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CCA announces Shannon England to participate in 2010 Olympic Torch Relay

OTTAWA, October 21, 2009…The Canadian Curling Association (CCA), in collaboration with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), is pleased to announce that Shannon England, husband of the late Sandra Schmirler, has been selected as a torchbearer in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.

Mr. England is scheduled to run in Regina, Saskatchewan on January 10th, 2010, day 73 of the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, which also happens to be his 45th birthday.  Sharing in the experience will be his two daughters, Sara (12) and Jenna (10), who will be cheering from the crowd as he carries the flame proudly.

“I was excited to learn of our opportunity to nominate someone to represent the association in the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay,” said Greg Stremlaw, CCA Chief Executive Officer.  “This is an opportunity that many Canadians would love to have, as it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“The CCA is thrilled to have Shannon England represent curling and the Canadian Curling Association.   He is a wonderful role model, who, like Sandra Schmirler, embodies the spirit of curling and everything that is good about the sport.

“We are so pleased to know that Shannon will have his two daughters, Jenna and Sara, there to cheer him on during this historic day. What better way to continue to demonstrate that Sandra’s passion for curling and enthusiasm for life are front and centre. We wish Shannon good luck and hope he enjoys this wonderful experience with his family.”

Schmirler, a three-time Canadian and world champion, won the first official Olympic gold medal in women’s curling when skipping her team to victory at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.  Two years later, in early March of 2000, Schmirler died of cancer at the age of 36.

“I felt very humbled and really wondered why Greg would ask me when there are so many other curlers that I would consider more worthy of this honour,” said England, Director, Customer Applications, Department of Information Services, University of Regina.

“The Olympic Winter Games is the pinnacle of athletic competition. Watching my wife Sandra and her teammates win gold at the 1998 Nagano Olympics will be something I will always fondly remember.  If a person is not able to compete as an athlete at the Games, being able to participate in the Torch Relay would be the next best thing.  It is with honour that I represent all curlers and the Canadian Curling Association in the Olympic Torch Relay.”

The Olympic Torch Relay will visit over 1,000 communities in Canada, beginning its journey in Victoria, British Columbia on October 30th, 2009.   Twelve thousand torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame as it travels more than 45,000 kilometres, by land, air and water, in what will be the longest relay (106 days) in history to be held within the borders of an Olympic host country.  The 2010 Olympic Torch Relay is presented by Coca-Cola and RBC, and supported by the Government of Canada.

For more information on the Olympic Torch Relay, visit www.vancouver2010.com <http://www.vancouver2010.com> .

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