October 7, 2014

OLYMPIANS VISIT STUDENTS IN THE LAC-MÉGANTIC REGION
Their inspirational stories encourage students to strive towards their dreams by embracing Olympic values and healthy and active lifestyles

LAC-MÉGANTIC, QUÉBEC – Today, seven Olympians and the Canadian Olympic Team mascot, Komak, visited over 2,200 students from 14 schools in the Lac-Mégantic region to tell their inspirational stories, share the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect, as well as encourage youth to embrace and maintain healthy and active lifestyles. Marielle Fecteau, Reeve of the Granit Regional County Municipality (RCM), and Colette Roy-Laroche, Mayor of Lac-Mégantic, also took part in this initiative, which was spearheaded in partnership with “Jouez gagnant!”, a component of the Quebec Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sport’s Programme Équipe Québec (Team Quebec Program), and Granit Action.

As part of this school tour, Olympians Francis Luna-Grenier (Weightlifting), Philippe Beaudry (Fencing), Caroline Calvé (Snowboard), Joëlle Numainville (Road Cycling), Hugues Fournel (Canoe/Kayak), Karine Sergerie (Taekwondo) and Sandra Sassine (Fencing), as well as Komak, the Canadian Olympic Team mascot, delivered both a positive and strong message to elementary and high school students, showing them that they can strive towards their dreams by embracing the Olympic values and adopting a healthy and active lifestyle.

“I would like to thank with all my heart the Canadian Olympic Committee for this initiative. Today, dear Olympians, by visiting the region’s elementary schools as well as the Polyvalente Montignac you are helping youth in the Granit RCM renew their enthusiasm for physical activity and the Olympic values. I am also most grateful to the Red Cross team for providing transportation to the students, allowing them to experience this memorable event with Olympians,” Granit RCM Reeve Marielle Fecteau stated.

“On behalf of the town of Lac-Mégantic, I would like to personally thank Marcel Aubut, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, for his heartfelt gesture towards the Granit area youth and in particular Lac-Mégantic following the July 6, 2013 tragedy. Today, the youth of the Granit RCM have a golden opportunity to meet athletes and hear their Olympic message extolling the values of respect, justice, leadership, human development, excellence, fun and peace,” Lac-Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche added. The mayor also thanked the seven Olympians, the school principals, the school teams and the members of the Canadian Olympic Committee who, with the participation of Granit Action, helped organize this most inspirational day.

In addition to telling their stories of courage, perseverance and tenacity, the Olympians answered questions from students and teachers and were photographed with them and Komak. The Olympians also used this opportunity to distribute small souvenirs to the children who gave them a very warm welcome.

“Our primary objective today is to celebrate with you and inspire you. For youth, being active means being happy, being passionate and having dreams… We hope to contribute to those dreams in our way,” Canadian Olympic Committee Executive Director of Sport Eric Myles said.

“I am fortunate to have toured a number of schools throughout the country, and today it has been very emotional for me to meet and talk with the youth from the Lac-Mégantic region,” Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Olympic snowboarder Caroline Calvé admitted.

During this school tour, the Canadian Olympic Committee took the opportunity to talk about its Canadian Olympic School Program (COSP), a complete educational package intended for students from grade 2 to secondary 5 (grade 12). The COSP provides educational activities that focus on literacy, mental fitness, as well as the Olympic values. All program resources are available for download free of charge from www.olympic.ca/education.

“Since 2008, I have visited over 350 schools across Quebec thanks in part to Programme Équipe Québec’s “Jouez gagnant!” initiative. Each visit has been unique and touching, as I have been able to instill the Olympic values in thousands of Quebec youth. Since I retired from international competition, my job with the Canadian Olympic Committee has allowed me to continue to promote these values, which have always been dear to my heart, by making youth across Canada aware of the Canadian Olympic School Program,” two-time fencing Olympian and Canadian Olympic Committee Education, Youth and Community Outreach Coordinator Sandra Sassine passionately explained.

The school tour in the Lac-Mégantic area paves the way for other Olympians to embark on tours elsewhere in Quebec in conjunction with the “Jouez gagnant!” component of the Quebec Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sport’s Programme Équipe Québec (Team Quebec Program).

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 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 “Jouez gagnant!”:
Introduced in February 2003, “Jouez gagnant!” is the promotional component of the Programme Équipe Québec that provides funding and professional development for athletes and coaches as a way of increasing their chances of success on the international stage. The primary objective of “Jouez gagnant!” is to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity with youth. Athletes and coaches who receive support from the Programme Équipe Québec are encouraged to deliver their message at conferences held by schools, sports organizations and community agencies.

About Granit Action:
Granit Action is a non-profit organization that is actively involved in promoting healthy eating and physically-active lifestyles with Granit area youth aged 0 to 17 years and their families. Quebec en Forme is pleased to join forces with and support Granit Action.

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Canadian Olympic Committee Press Office:
Marc-André Plouffe, Executive Director, Communications
Tel.: 514-861-5487 / Cell.: 416-428-0572
Email: maplouffe@olympic.ca

“Jouez gagnant”:
Evelyne Déry, Program Officer, “Jouez gagnant!”
Institut national du sport du Québec
Tel.: 514-255-1000, ext. 243 / Fax: 514 255-1008
Email: equipequebec@insquebec.org

Granit Action: 
Paule Rochette, General Manager, Granit Action
Tel.: 819-583-2351, ext. 4216 / Cell. 819-583-9642
Email: granit@regroupement.quebecenforme.org

This document is also available on www.olympic.ca.

Backgrounder

  1. CANADIAN OLYMPIC SCHOOL PROGRAM

The Canadian Olympic School Program (COSP) was introduced in 1987 with a mandate to bring the excitement surrounding the Olympic Movement to the classroom and the school as a whole. The program’s educational material was designed to engage students in discussions about Olympic values and share stories that inspire them to work together in search of creative solutions to potential challenges and current issues. Written by teachers for teachers, resources are educationally relevant, adaptable and easy to use in class. All COSP resources are provided free of charge.

Target Audience: Students from grade 2 to secondary 5 (grade 12)

COSP Goals:

  • Promote Olympic values (Excellence, Friendship and Respect) and inspire Canadian teachers and students alike to put them into practice in their daily lives.
  • Raise awareness with teachers and students across Canada about the Canadian Olympic Team by sharing the stories behind the development of Canadian Olympic athletes.
  • Get Canadians involved in the Olympic Movement.
  • Foster healthy and active living at all levels.
  • Challenge students to acquire and maintain healthy living habits through healthy behaviors, such as: reducing to less than 2 hours a day the amount of time spent in front of screens; eating between 5 and 8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day; engaging in daily physical activity; and focussing on positive thoughts so as to build self‑confidence.

The 2014-15 COSP Program at a Glance:
The 2014-15 edition of the Canadian Olympic School Program (COSP) provides educational activities that focus on literacy, mental fitness as well as the Olympic values. The new educational resources, which will be available in the fall of 2014, feature a mental fitness component on energy gains and energy drains, as well as stories about a coach and six Olympians:

  • Denny Morrison and Gilmore Junio – Friendship
  • Justin Wadsworth – Respect
  • Dominique Maltais – Determination
  • Jean-Philippe Le Guellec – Pursuit of Excellence
  • Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – Teamwork

All Canadian Olympic School Program resources are available for download at www.olympic.ca/education.

  1. “JOUEZ GAGNANT!”

Introduced in February 2003, “Jouez gagnant!” is the promotional component of the Programme Équipe Québec that provides funding and professional development for athletes and coaches as a way of increasing their chances of success on the international stage.

The primary objective of “Jouez gagnant!” is to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity with children. Athletes and coaches who receive support from the Programme Équipe Québec are invited to deliver their message at conferences held by schools, sports organizations and community agencies.

To host a free conference featuring an international-level athlete and begin following their example through physical activity, goal-setting, perseverance and healthy and active lifestyles, schools are encouraged to check out the site http://www.insquebec.org/en/jouez-gagnant and fill out the on-line application form.