COC aims high at 2010 Vancouver Games

COC calls for $110 million in funding, sets target of 35 medals at Vancouver.

The Canadian Olympic Committee has set some lofty goals for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

On Friday, the COC presented its "Own the Podium" program at news conferences in Toronto, Montreal and Whistler, B.C. The $110-million plan sets a target of 35 medals – twice the amount Canada won at the 2002 Winter Olympics – and for Canada to finish atop the medal standings at the 2010 Games.

"When we won the bid to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, it was a win for all of Canada on the promise of great success," said John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC). "But for Canadians real success in 2010 means equal part perfect organization and execution and golden athletic performance by our athletes."

The COC's blueprint is based on smarter user of money and resources, with Canada's best athletes being supplied the best equipment and best training available.

To ensure that happens, the COC is calling for $110 million to be spent over the next five years and for the focus to be shifted on sports and athletes that have the best chance of winning a medal.

The COC's plan will provide increased funding and attention on travel to international camps and competitions, equipment, and sport science.

The COC intends to lobby the federal government to contribute half the $110 million, while VANOC will try to secure the other half through corporate sponsorship.

The "Own the Podium" plan was co-authored by Cathy Priestner-Allinger, a former Canadian Olympian and a member of VANOC. Priestner-Allinger, who won a silver medal in the 500-metre event at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympic Games, said she is very confident the government and corporate Canada will provide the necessary funding.

"Our first major sponsor has stepped up already and have indicated that they want to be involved. So [VANOIC is] committed to raising half and we're hoping the government of Canada will step up with the other half," Priestner-Allinger told CBC News.

The COC's plan is modeled on plans adopted by host cities in the past, namely the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The U.S. won 34 medals in Salt Lake in 2002, beating its previous record of 13 and finished second in the medal standings, just one shy of Germany. Australia earned 58 medals in Sydney in 2000, improving on their 41 medals four years earlier in Atlanta, and 27 in 1992 in Barcelona.

Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes, who won two bronze medals in cycling at the 1996 Olympics and won a bronze in speed skating at the 2002 Games, applauds the COC's plan.

"This is probably the most positive step I've seen the COC make by starting this incentive and trying to find out what we need to do to get more medals and try do better at the Winter Olympics," Hughes told CBC News.

As part of reaching its medal objectives for Vancouver, the COC also released its Fast Track to Turin plan – a target of 25 medals and a top-three finish at the 2006 Turin Winter Games.

The COC has set a target for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing of 18 medals, up from the 12 that Canada earned last summer in Athens Olympics. Canada's 12 medals was the country's worst Olympic performance since winning 10 medals at the 1988 Seoul Games.