/C O R R E C T I O N from source -- Canadian Heritage/

Jan 24, 2013, 13:04 ET from Canadian Heritage

In c8266 transmitted at 12:00e today, an error occurred in the last paragraph. ''The Government of Canada is providing $32 million...'' should have read "The Government of Canada is providing $31 million...''. Corrected copy follows:

Harper Government Announces Funding to Help Canadian Athletes Strive for Gold in Sochi

CALGARY, Jan. 24, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), today announced the Harper Government's funding for winter sport organizations in preparation for the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

"Our Government is proud to support our high-performance athletes as they prepare for Sochi," said Minister of State Gosal. "Along with all Canadians, I look forward to cheering on our athletes next winter at the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The Harper Government is providing support to 11 winter national sport organizations through Sport Canada's Sport Support Program. The sports receiving funding are alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh/skeleton/luge, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, hockey, ski jumping, snowboarding, and speed skating.

"Canadians love hearing our national anthem and seeing the Canadian flag raised above the podium," said Anne Merklinger, CEO, Own the Podium. "Thanks to the leadership of the Government of Canada, this is the largest investment ever for Canada's winter-sport athletes heading into the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Our primary goal over the next year is to ensure all medal-targeted national sport organizations and athletes have complete access to the resources they require to be fully prepared to achieve Canada's performance goals, and in turn, give the country more opportunities to see its flag raised above the podiums in Sochi."

"Today's announcement is not only important but motivating for our athletes, and we extremely appreciate the Harper Government's efforts to boost our athletes' focus and determination for gold in Russia next year," said Marcel Aubut, President, Canadian Olympic Committee. "The Canadian Olympic Committee is investing unprecedented support directly for athletes because they are at the core of what our country stands for: pride, determination, and excellence."

"We are extremely proud of our winter athletes' achievements thus far as the winter international season gets underway. We are seeing very competitive results from several of our Sochi hopefuls, and this sets us quite well leading into the Paralympic Games year," said Ozzie Sawicki, Chef de Mission for the 2014 Canadian Winter Paralympic Team. "Our objective is to finish top 3 in gold medal count for Sochi, continuing the tradition from Vancouver 2010. Our athletes and coaches have embraced the challenge, and we will work with our sport partners at ensuring optimal training environment for our athletes to compete at their best in 2014."

Canada currently ranks third in overall Olympic winter sport World Cup medal totals as athletes enter the world championship and Sochi test event sections of their schedules. These two final measuring tools will help identify the work that remains to be done over the next 13 months. Canada's Paralympic athletes are also on track to reach their 2014 goals; they currently sit third overall in the World Cup standings.

The Government of Canada is the single largest contributor to sport in Canada and supports participation and excellence from playground to podium. The Government of Canada is providing $31 million to 11 winter national sport organizations and the Canadian Sport Centres through Sport Canada's Sport Support Program. In addition to the funding announced today, more than $6.9 million was provided through the Athlete Assistance Program in 2012-2013 to assist our winter sport athletes with training and living expenses.

SOURCE Canadian Heritage