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Sliding centre to get World Cups next season



Top sliding athletes from around the world will be back in Whistler again in November for a western Canadian bobsleigh and skeleton World Cup event.

The World Cups will be held at the Calgary and Whistler tracks, built for the Olympic Games in 1988 and 2010, creating a western Canada circuit, designed to attract more international athletes.

Both provinces have committed to provide funding to support the two events.

"It will ensure that these world class venues that were developed for 1988 and 2010 continue to be utilized for the benefit of local athletes, spectators and our two respective provinces," said B.C.'s Minister of Healthy Living and Sport Ida Chong, at a Vancouver press conference Wednesday.

"We're committed to providing funding support for these two venues and these two events and that support will ensure world class events that showcase our two westernmost provinces and their ability to host top level sports events."

Men's and women's bobsleigh and skeleton events will take place Nov. 22-25 in Whistler and Nov. 29-Dec. 5 in Calgary.

Alberta's Tourism, Parks and Recreation Minister Cindy Ady said Alberta held seven World Cups before the 2010 Games. That translated into 450 hours of international television coverage, reaching more than 150 million viewers in key European markets.

"That's estimated to be the equivalent of 41,000 30-second commercials," said Ady. "As a tourism minister, if I was to go out and buy those commercials, I wouldn't be able to afford them. But a World Cup brings them to your province.

"The one thing that these venues have taught us in Alberta is that World Cup opportunities are not only just about athletics but it's also about tourism," she said.

The provinces are now working on an in-depth analysis of other potential events, including Biathlon IBU World Cups and a FIS Cross-Country World Cup Tour de ski for 2012.



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