Statement by the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), on the 25th Anniversary of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games

Feb 13, 2013, 13:30 ET from Canadian Heritage

OTTAWA, Feb. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - Today marks the 25th anniversary of the opening ceremony of the XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Alberta. These were the first Olympic Winter Games held on Canadian soil, and for 16 days, the world watched incredible performances from some amazing athletes. These Games also offered a number of "firsts"—the first Winter Olympic Games to expand to 16 days; the first smoke-free Olympic Games, and the first Olympic Games where speed skating was held indoors.

The Games produced countless memories for both athletes and spectators: Elizabeth Manley's silver medal winning skate in women's figure skating; Brian Orser and Brian Boitano fighting it out for the men's figure skating title in the "Battle of the Brians" the inspiring story of a bobsleigh team from Jamaica that captured hearts around the world; and "Eddie the Eagle," a plucky Englishman who soared to new heights.

Although 25 years have passed, the legacy of the Calgary 1988 Winter Games lives on, most notably through world-class winter sport facilities that are still being used today. WinSport Canada Olympic Park and the Olympic Oval are international training centres that have produced numerous world and Olympic champions in speed skating, bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton.

Canada has hosted the Olympic Games three times: the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montréal; the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary; and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

As the single largest contributor to sport in this country, our Government recognizes that hosting the Olympic Games provides Canada with the opportunity to promote Canadian culture and athleticism, while sharing our values of openness, equality, and respect for human rights. In 1988, the world witnessed the best Canada has to offer, and 25 years later, we are still reaping the rewards of these Games.

As Minister of State (Sport), and on behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to congratulate everyone who made the 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games a resounding success, including the Organizing Committee, volunteers, spectators, and athletes. I also want to wish our elite athletes the best of luck as they continue their pursuit of excellence in preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games next year in Sochi, Russia.

SOURCE Canadian Heritage