(NC)—Canadian athletes work incredibly hard to achieve their goals on the field or rink, but sometimes the biggest challenges happen after training is over for the day. Securing funding for equipment, competitions or training space can be huge obstacles for athletes who are just starting out.
“As a developing athlete, it can be hard to get recognition and funding,” says Courtney Condie, a Taekwondo athlete from Ontario. “I have pre-carded status, so companies are less likely to invest in me – even though I need the money to enter international competitions to become carded and compete in the Olympic Games. It’s kind of a catch-22.”
That’s where long time Olympic sponsor Petro-Canada comes in. They have a 20 year legacy of supporting developing athletes and their coaches, dating back to their support of the Calgary Olympic Winter Games in 1988. To celebrate the Olympic Games, Petro-Canada created commemorative glasses which were sold at their retail service stations. These glasses became wildly popular, ultimately resulting in over 50 million glasses sold.
The money from the glassware sales was used to create the Petro-Canada Olympic Torch Scholarship Fund (OTSF), and was earmarked for developing, pre-carded athletes. Since 1988, over $6 million in scholarships has been given to over 2,000 athletes and coaches. The OTSF, now renamed the Fueling Athlete and Coaching Excellence (FACE) program, is one of the largest sources of private sport-related funding in Canada.
“For 20 years, we’ve been helping developing Canadian athletes achieve their Olympic dreams,” says Steven Keith, director of Olympic and Community Partnerships at Petro-Canada. “We’re incredibly proud of our legacy of helping young Canadians.”
With the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Canada’s own backyard, Petro-Canada is marking the occasion with a new set of commemorative glassware. The set includes the 16 oz. general purpose glass, a 14 oz. tumbler, a 13 oz. mug and a 20 oz. pilsner style glass. Reminiscent of an ice carving, each glass is clear with the Olympic Games logo embossed on one side, and an etching of an individual and a tree on the other. With a portion of the proceeds going towards supporting the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, this is one holiday gift that truly gives back.