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Poll: Canada’s Olympic spirit high heading into Summer Games

Marcel Aubut, president of the Canadian Olympic committee, gestures as he speaks during a lunch organized by Fondation Nordiques in Quebec city Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

The Canadian Press

A new poll suggests Canada's Olympic spirit is high heading into the London Summer Games.

In a recent Canadian Press-Harris/Decima survey, two-thirds of respondents knew where the Olympics were being held this summer and planned to follow them closely.

The pollster chalks the enthusiasm up to a post-Olympic honeymoon from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

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"I think we definitely are in a 2010 honeymoon in terms of Canadians and their showing of Olympic spirit for sure," Harris/Decima vice-president Patricia Thacker said in an interview. "The Olympics aren't being held here, but there definitely does still seem to be some interest in them."

The telephone survey of just over 1,000 people was conducted between May 24 and 27 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The London Olympics are exactly 50 days away, with the opening ceremony slated for July 27.

The survey indicated the intensity of Canadians' interest is not as strong as it was prior to 2010. Two in 10 planned to watch the Summer Games "very closely" compared to three in 10 prior to 2010.

Canada topped all countries in gold medals won at the 2010 Winter Games with 14 and finished third in the overall medal count. The country's goal for London is a more modest top-12 finish among more than 200 nations.

Seven out of 10 people surveyed felt it's important the Canadian team hit that target. Regionally, support for that objective was highest in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Seven in 10 of people polled agreed with using tax dollars to fund Own The Podium, which oversees the competitive aspects of athletes' lives between Games and doles out funding based on their medal potential. That support was highest in people aged 18 to 54 and somewhat less among those over 55.

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Awareness of Own The Podium is higher now and almost double that of 2009 when less than a quarter surveyed had heard of it. Just 23 per cent of Canadians surveyed then knew the brand OTP and 44 per cent recognized the name this time.

"Definitely awareness of Own The Podium has grown since Vancouver," Thacker said. "The level of support in terms of tax dollars is about the same though."

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