During the first day of his first visit to Canada since Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge praised the winter sport community’s plans to achieve number one status in 2010 and the Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC’s) advocacy efforts on behalf of Canadian high performance athletes.

“It is important that a host country put strong plans in place to ensure their athletes will achieve podium success at the Olympic Games. I am encouraged that Canada’s winter sport community is already working collaboratively toward this goal for 2010,” said Dr. Rogge following a meeting at the COC’s Montreal office with COC President Michael Chambers and CEO Chris Rudge. “I am also pleased to see that the COC is continuing to take steps to ensure Canada’s athletes receive the funding they need to be successful.”

During their meeting, Chambers and Rudge also shared with Dr. Rogge the COC’s continuing commitment to advocate for increased funding for high performance athletes and the COC’s continued support of Canada’s summer sports.

“We believe that it is important for us as Canada’s National Olympic Committee to step up and advocate for increased funding for Canadian athletes to help them achieve their goals at upcoming summer and winter Olympic Games,” said Chambers. “With the support and commitment of the Canadian sport community, our partners and sponsors, we believe Canada will improve its Olympic performance in Turin, Beijing, Vancouver and beyond.”

During his visit to Montreal today, Dr. Rogge also met with Minister of State (Sport) Stephen Owen, BCE President and CEO Michael Sabia and the Bell management team, Quebec Premier Jean Charest and was the keynote speaker at a Montreal Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He also spoke to Prime Minister Paul Martin via a conference call this afternoon. Dr. Rogge departs for Vancouver tonight and will spend the next two days meeting with VANOC officials and partners, and touring 2010 sport venues.