Two of Canada’s best Olympic relay teams, the 1996 Men’s 4×100 metre Relay Team (Athletics) and the 1998 Men’s Short Track Relay Team (Speed Skating), along with Biathlon gold medallist Myriam Bédard, are among the inductees who will be honoured tonight at the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Dinner in Montreal.

“It is a special honour to be celebrating Olympic excellence in beautiful Montreal, the city in which our organization was founded. This year we are also proud to celebrate 100 years of Canadian Olympic team participation,” said Chris Rudge, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “This year’s inductees are an extraordinary group of individuals whose contributions to sport in Canada are an inspiration to generations of Canadians.”

“I feel very privileged to be inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame alongside such a group of outstanding sports figures,” said Bruny Surin, member of the 4×100 metre Athletics Relay Team. “It’s great to be with my team again to relive our gold medal moment in Atlanta.”

The Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame recognizes those who have served the cause of the Olympic Movement with distinction. The 2004 Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame inductees are:

Myriam Bédard, who became the first North American ever to win a medal in the Biathlon at the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville in 1992. Two years later, she returned to win double gold at the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer.

The 1996 Men’s 4×100 metre Relay Team (Athletics) – Donovan Bailey, Carlton Chambers, Robert Esmie, Glenroy Gilbert and Bruny Surin – dominated tracks around the world. The dream team upheld its champion status when it captured the gold medal and recorded the fastest time ever on U.S. soil at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.

The 1998 Men’s Short Track Relay Team (Speed Skating) – Éric Bédard, Derrick Campbell, François Drolet and Marc Gagnon – were skating to win at the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano in 1998. The team’s gold medal finish in the 5000 metre ahead of the South Koreans established the Canadians as the team to beat. Later that year, the team added two World Championship victories to its Olympic gold.

Dr. Jeno Tihanyi, who has been actively involved in coaching swimming at the national and Olympic levels for over 20 years. His coaching achievements include 16 world records and two Olympic gold medals.

Bert Oldershaw, whose long list of accomplishments as an athlete, administrator, writer and builder distinguish him as one of the most significant contributors to the sport of Canoe-Kayak in Canadian history.

The Canadian Olympic Order will be awarded posthumously to Andrew Sidney Dawes, first COC President, an IOC member and 1967 Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Inductee (building category). The Canadian Olympic Order is accorded to those individuals who have made the Olympic Movement their life’s work and have served it with distinction.

In addition, Speed Skating Canada is the recipient of the 2003 IOC Trophy for “Sporting Excellence”, awarded to an organization that has excelled in promoting and achieving excellence in sport.

All proceeds from the Hall of Fame Induction Dinner will contribute to the COC’s Excellence Fund, which provides direct funding to athletes and the high-performance sport community to help them pursue their Olympic dreams.

The induction dinner, to be held this evening at Windsor Station in Montreal, will be hosted by Olympians Rosey Edeh and Jean-Luc Brassard.

The Hall of Fame dinner is part of the 2004 Canadian Olympic Congress, the annual gathering of the COC’s Board of Directors and Athletes’ Council, which will bring together about 200 athletes, coaches, administrators, volunteers, sponsors and sport officials from across the country.