Amateur athletes face big financial hurdles when striving for the podium. The Canadian Olympic Committee relies on its partners to help bridge the gap between funding and ambition.

Petro-Canada’s Fuelling Athletes and Coaching Excellence (FACE) program returns in 2014, increasing its commitment to Olympic and Paralympic teams from $400,000 to $500,000. That means each athlete and coach pairing (50 of them) in FACE will see its funding increase from $8,000 to $10,000.

Some of the most memorable recent achievements in Canadian sport have been aided by FACE fuelling Team Canada athletes.

Marielle Thompson

Marielle Thompson at her gold medal ceremony in Sochi.

Marielle Thompson at her gold medal ceremony in Sochi.

Thompson won a thrilling ski cross gold at Sochi 2014 and was a FACE recipient in 2011.

Kaitlyn Lawes

Kaitlyn Lawes - second from right - celebrates gold at Sochi.

Kaitlyn Lawes – second from right – celebrates gold at Sochi.

One of the best young curlers in the world, Lawes was the third on the undefeated Team Jones rink that captured gold at Sochi. Lawes received FACE funding in 2010.

Patrick Chan

PatrickChan_go

Patrick Chan won team and individual silver medals at Sochi 2014.

Chan received support from FACE in 2007 and competed in Vancouver 2010 before winning a pair of silver medals at Sochi 2014.

The Future

While Thompson, Lawes and Chan are now household names for Canadian Olympic fans, the next generation looms large in FACE’s commitment to the future.

A pair of notable 2014 recipients are fencer and Youth Olympic Games flagbearer Dylan French, and golfer Tony Gil who scored the first ever hole-in-one in Olympic history at those Games.

Youth Olympic Games fencer Dylan French.

Youth Olympic Games fencer Dylan French.

In 26 years Petro-Canada has provided $8.9 million in direct funding to Canadian athletes.