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46th Canadian Sport Awards: Women’s Goalball Parapan American Games triumph named 2023 Most Trending Moment of the Year Presented by Respect Group

Women's Goalball team photo

TORONTO – AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is proud to announce the Canadian women’s goalball team’s golden victory at the 2023 Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile has been named the 2023 People’s Choice Award for Most Trending Moment of the Year Presented by Respect Group.

The team’s triumph in Santiago emerged as the winners, following a two-week national online campaign, featuring 10 unforgettable Team Canada moments from the past year, capturing over 1,700 votes from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

In their last chance to qualify for the Paris 2024 Paralympics, the same group of six players who finished a disappointing ninth at the Tokyo Paralympics completed their comeback journey, defeating their rivals Team USA 4-3 in a tense gold medal match. The win earned Team Canada their first-ever gold in goalball at the Parapan Am Games, after three consecutive bronze medals.

“I would like to thank each and every person who took the time to vote and to share our accomplishment. We felt the entire country behind us the whole tournament and we appreciate everyone for the love and support that you continue to share.”

Amy Burke - Team Captain

The People’s Choice Award for Most Trending Moment of the Year Presented by Respect Group, a headversity company, honours a current or retired national team athlete who has captured the virtual world by storm. The award highlights the magic that lives within sport to inspire and motivate all Canadians through innovative use of a digital platform, captivating athletic performance, or whose digital actions have been a force for good. 

Rounding out the podium were Olympian ice dance figure skaters Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier and their perseverance through a successful 2022-23 season following Gilles’ ovarian cancer diagnosis, along with wheelchair rugby Paralympian Zak Madell’s entertaining Instagram series, highlighting both his own strength and that of his equipment in running over everyday items.

Other athletes in contention included skateboarder Fay de Fazio Ebert, alpine skier Laurence St-Germain, athletics hammer throwers Ethan Kaztberg and Camryn Rogers, para cyclist Nathan Clement, breaker Philip Kim, boccia athlete Alison Levine and athletics 1500m runner Charles Philibert-Thiboutot. The 10 finalists were selected in consultation with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees, as well as CBC Sports.

Canadian Sport Awards: Most Trending Moment of the Year Presented by Respect Group

A dedicated AthletesCAN partner since 2019, Respect Group, helped celebrate these 10 moments, by serving as the Presenting Sponsor of the campaign. Respect Group has been working for nearly 20 years to eliminate bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination by inspiring a global culture of respect. Respect Group will also continue to offer all AthletesCAN members complimentary access to its Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders training course.

“Respect Group has been thrilled to work with AthletesCAN to deliver this award, it is truly about how sport brings people together and can bring out the best in all of us. We congratulate the Canadian women’s goalball team on their victory, and all of the moments nominated, who helped inspire Canadians to be better.”

Sheldon Kennedy - Respect Group co-founder and former professional hockey player

This marks the third straight year a team sport has taken home the Most Trend Moment, following last year’s win by the 3×3 men’s and women’s basketball and wheelchair basketball basketball teams and their medal performances at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and the Canadian women’s soccer team’s Olympic gold medal earning the honour the year before. Paralympian swimmer Danielle Kisser, with the creation of her do-it-yourself swimming pool that she used to train for the Tokyo Games, was named the inaugural winner in 2020. 

The celebration of the Canadian women’s goalball team this year marks the conclusion of the 46th Canadian Sport Awards (CSAs) , with all winners receiving a blown glass sculpture in the shape of the triumphant athlete depicted in the AthletesCAN logo, carefully crafted by Fireweed Glass Studio Ltd.

"We appreciate the support of Respect Group and all of our partners for helping us elevate and amplify the amazing achievements of our national team athletes. These moments exemplify the best of what AthletesCAN, Respect Group, and Team Canada stand for. We are thrilled for the Canadian women’s goalball team and congratulate all of our members who took part in the competition.”

Celina Toth - CSA Committee Chair

About Respect Group

Respect Group, a headversity company, was incorporated in 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). As Canada’s leading online provider of prevention education related to BAHD, Respect Group has certified over 2.3 Million people involved in sport, schools and the workplace. Respect Group is a Certified B Corporation (bcorporation.net)

About the Canadian Sport Awards

The Canadian Sport Awards were established in 1972 by modern day co-founders True Sport, Canadian Centre for Ethics and Sport, Canada Games Council, Commonwealth Sport Canada, and AthletesCAN to recognize and showcase excellence in Canadian sport. Since then, the CSA evolved over time to become the premier recognition event for national sporting excellence. After the 40th anniversary, the awards experienced a five-year hiatus. In 2017, AthletesCAN successfully acquired the rights to revive this staple event to once again bring together members of the sport community to honour the spirit, drive, and commitment of Canada’s international level athletes, coaches, volunteers, and sport leaders.

About AthletesCAN

AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is the only fully independent and most inclusive athlete organization in the country and the first organization of its kind in the world.  As the voice of over 6,000 current and recently retired Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN membership spans 68 sports across the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan/Parapan American, and Commonwealth Games, and those currently funded by Sport Canada competing at Senior World Championships. AthletesCAN ensures an athlete-centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture, through educational resources, support, training and professional development.  

Follow us on social @AthletesCAN and Join #TheCollective today.

For more information, please contact:

Alan Hudes
Manager, Communications & Sport Partnerships
AthletesCAN
613-526-4025 Ext. 224
ahudes@athletescan.ca 

Joannie Morneau
Marketing Manager
Respect Group
514-882-1183
joannie@headversity.com