Canadian Cyclist


June 1/06 5:42 am - Nominations Now Open for Athletes to Join the Team Visa Program

Posted by Editoress on 06/1/06

Nominations Now Open for Athletes to Join the Team Visa Program
Courtesy CCES

Visa is asking friends, family, teammates and coaches to nominate Canadian amateur athletes to join Team Visa. From June 1 until September 30, 2006, Visa is calling for nominations of deserving Canadian amateur athletes training to compete at the 2008 Olympic or Paralympic Games to become a part of the Team Visa program.

Team Visa supports athletes during the Games and throughout the days of training in between Games by providing both financial support and access to mentors to help athletes deal with the challenges they may face in preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Selection for the Team Visa program is based on an evaluation of the entire athlete. Not only do Team Visa members excel at their sports, but they also act as role models for Canadians by giving back to their community or to their sport. It is because of these exemplary characteristics that Visa supports these athletes through the Team Visa program.

"The dedication and passion that our amateur athletes show, both in their personal and sporting life, is truly inspirational," said Brenda Woods, Vice President, Consumer Marketing, Visa Canada Association. "We're so honoured that through the Team Visa program we are able to help these athletes in their journey, and are excited to extend this opportunity to more athletes as we expand the Team Visa program."

This is the first time the nominations have been open to the public, and Visa is looking for a total of five Olympic and two Paralympic hopefuls to join the already impressive roster of Team Visa athletes. Nominees must meet the following criteria:

1. Actively attempting to qualify for Canada's Olympic or Paralympic team for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

2. A Canadian athlete currently ranked, or has the potential to be ranked, among the top 30 in the world in an individual sport, or on a team which is ranked, or has the potential to be ranked, in the top 10 in the world in a team sport.

3. Act as a role model through charitable work, or work within his/her sport.

4. In good standing with his/her national sports federation.

5. Articulate, personable and outgoing.

Athletes selected for Team Visa will receive support from Visa in two very important ways. First, they will receive funding during Games and non-Games years to help them pay for expenses as they work towards their goal of representing Canada at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Secondly, they will have access to mentors Marnie McBean, Bruny Surin and Marni Abbot, who can provide them with insight and advice on how to manage challenges and prepare for the Games.

Marnie McBean, Bruny Surin and Marni Abbot join distinguished athletes Kurt Browning, Nathalie Lambert and Ian Balfour, who were mentors for the Team Visa athletes competing at the Torino 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

"I'm excited and proud to have been chosen to be a mentor of the Team Visa program," said Marnie McBean, three-time Gold Medalist in rowing and Team Visa mentor. "The Team Visa program is so unique because it addresses not only the financial need that amateur athletes have, but also addresses the need that athletes have for practical advice from someone who's been there."

Nominations can be made by coaches, teammates, volunteers, family, sport administrators and supporters, as well from athletes themselves, and are open from June 1st to September 30th 2006. Nomination forms and details of the Team Visa selection process can be found at Athletes selected for Team Visa will be notified by December 31st 2006, and will join existing members of Team Visa:

- Myriam Boileau (Diving)

- Colette Bourgonje (Nordic Skiing & Wheelchair Track Paralympian)

- Emily Brydon (Alpine Skiing)

- Jeffrey Buttle (Figure Skating)

- Jeff Christie (Luge)

- Deidra Dionne (Freestyle Skiing Aerials)

- Nicole Forrester (High Jump)

- Danielle Goyette (Women's Ice Hockey)

- Brent Hayden (Swimming)

- Jody Holden (Beach Volleyball)

- Clara Hughes (Speed Skating)

- Brian McKeever (Nordic Skiing Paralympian)


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