The encouragement Olympic athletes get from seeing the support coming from people in their hometowns and country can be the extra edge needed to land on the podium.
That is the reason the Royal Bank (RBC) is inviting Canadians to send a special message to the athletes competing at the 2012 London Olympics, which begin Friday and end Aug. 12. The RBC Hometown Champions Tour stopped at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to give people a chance to pass on their support Monday.
The tour features a London-style taxi cab equipped with a video camera allowing people the opportunity to record their own personal message for athletes. All the videos will then be posted to the Hometown Champions website that can be viewed by the public and athletes.
“It really touches our hearts and boosts our confidence to know the people in Canada are behind their athletes,” said Viviane Forest, winner of seven Paralympic medals and the first female athlete to win a gold medal at both the summer and winter Paralympic games.
“All the time we train, all the sacrifices we made, it sort of pays off. We feel the compassion and we are so happy to hear Canadians cheer for us.”
People of all ages were lined up at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame wanting to send their special message to athletes. Dance instructor with the Kinesiology program at Red Deer College, Jillian Kuzina said the Olympics is a huge event and she wanted to give athletes her support and wish them the best.
“I think this is a great idea as I am sure athletes are happy to hear the support,” she added.
Forest said of her experience at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver that she could feel the support of the nation behind the athletes. With the London games being far away it is important for athletes to know everybody back home is behind them and what the Hometown Champions Tour is doing will be a great booster to them.
“It is great to see how people are willing to join the motion and be part of the Olympic and Paralympic movement,” said Forest. “It is fun to see their enthusiasm and screaming their support for the athletes.”
The tour continues Thursday with stops at the Farmers Markets in Innisfail from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Olds from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. People can also upload their own videos from home, watch other peoples videos or see where the tour is heading to by going online to www.rbc.com/hometownchampion.