Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, and Ravi Kahlon, a two-time Olympian and Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, have released the following statement on the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing:
“We are immensely proud that B.C. athletes will be representing our country as part of Team Canada. There are 74 athletes with deep roots in B.C. who have been training their whole lives to get to this point. Their sacrifices and ability to overcome challenges will inspire future generations. Qualifying for these games is already an incredible feat.
“The success of each athlete representing Canada not only speaks to their incredible athleticism, but their perseverance and strength of character. They are truly an inspiration to all British Columbians and a testament to the dedication of their coaches, friends and families.
“You are the best of the best and we are cheering you on every step of the way.
“After contributing an astounding 50% of Team Canada’s 24 medal wins at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games, and in addition to surpassing personal bests at the Paralympics, B.C.-connected athletes are ready to shine on the world stage again.
“This year, the celebration of our athletes will look different as COVID-19 still affects the health and safety of our communities. But our passion and enthusiasm for your accomplishments have not diminished. We know you will be reaching for the stars – medals are within your grasp!
“The 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing are set to begin on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, with the Paralympics to follow on Friday, March 4, 2022. As before, Team Canada has assembled an outstanding roster of athletic talent, including B.C.’s athletes: Meryeta O’Dine, a snowboarder from Prince George, and Sofiane Gagnon, a freestyle skier (moguls) from Whistler. They are among the 34 Olympians who were born or live in British Columbia.
“We’re proud to support the journeys of many Canadian Olympians and Paralympians. Of the 215 athletes representing Canada at the Olympic Winter Games, 34% have a direct connection to B.C. and represent a variety of cultural backgrounds.
“The Province recognizes the tremendous benefits resulting from sport participation and physical activities. To expand the playing field for British Columbians of all ages and abilities, the Province annually invests more than $50 million in sport. This investment supports a range of sport and recreational programming from the playground to the podium. And through B.C.’s partnerships with viaSport, SportBC, the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific and the BC Games Society, along with the involvement of provincial sport organizations, we are working to reduce financial barriers and strengthen equity in amateur sport.
“In support of high-performance athletes on national teams or in pursuit of their Olympic or Paralympic dreams, B.C. has top-grade training and development facilities, and invests approximately $3.3 million annually toward Own the Podium initiatives. As well, through the Major Events Program, the Province provides funding to safely host international events in B.C. This includes the 2022 Parasnowboard World Cup from Feb. 8-12, an important qualification event for the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.
“On behalf of Premier John Horgan and our entire government, congratulations to Team Canada. We are incredibly proud of each Olympian and Paralympian, especially those with a B.C. connection. We join British Columbians provincewide who will be cheering you on. We wish you all the best for a safe and successful Games as you strive for the podium.”
For up-to-date progress on B.C. connected athletes at the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing as well as a list of upcoming events and current medals wins visit: http://www.bcmedals.ca