TORONTO -- The Canadian Olympic Foundation launched a fundraising campaign Thursday that aims to raise $4 million over the next four years for high-performance sport programs to help young Canadian athletes.
Proceeds raised will be directed to high-performance sports centres around the country so athletes can get access to top coaches, proper training environments, nutrition counselling and other resources.
The goal is to identify and support emerging Canadian athletes in the early stages of development, particularly during periods where they're prone to drop out of competitive sport.
"We're starting to invest into the playground and we're investing in Own the Podium, but this is going to help kids really professionally bridge that gap," said three-time Olympic rowing champion Marnie McBean.
The Canadian Olympic Foundation and supporter Gold Medal Plates are offering donors packages for the 2016 Summer Olympics that include access to special events ahead of the Games and in Rio.
"We know that winning matters to Canadians," COF chairman Marcel Aubut said in a release. "Olympic medals increase national pride and solidarity. That is why we are working hard to invest in emerging athletes to create a sustainable podium pipeline.
"We want to remove the financial barriers that prevent athletes in the earlier stages of development from competing on the world stage and realizing their dreams of becoming Olympians."