I want to thank you also for hosting us here today at Canada House as High Commissioner.
Many of you don’t know that this is a full circle for you as it was your great-grandfather who actually led the RCMP delegation here to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee 115 years ago, so I know it is a very special moment for you.
I would also like to extend my greetings to the President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Marcel Aubut.
Having these two great boosters of Canada’s Games in Vancouver and Whistler makes this feel a bit like a reunion of 2010.
And we’re all really looking forward to it, Gordon and Marcel.
Gentlemen, we owe you, you talked about those games in 2010, we need to take this occasion to say once again, to you, to all the organizers, to all of the athletes of course, thanks for making those games such a spectacular success for our country, they really were.
Today, I had the pleasure of meeting some of our athletes.
Our table tennis team you met earlier, Mo Zhang, Pierre-Luc Hinse, Andre Ho and Eugene Wang, they’re here with us today and for what it was worth, they could have won every point off me with their hands tied behind their back I think.
These young athletes are the most recent nominees to the Canadian Olympic Team, which we will hear about later on.
I just want to add in particular for Mr. Wang, he is to be doubly congratulated because he just became a Canadian citizen.
I’m going to talk about all our athletes, I also do want to welcome as well my colleagues James, Ryan, Linda and also Irving, all of you who have come here today from Canada.
The Olympic Games are a constant source of new heroes for Canadians.
From Marnie McBean’s determination to Sylvie Fréchette’s enthusiasm to Mark Tewksbury’s leadership, our Olympians have not only represented Canada, they have also represented the best of Canadian values.
The Government of Canada is the country’s number-one sponsor of Canadian athletes because we are all fans.
And I’m here today to share some good news about how we are going to use this historic building to support our Canadian Olympic Team.
Since 1925, Canada House has been a home away from home for Canadians abroad.
During the Second World War, it was a popular spot for Canadian soldiers moving through London.
And it is a natural place to welcome Canadians who are leaving their mark not just on London but on the world.
So today, I am pleased to announce that during the Games of 2012, Canada House right here on Trafalgar Square will officially become Canada Olympic House.
Now unlike in 2010, this time Canada won’t be the home team.
But our athletes can come here, to Canada Olympic House, and enjoy a little bit of home field advantage.
Canada Olympic House will also be the base for the families of our athletes.
Now you know, sometimes, Laureen and I say, when our son Ben has a big volleyball tournament as he did just a couple of weeks ago, sometimes Laureen and I are more nervous than he is.
So I can just imagine how anxious the parents of our Olympic athletes are going to be.
But the families can also come to Canada Olympic House and find support, moral support, and also help in all the little details of the visit including how to get around London during what will be a hectic time for everyone.
It’s a hectic city at the best times and it’s going to be more hectic then.
As I said, our Government is behind our team and we‘re behind the team from the training ground all the way to the podium.
And knowing their loved ones are in good hands will be one less thing for our Olympic athletes to worry about so that they can focus on their performance.
The reason we are behind the “Own the Podium” program so strongly is that is what Canadians want us to do.
They want us to help our athletes “give everything” and get the best results they can get.
And we are getting spectacular results as we all remember from 2010.
Truly, this an exciting time for sport in Canada.
There is a wave of enthusiasm for our athletes and it is growing as we get closer to the starting line.
Just 50 days from now, 5-0, 50 days from now, our national women’s soccer team will kick off the Olympics for Canada.
From the first whistle on July 25th, to the applause at the end of the marathon on August 12th, the passion of our athletes will be shared with fans in Canada from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
We are all going to be cheering.
At home or in the stands, Canadians will be united behind our athletes just like we were in Vancouver.
And in turn, I know that our Olympic Team will make us proud just like they did in 2010.
So we’re all looking forward to this, make it a big success Marcel.