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October 13/06 6:18 am - GM Canada Commits $5.2 Million to Make Athletes' Dreams Possible


Posted by Editor on 10/13/06
 

GM Canada Commits $5.2 Million to Make Athletes' Dreams Possible
Courtesy SIRC

GM Canada has pledged $5.2 million to help Canadian athletes and their coaches. GM will donate $4 million to Own the Podium 2010, an initiative created to help Canada become the number one nation in terms of medals at the 2010 Olympic Games and top three at the 2010 Paralympic Games. In addition, GM has created Making Dreams Possible, a $1.2 million program which will create a competitive advantage for Canadian athletes by directly supporting coaches at the elite and local club levels.

"Creating an Olympic or Paralympic athlete is similar to building a vehicle, neither can be completed in a day and both need the support and expertise of a great team," says Arturo Elias, president of GM Canada. "Making Dreams Possible is a natural extension of GM Canada's long history of supporting Canadian athletes, but it goes one step further, by allowing us to directly support the coaches behind the scenes who lead and inspire our current and future Olympians to success."

"In the eyes of most Canadians, it is our athlete's Olympic and Paralympic achievements that will largely define the success of the Games in 2010," says Jack Poole, chairman, VANOC. "Making Dreams Possible and Own the Podium 2010 will help lay the groundwork for unprecedented results from our Canadian team in 2010, while generating enthusiasm and pride in Canadians from coast to coast."

Over the next four years, GM's Making Dreams Possible program will provide ten annual grants of $10,000 to high performance athletes and their coaches and 100 annual grants of $2,000 to coaches in local communities. These grants can be used to fund special training camps, coaches travel and education activities that support development of community sport programs.

"I would not have achieved the level of success in figure skating without the support of my coach, Manon Perron," says Joannie Rochette, 2006 Canadian Figure Skating Champion, whose coach, Manon Perron is the first recipient of a Making Dreams Possible high performance grant. "She knows I have it in me to succeed and reach the podium and she pushes me to perform my best every time I compete."

"A coach provides more than just technical instruction for their athletes," says David Ellis, a coach from the Toronto Fencing Club, the first community organization to receive a Making Dreams Possible award. "At the community level, we set the foundation for participants to develop and grow through sport as well-rounded individuals and also, in some instances, to set the stage for Olympic aspirations."

Making Dreams Possible will be managed by the Coaching Association of Canada, who oversees Canada's coaching education program. Applications can be submitted by high performance athletes and coaches for the elite grants and head coaches, technical directors or the president of local sports clubs can apply for the local sport club coaching awards. Application forms can be found and submitted at www.thedriveison.ca.

GM's $4 million Own the Podium 2010 commitment will be funded through a cash donation from every new vehicle sold in 2007 and 2008. To give the program a head start, GM will make a retroactive contribution for all '07 models sold to date.

 


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