Own the Podium Welcomes John Furlong and New Advisory Board.

OTTAWA—Own the Podium applauds the Harper Government for its on-going commitment to creating Canadian sport excellence following the federal announcement that John Furlong will lead the organization’s Advisory Board. As chief executive officer of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Furlong was the leader behind the team that delivered one of the most successful Games ever – a Games which saw record-setting performances by Canadian athletes.

“John Furlong is seen in Canada, and around the world, as the face of Vancouver 2010, and his name has become synonymous with all of the successes surrounding the Bid and those Games,” said Alex Baumann, chief executive officer, Own the Podium. “Those successes did not come without numerous challenges which were overcome due in large part to John’s perseverance, leadership and passion for sport and all athletes. His position as chair of Own the Podium’s Advisory Board will ensure Canada’s dedication to excellence in sport will continue well into the future.”

In his new role with Own the Podium, Furlong will lead a dynamic, high-profiled Advisory Board including: Keith Pelley (CTV); Julie Payette (Canadian Space Agency); Dr Mike Wilkinson (Sports Medicine Professional); Dr. Guy Larose (National Research Council); Cathy Priestner-Allinger (formerly VANOC); and Lane MacAdam (Sport Canada).

Three additional members representing a joint position shared by the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee, along with one person from each of the winter and summer-sport caucus will also be named to the Board at a later date.

“A new culture for winning was instilled in all Canadians during the 2010 Games,” said Baumann. “Own the Podium’s Advisory Board brings the best skills and knowledge from a variety of areas in, and outside, of sport as part of the organization’s continued focus to fuel the nation’s best athletes’ drive to the Olympic, Paralympic and international podiums.”

Earlier this spring, the Harper Government reconfirmed its commitment to supporting Canada’s high-performance athletes beyond 2010 by announcing it will provide and additional $11 million a year into the Own the Podium winter-sport program. As a founding partner of Own the Podium, the Government of Canada played a critical role in helping Canadian athletes win a record 14 gold medals at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and finish in the top-three nations at the Paralympic Winter Games.

The federal government’s commitment to Own the Podium now totals $69 million annually, which includes a base level of funding of $22 million per year that will be directed to winter sport. For summer sport, the Government of Canada’s support is set at $36 million a year, which will be invested to athletes preparing for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in London. The remaining $11 million will go towards creating programs targeted to further developing winter and summer athletes, along with targeted investments into Canadian Sport Centres.