Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 17:34 EDT

Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees celebrate International Olympic Day at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall

June 22, 2013

Canadian athletes join thousands of children, youth and parents in
celebrating ‘Olympism’ on the Grounds of Rideau Hall in Ottawa

OTTAWA, June 22, 2013 /CNW/ – Today, the fields of Rideau Hall rang with
laughter and excitement as thousands of Ottawa-area children and youth
experienced the power of sport during the 2(nd) annual Olympic Day fair being held as part of Canada’s official week of
celebrations honouring International Olympic Day which occurs annually
on June 23(rd).

The Canadian Olympic Committee led-initiative was held in partnership
with the 30(th) annual Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)’s Teddy Bears’
Picnic, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Kidsport and the Sport
Information Resource Centre, and included 15 sport-specific stations in
which children and parents alike could participate and enjoy.

“Our incredible athletes live the Olympic values of Excellence,
Friendship and Respect every single day, making them the ideal role
models for Canada’s youth,” said Canadian Olympic Committee President
Marcel Aubut. “Olympic Day celebrations are the perfect opportunity to
share their example with Canadians. On behalf of the Canadian Olympic
family, congratulations to organizers, volunteers and all the energetic
participants of the Olympic Day festivities around the country, and
here in our nation’s capital.”

“As many Paralympic athletes have journeyed through the health care
system, it was fitting to have Paralympic athletes and sports featured
at the CHEO Teddy Bears’ Picnic today and I’d like to thank the COC,
CHEO and the Governor General for including us in this amazing event,”
said Gaétan Tardif, President, Canadian Paralympic Committee. “Our wish
is that children of all abilities have the opportunity to experience
the many benefits of sport and perhaps one day, to dream of
representing our country and winning medals just like the Team Canada
athletes they met today.”

“My life is richer and more fulfilled because I got involved in sport;
not just because of the health and fitness aspects, but because of the
friends I made, the skills I gained and the challenges I overcame,”
said Steve Podborski, two-time Olympian, Lake Placid 1980 Bronze medallist and Canadian
Olympic Team Chef de Mission for Sochi 2014. “At today’s event in
Ottawa, I hope that children and parents alike absorbed, not only how
much potential, but how powerful sport is for the good of the world.”

“Today, I met kids in whom sports values seem to resonate, and it’s
truly awesome,” added Alexandre Bilodeau, Vancouver 2010 Gold medallist and the first Canadian to win a Gold
medal on home soil. “Days like this one are very inspiring for me -
spending time and chatting with the kids, learning about what turns
their crank about the Olympics. I always leave these events with an
extra dose of motivation and their energy is contagious. I’ve learned a
tremendous amount through sport, and I hope to continue to have
opportunities like this one to share the values and life-lessons that I
have drawn from sport.”

“It is always so wonderful to be surrounded by so many excited children
and promising young athletes,” said two-time Olympian, Anabelle Langlois. “My hope is that we were able to kindle some curiosity and passion in
the minds of the countless young boys and girls that we met today.”

“It was a great honour to participate in Olympic Day today and to share
with so many people my experiences of racing with guide runner Josh
Karanja at the Paralympic Games as a blind athlete,” said Jason Dunkerley, London 2012 Silver medallist in the 5000 metres and Bronze medallist
in the 1500 metres in para-athletics. “As I prepare for the Boiling
Point Track Classic here in Ottawa next month, I will carry with me the
motivation and energy from the huge crowd gathered here today. I’m
inspired to do all I can to motivate more Canadians to be active in

The following organizations helped make the International Olympic Day
fair a success: the Canadian Paralympic Committee; Ottawa Lions Track
and Field Club; Ottawa City Wide Sports; KidSport; Biathlon Canada;
Chelsea Nordique; Rock Solid Production; Cycling Canada; Ottawa
Fencing; University of Ottawa Fencing Club; Nepean Night Hawks; Rugby
Canada; Triathlon Canada, West Ottawa Soccer; Phoenix Taekwondo Martial
Arts Academy and Bytown Storm.

International Olympic Day is celebrated annually and world-wide on or
around June 23(rd) in commemoration and celebration of the founding of the modern Olympic
Games and as a way to create awareness of the Olympic Movement and the
Olympic values. Today’s event in Ottawa is the second of three official
celebrations marking 2013 International Olympic Day in Canada. The
first celebration occurred at the Richmond Olympic Oval in BC on June
17(th); the third will occur in Toronto, ON when Beijing 2008 Silver
medallist, Jason Burnett will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays’ home

SOURCE Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)

Image with caption: “Five-time Paralympic medallist in athletics Jason Dunkerley and his guide Josh Karanja (left) celebrate International Olympic Day at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall. (CNW Group/Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC))”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130622_C2692_PHOTO_EN_28385.jpg

Source: PR Newswire