Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport; and Ravi Kahlon, a former Olympian and Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation; have released the following statement on the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in Tokyo:
“The Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in Tokyo are scheduled to begin on Friday, July 23, 2021, with the Paralympics to follow on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. Team Canada has a strong contingent of athletic excellence. Of the 371 athletes representing Canada at the Olympic Summer Games, there are 192 athletes with a connection to B.C., making up 52% of the national team. This is the largest percentage of athletes with an affiliation to B.C. to qualify for the Olympic Games in recent history.
“The Government of British Columbia is proud to play a key role in supporting the goals and aspirations of many Olympic and Paralympic athletes. In British Columbia, we have set a pathway for sport participation and athletic development from the playground to the podium. We want British Columbians of all ages and abilities to enjoy and reap the lifelong benefits of sport and physical activity.
“We know children and youth often find their passion for sport at school or at the local community centre. Our government supports sport excellence by investing more than $50 million annually to reduce financial barriers, increase participation and provide training and development opportunities for coaches and athletes. We also leverage event-hosting capacity and invest in facilities in communities throughout B.C., so athletes have places to train.
“We know the last year has been incredibly challenging for everyone, especially for the athletes who have had to put their dreams on hold because of the pandemic. We know the athletes have been training their entire lives for this moment. We also know it has taken years of dedication, discipline and tremendously hard work to reach this milestone. We are so proud of Team Canada and thank the provincial sport organizations and, of course, the coaches, friends and families who have been encouraging and supporting our athletes every step of the way.
“The Olympics and Paralympics are the pinnacle of sport. On behalf of Premier John Horgan and our entire government, we wish the best of luck to every member of Team Canada and, in particular, the athletes with B.C. connections. You are truly an inspiration to us all, and we can’t wait to cheer you on as you make your mark and go for the gold.”