TORONTO – Air Canada will continue helping Canadian Olympic athletes to “own the podium” and reach new heights of success thanks to a four-year extension of its trusted partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee, beyond London 2012.

The renewed sponsorship agreement extends the current agreement to 2016, continuing to deliver essential support for Canadian Olympic athletes heading to Sochi 2014, through to Rio 2016 and beyond.

“It’s amazing to hear that one of the Canadian Olympic team’s strongest supporters is renewing their support for an additional four years,” said 2012 Canadian Olympic Swimming nominee Zsofia Balazs. “Not only is it great to know that we have their support all the way to 2016, but it’s also nice to know that they’ve had our backs — and our baggage — since 2006.”

“Since 2006, the transportation of Canada’s Olympic athletes and mission team has been securely under the purview of Canada’s airline — Air Canada,” said Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut. “In stepping up once again as the official airline of the Canadian Olympic Team, Air Canada is reaffirming their leadership role as a champion of Canada’s Olympic Movement.”

“As Canada’s flag carrier, Air Canada is enormously proud to extend our support of our country’s Olympic athletes an additional four years,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada. “It is an honour and a privilege to be entrusted with the safety and well-being of Canada’s Olympic heroes en-route to the greatest competition of their lives.”

“Our Government is proud to support the Canadian Olympic Committee and our ever-inspiring athletes who will proudly represent Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games,” said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. “Today we are pleased to learn that the private sector is also firmly behind our athletes.  I congratulate Air Canada on renewing its support and continuing to serve as the official airline of the Canadian Olympic Team. Their valued contribution will help Canada’s athletes continue to achieve podium success.”

The event also featured the premiere of “Small Town Kid”, the latest documentary in the Canadian Olympic Team’s Give Your Everything campaign.

Swimmer Julia Wilkinson grew up in Stratford, Ont., with a population of just over 30,000, competing in a four-lane, 25m pool. Through perseverance and dedication, Julia went on to become an Olympian, and surprised everyone but herself when she made it to the final heat in the 2008 Olympic Games. She continues to challenge herself, and most recently at the 2012 Canadian Olympic Swimming Trials was crowned “Queen of the Pool”, winning all of her events. She heads to London with even loftier expectations.