COC Distributes $515,000 to Canadian Olympic Medallists Through Athlete Excellence Fund

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) will reward Canada’s 2008 Olympic medal winners today in its first distribution of the Athlete Excellence Fund, a financial incentive program for Olympic medallists. The ceremony celebrates a successful Beijing Games, where Team Canada’s 18 medals tied it for 14th overall – surpassing its goal of placing in the top 16 countries.

Under the Athlete Excellence Fund, unveiled last November, Canadian Olympians receive $20,000 for each gold medal won, $15,000 for each silver medal and $10,000 for each bronze medal. From the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, 34 Canadian athletes will be rewarded for the three gold, nine silver and six bronze medals won in August. The total amount awarded to Canadian Olympians following Beijing 2008 is $515,000.

“The COC is proud to be honouring our Beijing Games Olympians, who achieved great success and provided so many inspiring moments for Canadians this past August,” said COC chief operating officer Lou Ragagnin. “These awards are a first for Canada but certainly not the last. They are a testament to thousands of hours of training and dedication our athletes invest in representing our nation. We look forward to continued podium success and recognition for our great athletes in 2010, 2012 and beyond.”

“The Beijing Games were an amazing experience and this fund is recognition for our athletes’ commitment to excellence,” said Iain Brambell, 2008 bronze medallist in lightweight four rowing and a member of the COC Athletes’ Council. “There’s no amount of money that can replace an Olympic medal but this shows Canada is seriously aiming for the podium at each Games.”

Equestrian show jumper Eric Lamaze, who won an individual gold medal and a team silver medal, is Canada’s sole double-medallist from the 2008 Olympic Games. He becomes the first multiple award winner under the Athlete Excellence Fund.

The Athlete Excellence Fund follows a four-year cycle in rewarding athletic performance. In the three non-Olympic years between Games (for both summer and winter sport athletes), this fund also helps support athletes. Athletes who place in the top five in years one or two, or top four in year three, each receive a $5,000 grant. This is determined by their best performance at that year’s highest level competition (typically a World Championship).

This fund evolved from the COC’s former Performance Recognition Support Program, launched in 2003. That program awarded $5,000 to any athlete who finished in the top five at a World Championship or Olympic Games. In 2006, the COC’s Athletes’ Council developed new criteria that represented the most effective way to reward athlete performance. That set the stage for the Athlete Excellence Fund – whose budget from 2009 through 2012 is $5.2 million.

The performance awards apply to all Olympic sports, and remain the same whether the athlete is from a team sport or an individual sport. For a medal-winning team sport, each member of the team will receive the performance award.

Twenty medallists from Beijing will partake in the celebration today, flown to Toronto by Air Canada.

Complete List of Award Winners


Carol Huynh / Wrestling 48kg / Gold

Eric Lamaze / Equestrian Show Jumping / Gold

Andrew Byrnes / Rowing Men’s Eight / Gold

Kyle Hamilton / Rowing Men’s Eight / Gold

Malcolm Howard / Rowing Men’s Eight / Gold

Adam Kreek / Rowing / Men’s Eight / Gold

Kevin Light / Rowing Men’s Eight / Gold

Brian Price / Rowing Men’s Eight / Gold

Ben Rutledge / Rowing Men’s Eight / Gold

Dominic Seiterle / Rowing Men’s Eight / Gold

Jake Wetzel / Rowing Men’s Eight / Gold


Jason Burnett / Trampoline / Silver

Karen Cockburn / Trampoline / Silver

Alexandre Despatie / Diving 3m / Silver

Emilie Heymans / Diving 10m / Silver

Karine Sergerie / Taekwondo -67kg / Silver

Adam van Koeverden / Kayak K-1 500m / Silver

Simon Whitfield / Triathlon / Silver

David Calder / Rowing Men’s Pair / Silver

Scott Frandsen / Rowing Men’s Pair / Silver

Mac Cone / Equestrian Team Jumping / Silver

Jill Henselwood / Equestrian Team Jumping / Silver

Eric Lamaze / Equestrian Team Jumping / Silver

Ian Millar / Equestrian Team Jumping / Silver


Ryan Cochrane / Swimming 1,500m / Bronze

Thomas Hall / Canoe C-1 1,000m / Bronze

Priscilla Lopes-Schliep / 100m Hurdles / Bronze

Tonya Verbeek / Wrestling 55kg / Bronze

Tracy Cameron / Rowing LW Women’s Double Sculls / Bronze

Melanie Kok / Rowing LW Women’s Double Sculls / Bronze

Jon Beare / Rowing LW Men’s Four / Bronze

Iain Brambell / Rowing LW Men’s Four / Bronze

Mike Lewis / Rowing LW Men’s Four / Bronze

Liam Parsons / Rowing LW Men’s Four / Bronze