Canada determined to hear anthem in Vancouver

Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:14pm EST
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Twice, Canada has hosted an Olympic Games and failed to win a single gold medal on home territory.

Determined not to repeat the embarrassment at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the country is putting its money where its mouth is and backing up uncharacteristic bravado with millions of dollars in funding and incentives.

In 1976 Canada became the only country to stage a Summer Games and not celebrate a victory; 12 years later at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary there was again no gold for the home team.

While the Olympic spotlight is currently focused firmly on August's Beijing Summer Games, Tuesday marked the start of the two-year countdown to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and Canada is serving notice that it is not going to be such an obliging host this time.

"It's our objective that our anthem is played loudly and frequently," Chris Rudge, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) told Reuters.

"We established a unique new programme that we are never again going to repeat the ignominious record of hosting two Olympic Games and not winning a gold medal.

"The winter sports told us if we got them a certain level of commitment and resources they could be number one in the world.

"So that's the objective the sport community has set for 2010 and we think that within that mix of medals there will be a certain number of gold medals.   Continued...

<p>Jeremy Wotherspoon of Canada competes in the men's 500m event during the Speed Skating World Cup in Hamar, in this January 25, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Hakon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix/Files</p>