 p.m., with over 40 athletes in attendance.

Saturday’s tournament takes place at Nicklaus North Golf Course, with Olympians like Charmaine Crooks (athletics), Robert Esmie (athletics), Mellisa Hollingsworth (skeleton), Lori Fung-Methorst (gymnastics), Steve Podborski (alpine skiing) Derek Porter (rowing), Graham Smith (swimming) and Georgina Wheatcroft (curling) taking part.

Opening marks are at 8:30 a.m. and there is a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Side games include “Beat the Archer” where players try to go closer to the pin than Olympic archer Robert Rusnov, and demonstrations of pole vault, beach volleyball and shooting.

Saturday’s reception is at the Nicklaus North Golf Course.

A second tournament will be held in Montreal on Oct. 2.

All of the proceeds from the tournament will go towards the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which provides support to athletes, coaches, national sport federations, and initiatives like Own the Podium 2010 and the Road to Excellence. As well, 25 per cent of proceeds from the tournament will be reinvested in Whistler to benefit local sports. Last year tournaments in Whistler, Montreal and Toronto raised over half a million dollars for the foundation.

Additional athletes participating in the Whistler event include rowers Iain Brambell, Joy Fera and Tricia Smith; freestyle skiers Veronica Brenner, Ryan Johnson, Kristi Richards, and Kennedy Ryan; track and field/bobsleigh athlete John Graham; bobsledders Chris Lori and Chris Farstad; track and field athletes Lynn Kanuka, Stephanie McCann and Thelma Wright; wrestler Greg Edgelow; snowboarders Crispin Lipscomb, Alexa Loo and Drew Neilson; swimmers Doug Martin and Bill Sawchuck, alpine skier Willy Raine; canoeist Mike Scarola; field hockey player Lee Wright; and ski jumper Mike Knell. As well, Friday’s reception will include swimmers Debbie Bengtson, Graham Smith and Shannon Smith; rower Laryssa Biesenthal, freestyle skier Katherina Kubenk; and gold medal speed skating star Catriona Le May Doan.

As well as supporting the golf tournament, athletes will be stopping by 13 Sea to Sky schools in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton to share their stories and experiences and maybe inspire a few young athletes to take the next step.

At 10 a.m. on Friday Crispin Lipscomb will be stopping at Don Ross Secondary in Squamish, while Melissa Hollingsworth will be at Whistler Secondary at 2 p.m.

Other assemblies will feature Veronica Brenner,   Robert Esmie, Lori Fung-Methorst, and Georgina Wheatcroft.

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