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Release: Nominations For Short Track Speed Skating & Hilton HHonors Partnership

August 29, 2013

SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATERS CHECK-IN AS FIRST NOMINEES TO SOCHI 2014 CANADIAN OLYMPIC TEAM
Names unveiled in conjunction with announcement that Hilton HHonors is now the new Official Hotel Supplier of the Canadian Olympic Team

MONTREAL – Today, Canada’s top 10 Short Track Speed Skaters were nominated by Speed Skating Canada to vie for a spot on the Canadian Olympic Team at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games next February. The five males: Charles Hamelin, Olivier Jean, Charle Cournoyer, Michael Gilday and François Hamelin; and five females: Valérie Maltais, Marianne St. Gelais, Marie-Eve Drolet, Jessica Hewitt and Jessica Gregg have earned a combined 35 World Championship podium finishes and six Olympic medals. The athletes donned their official Canadian Olympic Team jackets at an event in Montreal’s landmark Hilton Bonaventure hotel, where an enthusiastic welcome was extended to Hilton HHonors, the guest loyalty program of Hilton Worldwide and its ten distinct hotel brands, which has signed on as the Official Hotel Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team.

“Canadians were born to skate and we are delighted that these amazing athletes are the first to be nominated by Speed Skating Canada to contend for the opportunity to wear the Maple Leaf in Sochi,” said Marcel Aubut, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “On behalf of the entire Canadian Olympic family, I want to congratulate all of you on this remarkable achievement and wish you the best of luck in the remaining four World Cup events later this year.”

“The history says it all: Speed Skating Canada and our short track speed skaters know exactly what’s required to come first and it’s fitting that we are kicking off our Sochi 2014 Olympic Team Announcements with this particular team. I’m proud of all of them,” added Steve Podborski, two-time Olympian, Lake Placid 1980 Olympic bronze medallist and Sochi 2014 Chef de Mission for the Canadian Olympic Team.

“Speed Skating Canada is very proud to be the first National Sport Federation to nominate our Short Track athletes contending for a spot on Canada’s Olympic Team,” stated Marie Claire Rouleau, President of Speed Skating Canada. “I know that our athletes, coaches and support team are looking forward to competing in Sochi and I am sure that their exceptional performances leading up to the Games will prepare them well to lead our Olympic team to podium success.”

“Today’s ceremony and the receiving of our Olympic Team jackets is a special occasion for us athletes. This is a significant step for us and our team as we officially become part of the great Canadian delegation,” said Charles Hamelin, two-time Olympian and three-time Olympic medallist. “Our hard work is really starting to pay off and rest assured that my teammates and I will wear the Maple Leaf with pride and properly represent our country. One thing I can confirm is that the short track team will be ready once the Sochi Olympic Games roll around.”

At today’s announcement, Canada’s Short Track Speed Skating Team, along with other National Sport Federations were provided with some good news, as the Canadian Olympic Committee announced a new partnership with Hilton HHonors – one of the largest hotel chains in the world.

“We are honoured to partner with the Canadian Olympic Committee and by extension connect fans, our hotel guests and Hilton HHonors members to the Olympic receiving experience,” said Jeff Diskin, Executive Vice President, Commercial Services, Hilton Worldwide. “The partnership underscores our commitment to the Canadian Olympic Movement and provides members of the Canadian Olympic Family, including athletes, coaches and National Sport Federations, as well as their friends and family, the hospitality of our ten hotel brands wherever they are in the world.”

“When you’re going for gold, winning can be a matter of millimetres or milliseconds, and the difference can be something as simple as a good night’s sleep,” added Aubut. “With this partnership, we are proud to put our athletes, coaches and extended Canadian Olympic family members in the hands of Hilton HHonors’ world-class service, and we feel secure knowing that they will be treated like family in their home away from home.”

Hilton HHonors is committing to offering Canada’s athletes the kind of support they need to be at their best. In addition to Canada’s Olympic athletes and coaches, Hilton HHonors is delivering support to the wider Canadian sport family with a bespoke digital portal that facilitates access and preferred prices for bookings at the Hilton Worldwide network of hotels.

As the official hotel supplier of the Canadian Olympic Team and as a strong supporter of the Olympic movement, Hilton HHonors also offers athletes additional support to achieve personal success on a world stage. As such, Hilton HHonors is thrilled to sponsor two-time Olympic gold medallist (Ice Hockey), Meghan Agosta-Marciano and the 2013 World Championship silver medallist (Aerials) Canadian freestyle skier, Travis Gerrits, en route to Sochi 2014.

The 10 Short Track athletes nominated today will compete in four remaining International Skating Union World Cup events this season, the last two of which are Olympic qualifiers, where Canada’s nominated athletes will contend for Olympic placements in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m events in Sochi. Up to three spots in each distance is up for grabs. In order for any country to secure all three placements, racers must finish in the top 32 in the 500m and 1000m events, and top 36 in the 1500m race. In the women’s 3000m Relay and men’s 5000m Relay, only the top 8 teams will qualify to race in Sochi.

Prior to being named to the final Canadian Olympic Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Federations towards the end of January 2014.The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place from February 7-23, 2014. The Canadian Olympic Team has set a goal of finishing as the top nation in terms of overall medals won.
List of athletes nominated to the Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Team:

Women: 
Marie-Ève Drolet
Jessica Hewitt
Jessica Gregg
Valérie Maltais
Marianne St-Gelais
Men:
Charle Cournoyer
Michael Gilday
Charles Hamelin
François Hamelin
Oliver Jean

About the Canadian Olympic Committee:
The Canadian Olympic Committee leads the achievement of the Canadian Olympic Team’s podium success and advances Olympic values in Canada. Independent and predominantly privately funded, the Canadian Olympic Committee delivers resources that Canada’s elite athletes need to perform at their best and Give Their Everything every day. The backbone of Canada’s Olympic movement, the Canadian Olympic Committee works with National Sport Federations to prepare the Team for the Olympic, Youth Olympic and Pan American Games. By sharing our athletes’ stories, we inspire all Canadians through the power of sport: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

About Speed Skating Canada:
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 13,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 58 Olympic medals that Canadian athletes have won, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

About Hilton HHonors:
Hilton Worldwide is a leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For 94 years, Hilton Worldwide has offered business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. The company is dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences across its global brands. Its brands are comprised of more than 4,000 hotels and timeshare properties, with more than 650,000 rooms in 90 countries and territories and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages the world-class guest reward program Hilton HHonors®.

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Canadian Olympic Committee Media Office:
Luc Beaudin, Coordinator, Communications and Media Relations
Cell: 514-206-6720
Email: lbeaudin@olympic.ca

Jane Almeida, Manager, Media Relations
Tel: 416-324-4120 / Cell: 416-540-1788
Email: jalmeida@olympic.ca

Dimitri Soudas, Executive Director, Communications
Tel: 416-324-4136 / Cell: 289-388-6419
Email: dsoudas@olympic.ca

Speed Skating Canada:
Marie-Annick L’Allier, Communications
Tel: 514-507-6299 / Cell: 514-983-8236
Email: communications@speedskating.ca / ma@malallier.com

Hilton HHonors:
Dasha Ross, Director, Portfolio Communications
Tel: 703-883-5805 / Cell: 703-853-7937 mobile
Dasha.ross@hilton.com

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Marc-André Plouffe
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Tel: 514-861-5487 / Cell: 416-428-0572
Email: maplouffe@olympic.ca

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