John Furlong Joins Restructuring Own the Podium

He led Canada’s efforts in hosting one of greatest Olympic Winter Games ever. Now, he will help guide the effort to give Canada’s athletes what they need to build on the grand success from Vancouver, paving the way to a new Olympic future.

John Furlong, chief executive officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), has now joined Own the Podium. On Tuesday he was officially named Chair of the Advisory Board.

Now known across the world, and being emulated by some nations, Own the Podium is a five-year-old Canadian sport initiative that provides technical support to athletes and coaches in their pursuit of excellence. With the 2010 Games behind us, the focus now shifts to summer sport, to the 2012 Olympic Games, with the goal of Canada finishing in the top-12 in overall medals.

In a news conference yesterday in Vancouver, the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport), announced Furlong’s appointment. Alex Baumann, chief executive officer of Own the Podium, said the new Chair is the face of Vancouver 2010 and his name is synonymous with the successful bid earlier last decade and the Games themselves. “A new culture for winning was instilled in all Canadians during the 2010 Games,” said Baumann.

On the Advisory Board, Furlong will be joined by CTV’s Keith Pelley, astronaut Julie Payette, sports medicine doctor Mike Wilkinson, the National Research Council’s Dr. Guy Larose, VANOC’s Cathy Priestner-Allinger, and Sport Canada’s Lane MacAdam. The board will round out with three more members to represent summer sports, winter sports and both the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees.

After Vancouver 2010, the Government of Canada announced it would provide an additional $11 million a year to Own the Podium’s winter sport program, totalling $22 million. In that budget, it also announced an increase to $42 million each year for summer sport excellence.

Vancouver 2010 was the first indication of progress and influence of Own the Podium. The 2010 Canadian Olympic Team won a world record 14 gold medals. What will London 2012 hold?