By Nick Butler

Own the Podium funding will increase over the next cycle, the Canadian Olympic Committee announced ©Canadian Olympic CommitteeDecember 12 - A total of $37 million (£22.5 million/€28 million) will be invested into its the Own The Podium high-performance sport programme over the next four years, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced today. 

The announcement was made at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto by COC President Marcel Aubut, together with the country's Sports Minister Bal Gosal.

They hope that the rise, a 48 per cent increase on the $25 million (£15 million/€18 million) funding invested in between 2009 and 2012, will "empower athletes to challenge the world with more funding, resources and a renewed sense of national purpose."

Canadian Olympians and officials as the funding increase is announced ©Winston Chow/COCCanadian Olympians and officials as the funding increase is announced ©Winston Chow/COC

"Today is about excellence and partnership in high-performance sport," Aubut said at the unveiling. .

"We know it takes a village to raise a champion, and I would like to thank our partners for the outstanding support we receive from them every day."

These partners include Hudson's Bay Company, RBC, Bell, Canadian Tire, Adidas, BMW, and many more who have "put their faith in Canadian athletes to raise the country's profile and instill national pride," it was explained. 

It is hoped that the funding will also build on Canada's performances at London 2012 where Rosie MacLennan won her country's only gold medal in the women's trampolining event. 

MacLennan tucks and somersaults her way to Canada's only gold medal at London 2012 ©AFP/Getty ImagesMacLennan tucks and somersaults her way to Canada's only gold medal at London 2012 ©AFP/Getty Images

The Own The Podium programme aims for Canada to be a world leader in high-performance sport.

After failing to win a single gold medal in the first two Olympic Games hosted in Canada, Montreal 1976 and Calgary 1988, the programme aimed to change this ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Games. 

After winning three gold medals at four Summer Games in a row, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, they duly achieved this at Vancouver where their 14 gold medals put Canada top of the medals table.

Although MacLennan was Canada's only podium topper at London 2012, the 18 medals won in total remained an impressive return.

Tthe funding increases announced today will target greater fortunes at Rio 2016, as well as another first placed finish on the medals table, at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next February. 

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