Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

May 18, 2010 12:45 ET

Government of Canada Announces Own the Podium Advisory Board

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 18, 2010) - On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport), today announced the appointment of John Furlong as the new Chair of the Own the Podium (OTP) Advisory Board.

"Our Government is pleased to announce John Furlong as the new Chair of the Own the Podium Advisory Board," said Minister of State Lunn. "John has a proven track record of success, most notably the outstanding 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games that were recently held in Vancouver and Whistler. I am confident that with John at the helm, Own the Podium will continue to help provide our athletes with the support they need to compete against the best in the world."

"The greatest honor is being asked to serve in the name of sport, and I thank Prime Minister Harper and Minister of State Lunn for their confidence in me as the volunteer Chair of the Own the Podium Board of Directors," said Mr. Furlong. "Sport is about teamwork, and the OTP Board of Directors team announced today is podium-worthy—all men and women with a deep commitment to Canada and to sport, and I relish the opportunity to work closely with them. Following the outstanding medal-winning performances at the 2010 Games and sports emerging with higher prominence in our country, Canadians are expecting our very best efforts to support our athletes as they prepare for the upcoming London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games and various international competitions. I want to ensure that Own the Podium stays fully focused on ensuring our athletes have everything they need and that we have maximized every available asset and avenue in the country to help them as they prepare to represent Canada as athletic ambassadors before the world."

"Canadians recognize that Own the Podium was an integral part of our team's success in Vancouver," said Jean R. Dupré, Canadian Olympic Committee CEO and Secretary General. "We now have a precious legacy to build upon in developing an even stronger high-performance sport system in Canada, and have great faith in the leadership of John Furlong."

"With the unprecedented interest and pride in Canada's athletes and the significant investment now being made in sport by the Government of Canada, our next steps are crucial," said Peter Judge, CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association. "The winter sport community was the first to benefit from the bold Own the Podium initiative and clearly understand how important Minister of State Lunn's announcement is today. John Furlong was pivotal in making the Games in Vancouver the overwhelming success they were, and he was instrumental in creating the necessary support that made the Own the Podium project a reality. As such, having his lead as the program shifts to the next phase is very exciting for all of us in high-performance sport."

Mr. Furlong has had a long and distinguished career in sport. He is completing his tenure as the CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, leading an effort that was universally recognized as an event of which all Canadians could be proud.

Other Advisory Board members announced today include 1976 Olympic speed skating medallist Cathy Priestner Allinger, veteran sports broadcaster Keith Pelley, sport medicine specialist Dr. Mike Wilkinson, Canadian Astronaut Julie Payette, National Research Council scientist Dr. Guy Larose, and Director of Sport Excellence at Sport Canada, Canadian Heritage, Lane MacAdam.

Three additional members—representatives of the winter sport caucus, the summer sport caucus, and a joint representative of the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee—will also be named to the Advisory Board at a later date.

The OTP Advisory Board will provide the necessary independent expertise to guide funding recommendations, while also ensuring that public funds are managed in a transparent and accountable fashion.

Own the Podium is a national sport technical initiative that was created in 2005 to help Canada become the number one nation (total medal count) at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and to place in the top three nations (gold medal count) at the 2010 Paralympic Games. The initiative also set a goal for Canadian athletes to have a top 12 placing at the London 2012 Olympic Games and to be in the top 8 nations at the 2012 Paralympic Games. Both of these initiatives reflect what Canadians want from Canada's high-performance athletes and help advance the "excellence" goal of the Canadian Sport Policy. Own the Podium's largest contributor of funding is the Government of Canada, with additional funding from the corporate community and the Canadian Olympic Committee through its Canadian Olympic Foundation.

The Government of Canada is proud to have supported the Own the Podium initiative, which helped Canadian Paralympic athletes win 19 medals—including 10 gold—and Canadian Olympic athletes win 26 medals, including 14 gold, at the Vancouver Winter Games. In doing so, they established a record of most gold medals won by a single nation during a winter edition of the Olympic Games.

In Budget 2010, the Government announced that it will increase its annual contribution in support of the Own the Podium initiative from $11 million to $22 million annually for winter sport excellence and from $36 million to $42 million annually for summer sport excellence.

Funding from the Government of Canada is distributed directly to national sport organizations and Canadian sport centres. Funding is based on the recommendations of Own the Podium to support training and competition opportunities, coaches' salaries, equipment, and sport science and medicine services for athletes with podium potential.

The Government of Canada is the single largest contributor to sport in this country and supports participation and excellence from the playground to the podium. For more information on Own the Podium, visit

(This news release is available on the Internet at under Media Room.)


John Furlong

John Furlong has had a long and distinguished career in sport. In 2001, he became President and Chief Operating Officer of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bid Corporation. As CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, John Furlong was the leader behind the team that organized and delivered the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to positive reviews. He also served for four years as President of the Northern BC Winter Games Society, three years on the BC Games Society Board, and ten years as a member of the Canadian Olympic Association Board. He was also a past chair of Sport BC, chair of the BC Summer and Winter Games, and was a BC Mission Staff member for seven Canada Games.

Mr. Furlong has been involved with athletics all his life, having competed at the international level in basketball, European handball, and squash. He became Canadian squash champion in 1986. Mr. Furlong has been a long time member of the Canadian Olympic Committee and has led many high-profile sport organizations in Canada.

In 2009, Mr. Furlong was named Canada's Most Influential Sport Figure by both The Globe and Mail and CBC, and came in at number one on Vancouver Magazine's Vancouver Power 50 2009 list.

Mr. Furlong is continuing in his role as the Chief Executive Officer at the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games (VANOC) until the organization is dissolved later this year. 

Cathy Priestner Allinger

Olympic silver medallist in speed skating at the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, Cathy Priestner Allinger is also a former coach, administrator, volunteer, and television broadcaster who has been involved in every aspect of sport and sport management. Ms. Priestner Allinger is the lead author of the "Own the Podium 2010" report and is integrally involved in the initiative.

Keith Pelley

One of the country's most respected broadcast veterans, Keith Pelley is President of Canada's Olympic Broadcast Consortium. He was in charge of the strategic planning for the coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games and currently leads the Consortium as they plan the coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games.

Mr. Pelley has excelled in the sport and sport broadcasting industries for 22 years and has worked extensively with amateur sports, including involvement in three Olympic Games: 1996 in Atlanta, 2000 in Sydney, and 2002 in Salt Lake City. He was the President of TSN and President and CEO of the Toronto Argonauts Football Club. 

Dr. Mike Wilkinson

Dr. Mike Wilkinson practises sport and rehabilitation medicine in Vancouver. He was the Director of Medical Services at VANOC. He is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and team physician for the Canadian rowing team, and team physician for the Vancouver Canucks and the Canadian rugby team. He was selected as a core physician for the Canadian Olympic teams in 2004 and 2008, and as CMO for the Canadian Olympic Committee at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2007. Dr. Wilkinson has acted as Medical Director and consulting physician to Back in Motion Rehabilitation, as well as a consulting physician to WorksafeBC since 1999.

Julie Payette

Canadian astronaut Julie Payette was selected by the Canadian Space Agency in June 1992. Reporting to NASA since 1996, she began astronaut training in 1998. She was a crew member on Space Shuttle Discovery from May 27 to June 6, 1999, and also served as the flight engineer on the crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour from July 15 to 31, 2009.

Julie Payette obtained an International Baccalaureate (1982) from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, United Kingdom; a Bachelor of Engineering (1986) from McGill University; and a Master of Applied Science – Computer Engineering (1990) from the University of Toronto.

Ms. Payette is a member of l'Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec; a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering; a member of the Queen's University Board of Directors; and former Governor-in-Council for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Dr. Guy Larose

National Research Council Institute for Aerospace Research scientist, Dr. Guy Larose is an aerodynamics specialist. He has worked with Canada's Olympic athletes since the Turin Games in 2006. A winter sport enthusiast, he enjoys skiing and playing hockey.

Dr. Larose's main field of research concerns how wind patterns and the flow of air affect the stability of bridges. Other aerodynamics research conducted by his research team includes how the design of cars used in motor sports, like NASCAR and Indy races, affects their performances on the track; the aerodynamics of production vehicles, trucks and wind turbines; how the suits worn by speed skaters influence their competitiveness in races; and how wind and ice affect the stability of transmission lines during storms.

Lane MacAdam

Director of Sport Excellence at Sport Canada, Lane MacAdam has spent over 25 years serving at the highest levels of Canadian amateur sport. From 1991 until 2002, he was President and Chief Executive Office of the Canada Games Council. He has served on numerous sport councils and committees, and was Vice-President of the Canadian Sport and Fitness Administration Centre and a Board Member of the Canada Games Council. He is currently a member of the Own the Podium Steering Committee and Co-Chair of the Canadian Sport Centres Coordinating Committee.

Mr. MacAdam graduated from Laurentian University in 1983 with an Honours B. Comm in Sport Administration. He played varsity soccer while attending Laurentian and was captain of the soccer team when it captured the national title in 1983. He received the Laurentian's Voyageur Award for Athletic Excellence and is a Member of the University's Hall of Fame.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Gary Lunn, P.C., M
    Minister of State (Sport)
    Vanessa Schneider
    Director of Communications
    Canadian Heritage
    Media Relations