The people of Christchurch were given a major boost today with the news that the garden city will host the official Welcome Home Event of the New Zealand Olympic Team after the London Olympic Games next year.
Olympic athletes Alison Shanks (cycling), Valerie Adams (athletics) and Mahe Drysdale (rowing) have already pledged their support.
Christchurch athletes are also right behind the initiative. Olympic heptathlete Rebecca Wardell says her city will make the nation, and our athletes, proud. She highlighted the pressure that the people of Christchurch had been under.
“This is a real boost for us all,” she said. “I can’t wait.”
Olympic silver and bronze medal winning cyclist Hayden Roulston agreed. “I'm excited that my hometown will be welcoming the team home after the Olympics. They'll really make us proud."
Christchurch was chosen for the honour as they, above all New Zealand towns and cities, symbolize national pride and character.
Christchurch has also had events, like the Rugby World Cup, taken away from them.
Kereyn Smith, New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary General said she hoped the Olympic Welcome Home would provide Christchurch with a real focus. She said it was up to the town to decide how they wanted to celebrate our Olympic success.
“It’s up to the people of Christchurch to decide just how to celebrate New Zealand’s Olympic team’s success. It could be a ticker-tape parade, a festival in Hagley Park, a concert or even a sports day,” she said.
The management and staff of Christchurch-based Olympic partners ASB and Fairfax Media together with the Christchurch City Council will manage and coordinate this exciting event.
DONATION OF $200,000 TO CHRISTCHURCH ATHLETES
The New Zealand Olympic Committee also announced today that Christchurch athletes would receive $200,000 in financial support following the earthquake.
Christchurch athletes, including Rebecca Wardell, have been disrupted by the Christchurch earthquake. Training facilities have been damaged and become unusable.
Many athletes have had to incur significant extra expense and hardship to accommodate the disruption. Rebecca Wardell has moved to Dunedin where she lives and works at a girls’ school that enables her to continue her Olympic training programme.
The money comes from a donation of USD150,000 from the IOC and NZD22,000 from the auctioning of a trip for two to the London Olympic Games at a recent Olympic fundraising dinner.
Seed funding of $150,000 would enable the outfitting of a temporary high performance training facility in Christchurch and $50,000 will be allocated to Olympic athletes as a hardship grant on application.
INAUGURAL MINI OLYMPIC GAMES
Christchurch will also host the inaugural mini-Olympic Games in 2012. The mini-Olympic Games will form part of the ASB Olympic Schools programme that will be rolled out in Christchurch from today.
ASB Schools is currently operating in both Auckland and Wellington and the Christchurch roll out, together with the initiation of the mini- Olympic Games will enable young Christchurch primary and intermediate students to participate in sport, learn about the Olympic Games and experience the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.
The staff of Olympic partners ASB and Fairfax Media will help roll-out this exciting initiative from today.