RONA - Growing with our Athletes Program

RONA - Growing with our Athletes Program

October 17, 2006 10:15 ET

RONA Names Seventeen Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Athletes from Ontario for its Growing with Our Athletes Program

Seventeen Ontario athletes will each receive a minimum of $40,000 over five-years to support their training for the Canadian Olympic Team

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 17, 2006) - Seventeen high performance level Canadian athletes from Ontario have been named as members of RONA's Growing with Our Athletes Program, a five-year funding program worth a minimum of $4 million to help 100 prospective Olympians and Paralympians achieve their dream. The athletes named today include:

Athlete Sport
Chantal Benoit Paralympic-Basketball
Jeff Buttle Figure Skating
Nicole Cargill Synchronized Swimming
Karen Cockburn Gymnastics (trampoline)
Shannon Condie Taekwondo
Christopher Cook Sailing
Gillian Ferrari Ice Hockey
Charmaine Hooper Soccer
Andrew Hurd Swimming
Andrew Ireland Rowing
Christopher Jarvis Rowing
Steve Omischi Freestyle Skiing
Kelly Vanderbeek Alpine Skiing
Adam Van Koeverden Kayak
Tonya Verbeek Wrestling
Christopher Williamson Paralympic-Alpine
Andrew Willows Kayak

An additional in-store fund-raising component of RONA's program could provide up to $2 million more in incremental funds for the athletes over the five-year span.

The Growing with Our Athletes Program is one of the most ambitious corporate support initiatives to be undertaken in conjunction with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic movements. The athletes were chosen by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) in consultation with its member National Sport Federations, as strong prospects for the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games or the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

This new $4 million pledge by RONA is above and beyond its previous commitment of $1 million to the Canadian Paralympic Committee and its other commitment of $2 million to the Own the Podium 2010 initiative. RONA is very proud of its now total financial support of over $7 million to our Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes. RONA is extremely pleased to be able to play its part in making sure that more Canadian athletes than ever before could stand on the podium.

These Ontario athletes will each receive, throughout the next five years, a minimum of $40 000 in financial support from RONA to help them offset living, training and competition expenses.

As Canada's leading distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products, RONA has implemented a format in which each of its stores in a geographical area will be matched with one of the 100 Olympic and Paralympic aspirants. For example, RONA stores in Gloucester and Hammond will support Chantal Benoit, stores in Barrie, Midland and Owen Sound will support Jeff Buttle, RONA stores in Little Current, North Bay, Sault Ste Marie and Val Caron will support Steve Omischi and Scarborough RONA stores will support Chris Williamson.

Through a series of announcements this week in St. John's, Newfoundland, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Ontario, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Calgary Alberta and Vancouver, British Columbia, RONA will name all of the 100 young Canadian athletes it will be financially supporting across Canada.

"We are thrilled to support Canada's most promising athletes through our Growing with Our Athletes Program," said RONA president and CEO Robert Dutton. RONA shares the "Winning Values", team spirit and commitment to excellence of Canada's young athletes, helping to bring them closer to their Olympic and Paralympic dreams. We are deeply committed to the Olympic and Paralympic movements and the advancement of our Canadian athletes on a world level. RONA vigorously applauds and respects our Canadian athletes' continuous pursuit of excellence which inspires those around them, and we also salute their commitment to represent their communities and country in their chosen sport. These core values - pursuit of excellence, teamwork, respect, sense of responsibility and searching for the common good are also what RONA is committed to in everything we do."

RONA's involvement in the Olympic and Paralympic movements includes its status as a National Partner of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, as well as National Partner of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Team through 2012 for the Torino 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games.

"We are very impressed with Canada's hard-working and gifted young athletes," said Canadian Olympic Committee President Michael Chambers. "Through the support of RONA's Growing Our Athletes Program, our ambitious goal to be in the top 16 in Beijing and first at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is even more attainable."

John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), praised the Growing with Our Athletes Program, noting that it will be a catalyst in producing an outstanding crop of future Canadian Olympians and Paralympians.

"VANOC's partnership with RONA is rooted in our shared commitment to ensure that all Canadians feel part of the 2010 Winter Games," said John Furlong, VANOC Chief Executive Officer. "As a growing Canadian company, RONA is helping us to share the spirit of the Games with communities across our country. Today's announcement brings us another step closer to ensuring that more Canadian athletes experience the greatness of standing on the podium while representing Canada in 2010."

"Growing Paralympic athletes compliments CPC's mission of growing the Paralympic Movement. RONA's support towards growing a strong Paralympic movement across Canada will help our Paralympic athletes reach the podium, making all Canadians proud" added Brian MacPherson, CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

All the information about the athletes and the Program is available at

About Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC)

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. VANOC's marketing program is focused on securing mutually rewarding partnerships with shared values to generate sufficient revenue to host successful Winter Games in 2010 and to leave a financial legacy for sport. In addition to Worldwide Partners: Coca-Cola, Atos Origin, GE, McDonald's, Omega and Visa, VANOC's National Partners are Bell Canada, RBC Financial Group, Hbc, RONA, Petro-Canada and GM Canada. VANOC's Official Supporters include the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and the Royal Canadian Mint and VANOC's Official Suppliers include Haworth Canada and Workopolis.

About the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC)

The Canadian Olympic Committee is a national, private, not-for-profit organization committed to sport excellence. It is responsible for all aspects of Canada's involvement in the Olympic movement, including Canada's participation in the Olympic and Pan American Games and a wide variety of programs that promote the Olympic Movement in Canada through cultural and educational means. For more information, see the COC website:

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)

The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, charitable, private corporation that is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). CPC delivers programs that strengthen the Paralympic Movement in Canada, including sending Canadian Teams to the Paralympic Games. The CPC empowers persons with physical disabilities, through sport. For more information, visit our website at:

About RONA

RONA (TSX: RON) is the Canadian leading distributor and retailer of hardware, home improvement and gardening products. RONA operates a network of more than 620 franchised, affiliated and corporate stores of various sizes and formats. Over 25,000 employees in all the regions of Canada work under its various banners. The RONA store network accounts for over 14 million square feet of space and annual retail sales of $5.6 billion.

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