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AthletesCAN appoints Proske Vice President, de Sousa Costa Treasurer, announces 2022-23 Executive

TORONTO –AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is proud to announce the appointment of rowing Olympian Andrea Proske as Vice President and the newly-elected Chris de Sousa Costa as Treasurer of its Board of Directors.

Proske replaces Bo Hedges (Wheelchair Basketball), who was appointed as Secretary for the 2022-23 Executive, after serving as Vice President for the past two years, while de Sousa Costa takes over for Rob Law (Lawn Bowls). Erin Willson (Artistic Swimming) will continue to lead the organization as AthletesCAN President for a second consecutive year.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chris and Andrea to our Executive team, while continuing to work with Bo in a new capacity in his sixth year on the Board. All three of them posses a unique skillset and passion in advocating for national team athletes and we look forward to the leadership they will bring to help create meaningful change within the Canadian sport system at this critical time.”

Erin Willson, AthletesCAN President

A two-time Rowing World Cup medalist, Proske won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the women’s eight – Canada’s first in this event since 1996. Off the water, Proske served as Rowing Canada’s Athlete Representative, leading a successful $37,000 food card fundraising campaign on behalf of her peers, and was a vocal advocate for the launch of a High Performance Culture Review. Since joining the AthletesCAN Board in November 2021, Proske has chaired the AthletesCAN Membership Committee, overseeing the successful transition to a one-time registration via the new AthletesCAN.ca website, and led strategic initiatives aimed at raising the organization’s awareness profile among its 6,000-plus prospective members. Additionally, Proske is an international coach, serving as Program Director for Team Bahamas Rowing in 2022.

“I am excited to have the privilege and responsibility of amplifying the voices of my peers in my new role as Vice President of AthletesCAN. This past year, I saw my own experiences echoed in the countless heartbreaking stories of abuse, poor governance, and maltreatment shared by athletes across Canada. 2023 must be a year of action, as we work towards meaningful change and athlete-centred policies.”

Andrea Proske, AthletesCAN Vice President

A three-time Commonwealth champion, de Sousa Costa retired after serving as team captain at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. Off the mat, he spent three years at the world’s largest publicly-traded property and casualty insurance carrier, providing risk transfer solutions for private entities and non-profit organizations and focusing on analyzing financial and operations management exposure. He is also the CEO of the Queen’s University Alternative Assets Fund, Canada’s first student-directed portfolio of alternative strategies, which holds over $600,000 in assets under management. In this role, de Sousa Costa oversees five business verticals and works closely with the Chief Investment Officer to ensure the fund yields superior risk-adjusted returns in any market environment.

“I am incredibly honoured to be appointed Treasurer of AthletesCAN. From attending my first AthletesCAN Forum in 2009 as an Athlete Representative to now being part of the Executive, I have the privilege of collaborating alongside my fellow Officers and Board Members to have a direct positive impact on bringing the athlete voice to the forefront of the Canadian sport system. I look forward to not only ensuring the fiduciary duties of AthletesCAN are upheld as Treasurer, but to also enhance the athlete experience through the various initiatives being engaged in by the organization.”

Chris de Sousa Costa, AthletesCAN Treasurer

In addition to the new Executive, Law was also re-appointed to the Board as its 10th member. AthletesCAN bylaws allow for the appointment of one additional Director for every three new Board members elected at the Annual General Meeting.

The Executive election follows the announcement of the 2022-23 Board of Directors in November. For full biographies of the 2022-23 AthletesCAN Board of Directors, click here.

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 Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN ensures an athlete-centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture. Follow us on social @AthletesCAN and Join #TheCollective today.

For more information, please contact:

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

UPDATE: Abuse-Free Sport officially effective for AthletesCAN

TORONTO – Effective Wednesday, December 21, 2022, AthletesCAN has access to services provided by the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC), which serves as the central hub of Abuse-Free Sport, the new independent program to prevent and address maltreatment in sport

Complaints will now be filed with either Abuse-Free Sport or the Independent Third Party (ITP) for AthletesCAN. A complete overview on how to file a complaint to either Abuse-Free Sport or The ITP is outlined here.

AthletesCAN has also adopted the most recent version (6.0) of the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS) and completed the required policy changes. There is more information about the Abuse-Free Sport program HERE, on the OSIC HERE, and on AthletesCAN.ca HERE.

About Abuse-Free Sport

Abuse-Free Sport is an independent program that is part of a growing national movement to rid Canadian sport of all forms of harassment, discrimination and abuse. As a Program Signatory, AthletesCAN is an active player in this movement.
 
Unlike the previous approach, where each national sport organization created its own system for dealing with complaints of maltreatment, this is a centralized “one-stop shop.” It is independent and led by experts in their fields, using education and research to prevent maltreatment at all levels of sport.

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 Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN ensures an athlete-centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture. Follow us on social @AthletesCAN and Join #TheCollective today.

For more information, please contact:

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

Ewing headlines 45th Canadian Sport Award recipients with revived Randy Starkman Award

TORONTO – Lori Ewing, a long-time sports journalist with The Canadian Press, was named the first winner of the revived Randy Starkman Award on Wednesday night, as AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, unveiled the recipients of the 45th Canadian Sport Awards (CSAs).

The Randy Starkman Award was relaunched for this year’s celebration, following a decade-long absence, after its initial creation in 2012 following the sudden passing of its namesake. The award recognizes the extraordinary career and unparalleled contributions of Randy Starkman in telling the stories of Canadian sport over the past 30 years from an athletes’ perspective. It will serve as an ongoing recognition of his legacy and will be a call to action to inspire current and future Canadian sports journalists to strive for the kind of sports journalism that he demonstrated throughout his career.

“Lori Ewing does this job so skillfully - she’s always be able to find that sweet spot between respecting the athletes, and calling them out when it's needed. Lori has this immense empathy for the athletes she covers, while staying true to serious journalistic principles. And when she is in a jam, she will sometimes ask her herself, ‘What would Randy do?’”

Mary Hynes, Randy’s partner of nearly 30 years

In addition to Ewing, current bobsleigh athletes Shaquille Murray-Lawrence and Cynthia Appiah were honoured with the AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award and the #AthleteVoice Award for Rep. of the Year, respectively, high diver Molly Carlson took home the True Sport Award, while retired bobsleigh and athletics star Seyi Smith earned the Bruce Kidd Leadership Award. Finally, the podium performances of the Canadian 3×3 basketball teams from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games were crowned with the People’s Choice Award for Most Trending Moment of the Year.

The winners were revealed in a live virtual broadcast on AthletesCAN’s digital channels, capping off a national campaign celebrating this year’s finalists held over the course of December. Each of the winners receive a blown glass sculpture in the shape of the triumphant athlete depicted in the AthletesCAN logo, carefully crafted by Fireweed Glass Studio Ltd.

The Canadian Sport Awards continue to celebrate trailblazers, athlete-centred accomplishments and initiatives – with the ultimate goal to unite, amplify and celebrate the leadership and voices of our members.

“On behalf of our Board, staff and partners, I want to congratulate all of the winners of the 45th Canadian Sport Awards. We are truly proud of everyone that has continued to push for what is right, in order to create the changes that will allow for a safe and welcoming sport environment across the country.”

CSA Committee Chair Celina Toth

For the complete history of CSA award winners, click here.

AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award

Shaquille Murray-LawrenceShaquille Murray, Lawrence, Bobsleigh

A former CFL running back, Murray-Lawrence spoke out about the racism and Olympic qualification inequities he faced following the team selection for the Beijing 2022 Games. Despite posting better results over a two-year period than his white competitor who had fewer recorded races, Murray-Lawrence was denied a a full-time spot on the team, settling for an alternate position.  His calls of maltreatment joined a growing voice of athletes within the sport seeking cultural change and a more athlete-centred approach.

True Sport Award

Molly Carlson, High Diving

Carlson finished second overall in her first full season on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Along the way, she has helped develop a strong program in Canada despite limited training facilities, in hopes of being added to the Olympic program at a future Games. In addition, Carlson has become a role model for people struggling with mental health, by describing how she manages her thoughts during competition on social media to her 3.5 million followers.

#AthleteVoice Award: Rep of the Year

Cynthia AppiahCynthia Appiah, Bobsleigh

Appiah has played a significant role on behalf of her peers, becoming one of the more vocal athletes demanding change and a new-athlete centred approach within Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, that eventually led to the election of a new President following years of maltreatment in the sport. She currently sits as an athlete representative on the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada’s (SDRCC) Athlete Advisory Committee for the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS). 

Bruce Kidd Leadership Award

Seyi SmithSeyi Smith, Bobsleigh & Athletics

Smith was elected to the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission, aiming to tackle climate change and environmental sustainability, thanks to his background as an electrical engineer and in renewable energy technologies. The former Chair of Canadian Olympic Committee’s Athlete Commission also made the trip to the Beijing Games this year as an athlete mentor.

Randy Starkman Award for Leadership in Sports Journalism

Lori EwingLori Ewing, The Canadian Press

A former nationally-ranked sprinter herself,  Ewing has reported for the national wire service since 2001, and has covered nine Olympic Games, most recently at Beijing 2022. 

People's Choice Award: Most Trending Moment of the Year

3x3 Basketball3×3 Basketball – 2022 Commonwealth Games

Debuting at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the 3×3 basketball competition saw all four of Canada’s teams medal, with both the women’s able-bodied and wheelchair squads capturing gold, while the men’s wheelchair team earned silver and the men’s able-bodied team taking home bronze.

45th Canadian Sport Awards: Randy Starkman Award for Leadership in Sports Journalism Nominees

 Throughout the month of December, AthletesCAN will reveal the finalists in six award categories for the 45th Canadian Sport Awards continuing to focus on trailblazers, athlete-centred accomplishments and initiatives – with the ultimate goal to unite, amplify and celebrate the leadership and voices of our members.

The campaign will culminate in a virtual awards broadcast on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT live on AthletesCAN’s digital channels.

Randy Starkman Award for Leadership in Sports Journalism

The Randy Starkman Award for Leadership in Sports Journalism was initially created in 2012, following the sudden passing of its namesake just a few months prior, who served as a long-time Toronto Star amateur sports reporter and advocate. The award recognizes the extraordinary career and unparalleled contributions of the late Randy Starkman in telling the stories of Canadian athletes and sport for over 30 years from an athletes’ perspective. This award will serve as an ongoing recognition of his legacy and will be a call to action to inspire current and future Canadian sports journalists to strive for the kind of sports journalism that he demonstrated throughout his career.

Lori Ewing

Lori Ewing

The Canadian Press

A former nationally-ranked sprinter herself,  Ewing has reported for the national wire service since 2001, and has covered nine Olympic Games, most recently at Beijing 2022. 

Devin Heroux

Devin Heroux

CBC sports

Heroux is a cross-platform reporter who covers Olympic and Paralympic news and has reported on the last three Games in PyeongChang, Tokyo and Beijing. He is also a curling correspondent, hosting That Curling Show with World Champion turned-broadcaster Colleen Jones. Heroux is based in Toronto after working for the CBC in Calgary and Saskatoon.

Kerry Gillespie

Toronto Star

Gillespie took over the amateur sports beat from Randy Starkman in September 2012, following stints writing on politics at City Hall and Queen’s Park, as well as with the Editorial Board at Canada’s largest newspaper.

45th Canadian Sport Awards: Bruce Kidd Leadership Award Nominees

 Throughout the month of December, AthletesCAN will reveal the finalists in six award categories for the 45th Canadian Sport Awards continuing to focus on trailblazers, athlete-centred accomplishments and initiatives – with the ultimate goal to unite, amplify and celebrate the leadership and voices of our members.

The campaign will culminate in a virtual awards broadcast on Wednesday, Dec. 21, live on AthletesCAN’s digital channels.

Bruce Kidd Leadership Award

The Bruce Kidd Leadership Award is presented annually to a retired national team athlete, sport leader, or organization, who has provided meaningful contributions to the betterment of sport as a leader, advocate, change agent, or builder. This award highlights the groundbreaking work that contributed to the betterment of sport through inspirational leadership, innovative practices, and/or positive influence on the Canadian sport sector. 

The award is named in honour of 1968 Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. Bruce Kidd, who has made enormous contributions to Canada’s sporting community as an athlete, advocate, author, historian, and academic

Michael Linklater
Credit: The Canadian Press

Michael Linklater, 3x3 Basketball

A long-time veteran of the Canadian 3×3 basketball team, Michael has been a significant advocate for indigenous youth, all while building the necessary relationships and pushing for athletes to have a voice at important decision-making tables. Most recently, Michael was invited to attend the first-ever Native American Heritage Month reception at the White House, hosted by First Lady Jill Biden. 

Josh Dueck
Credit: CPC

Josh Dueck, Para Alpine Skiing

After serving as Chef de Mission for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games, Dueck was elected to International Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Council, where he joined its first in-person meeting this past fall. Together with his peers, Josh is working to help increase athlete engagement, including encouraging feedback on the ongoing Classification Code Review, registration for the post-nominal PLY letters program and ensuring athletes with high support needs are met.

Credit: Seyi Smith

Seyi Smith, Athletics and Bobsleigh

Smith was elected to the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission, aiming to tackle climate change and environmental sustainability, thanks to his background as an electrical engineer and in renewable energy technologies. The former Chair of Canadian Olympic Committee’s Athlete Commission also made the trip to the Beijing Games this year as an athlete mentor.

45th Canadian Sport Awards: #AthleteVoice Award – Rep of the Year Nominees

 Throughout the month of December, AthletesCAN will reveal the finalists in six award categories for the 45th Canadian Sport Awards continuing to focus on trailblazers, athlete-centred accomplishments and initiatives – with the ultimate goal to unite, amplify and celebrate the leadership and voices of our members.

The campaign will culminate in a virtual awards broadcast on Wednesday, Dec. 21, live on AthletesCAN’s digital channels.

#AthleteVoice Award - Rep. of the Year

The #AthleteVoice Award for Rep of the Year recognizes the significant contributions of an athlete representative within their national sport organization, multi-sport organization or international sport organization. The athlete representation movement is only as good as the athletes chosen by their teammates to effect positive change. This award highlights the initiative, courage, and leadership of these individuals.

Cynthia Appiah
Credit: COC

Cynthia Appiah, Bobsleigh

Appiah has played a significant role on behalf of her peers, becoming one of the more vocal athletes demanding change and a new-athlete centred approach within Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, that eventually led to the election of a new President following years of maltreatment in the sport. She currently sits as an athlete representative on the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada’s (SDRCC) Athlete Advisory Committee for the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS).  

Greg Stewart
Credit: CPC

Greg Stewart, Para Athletics / Sitting Volleyball

Stewart currently sits on the Athletics Canada Board of Directors, as an Athlete Representative and like Appiah, was recently elected to the AthletesCAN Board. He has given a strong voice to para athletics and volleyball athletes over a 20-year career, with experience speaking for the needs of athletes in both team and individual sports.

Rob Law
Credit: Bowls Canada

Rob Law, Lawn Bowls

Law serves as Bowls Canada Athlete Rep and continues to lobby actively on behalf of his teammates to improve governance and structures within the National Sport Organization. Prior to the completion of his term on the AthletesCAN Board, Law actively represented the organization at various domestic NSO-run events to help engage prospective AthletesCAN members.

45th Canadian Sport Awards: True Sport Award Nominees

 Throughout the month of December, AthletesCAN will reveal the finalists in six award categories for the 45th Canadian Sport Awards continuing to focus on trailblazers, athlete-centred accomplishments and initiatives – with the ultimate goal to unite, amplify and celebrate the leadership and voices of our members.

The campaign will culminate in a virtual awards broadcast on Wednesday, Dec. 21, live on AthletesCAN’s digital channels.

True Sport Award

The True Sport Award recognizes an inspirational Canadian citizen who exemplifies true sport values of fairness, excellence, inclusion, and fun in a meaningful way.

Through the pursuit of sporting excellence this Canadian hero showcases dedication, perseverance, sportsmanship, respect for others, and a true love of sport. 

Credit: Molly Carlson

Molly Carlson, High Diving

Carlson finished second overall in her first full season on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Along the way, she has helped develop a strong program in Canada despite limited training facilities, in hopes of being added to the Olympic program at a future Games. In addition, Carlson has become a role model for people struggling with mental health, by describing how she manages her thoughts during competition on social media to her 3.5 million followers.

Credit: COC

Mirela Rahneva, Skeleton

Rahneva had Canada’s best result at the Beijing Olympics coming in fifth, and then became one of the first athletes to speak out on the maltreatment and challenges she faced within her sport – a few weeks before an open letter to Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton was released by its athletes. As part of her story,  Rahneva documented the self-funding efforts her and her teammates required just to make it to the Games. She has continued using her voice with a new season getting underway this winter.

Credit: COC

Brooke Henderson, Golf

Henderson had the best season of her career with two victories, including her second major at the Evian Championship, increasing her all-time lead as Canada’s most decorated golfer to 12 wins. She has continued to find success on the LPGA Tour all while inspiring the next generation to take up the sport.

45th Canadian Sport Awards: AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award Nominees

 Throughout the month of December, AthletesCAN will reveal the finalists in six award categories for the 45th Canadian Sport Awards continuing to focus on trailblazers, athlete-centred accomplishments and initiatives – with the ultimate goal to unite, amplify and celebrate the leadership and voices of our members.

The campaign will culminate in a virtual awards broadcast on Wednesday, Dec. 21, live on AthletesCAN’s digital channels.

AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award

The AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award honours a current or retired national team athlete who used their platform to make a positive impact in their sport or community at the local, national, or international level.

It recognizes the significant contributions of an athlete leader in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, community, volunteer and/or social change initiatives.

Pam Buisa - Rugby
Credit: Rugby Canada

Pamphinette Buisa, Rugby

Buisa is a leading member of Rugby Canada’s BIPOC Working Group and utilizes her platform to amplify voices and challenge systems of oppression through advocacy work with an organization known as Decolonize Together

Shaquille Murray-Lawrence - Bobsleigh
Credit: Shaquille Murray-Lawrence

Shaquille Murray-Lawrence, Bobsleigh

A former CFL running back, Murray-Lawrence spoke out about the racism and Olympic qualification inequities he faced following the team selection for the Beijing 2022 Games. Despite posting better results over a two-year period than his white competitor who had fewer recorded races, Murray-Lawrence was denied a a full-time spot on the team, settling for an alternate position.  His calls of maltreatment joined a growing voice of athletes within the sport seeking cultural change and a more athlete-centred approach.

Credit: COC

Taylor Ruck, Swimming

Following her initial success from 2016-18, Ruck shared her story of her two-year battle with an eating disorder that limited her participation and success at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. After opening up about her situation, Taylor began her road to recovery, eventually leading her to qualify for this year’s World Championships where she won three relay medals.

Most Trending Moment of Year digital campaign kicks off 45th Canadian Sport Awards

TORONTO – AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is proud to announce the national campaign launch for the upcoming 45th Canadian Sport Awards (CSAs).

Beginning today and throughout the month of December, AthletesCAN will reveal the finalists in six award categories, continuing to focus on trailblazers, athlete-centred accomplishments and initiatives – with the ultimate goal to unite, amplify and celebrate the leadership and voices of our members.

Kicking off the campaign is the People’s Choice Award for Most Trending Moment of the Year, which will see 10 finalists vying for the title via online voting in partnership with CBC Sports.

The People’s Choice Award will be followed by the AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award, the True Sport Award, #AthleteVoice Award: Rep of the Year, the Bruce Kidd Leadership Award and the revived Randy Starkman Award for Leadership in Sports Journalism.

The campaign will culminate in a virtual awards broadcast on Wednesday, Dec. 21, live on AthletesCAN’s digital channels.

Most Trending Moment Nominees Graphic

People's Choice Award: Most Trending Moment of the Year

Created in 2020, the Most Trending Moment Award honours a current or retired national team athlete who has captured the virtual world by storm. This 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 who’s digital actions have been a force for good

Isabelle Weidemann

Summer McIntosh

Speed Skating – Long Track

In her Olympic debut, Isabelle Weideman captured Canada’s first medal at the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, with a bronze in the 3000m. She would later add a silver in the 5000m and a gold in the team pursuit. With a medal of each colour, Weidemann was named Closing Ceremony flag-bearer.

Swimming

The 15-year-old sensation was the most-decorated Canadian at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games winning six medals – two gold (200m and 400m individual medley), three silver (400m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays), and one bronze (4x100m freestyle relay). McIntosh set four records in the process, including a pair of World Junior marks and a new Commonwealth Games record in the 400m medley.

Men's National Soccer Team

3x3 Basketball - Men's & Women's Teams

FIFA World Cup Qualification

Canada emphatically defeated Jamaica 4-0 on Mar. 27 at BMO Field in Toronto, qualifying for the men’s FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1986. The victory cemented Canada’s place in the tournament, finishing in top spot with an 8-2-4 record in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

2022 Commonwealth Games

Debuting at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the 3×3 basketball competition saw all four of Canada’s teams medal, with both the women’s able-bodied and wheelchair squads capturing gold, while the men’s wheelchair team earned silver and the men’s able-bodied team taking home bronze.

Kids build snow bobsled

Christina Picton and Collin Cameron

then meet Olympic role models

Inspired by Team Canada’s performances in Beijing, a group of five children built their own bobsled out of snow outside Olympian Cody Sorensen’s childhood Ottawa home. Then they got to meet their hero himself, after Sorensen and teammate Mike Evelyn surprised them

Para Nordic Skiing

On a trek through the woods, para nordic skiers Christina Picton and Collin Cameron tested their skills to get past a fallen tree. Ask yourself – would you leapfrog or would you limbo?

Women's National Hockey team

Brian McKeever

2022 Winter Olympics

Canada dominated the women’s hockey tournament at Beijing 2022 en route to reclaiming the gold medal. Sarah Nurse set the single tournament scoring record with 18 points, while the team found the the back of the net 57 times in seven games to break their own goal-scoring record en route to the title.

Para Nordic Skiing 

At his sixth and final Paralympics in Beijing, Brian McKeever struck gold in all three of his events, including the 20km classic, 1.5 km sprint and 12.5 km free for the visually impaired.

 

Samantha Woj and Ina Forrest

Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan

Artist paints veteran wheelchair curler

A talented artist with a physical disability, Samantha Woj painted portraits of athletes throughout the Beijing Games using sporting equipment, including wheelchair curler and Opening Ceremony co-flagbearer Ina Forrest.

Beach Volleyball

Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan took home their second consecutive Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham, successfully defending their title to remain the only gold medalists in the event’s history since its 2018 debut. The duo went a perfect 7-0, defeating Australia in three sets in the final.

Three new members elected to AthletesCAN Board of Directors following 2022 AGM

TORONTO – AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is pleased to announce its 2022-23 Board of Directors, following the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Nov. 19.

Former national team athletes Chris de Sousa Costa (Karate) and Greg Stewart (Para Athletics / Sitting Volleyball), and current bobsledder Cynthia Appiah were all elected for three-year terms.

AthletesCAN thanks outgoing officers Rob Law (Treasurer / Lawn Bowls), and Celina Toth (Secretary / Diving) as well as Directors Hollie Duncan (Curling) and Natasha Watcham-Roy (Rugby). The new Officers will be elected from within the Board in January.

“We are excited to welcome Chris, Greg and Cynthia to the AthletesCAN Board. Each of them brings terrific experience in representing the athlete voice within their respective sports and we look forward to working together with them over the coming year. We also appreciate all of the significant efforts led by Rob, Celina, Hollie and Natasha over the course of their time with the organization and wish them well moving forward.”

Erin Willson - AthletesCAN President and artistic swimming Olympian

Following the Board election, Willson presented the annual President’s Report to members, highlighted by some of the major accomplishments of the 2021-22 year, including:

  • Launch of the new AthletesCAN.ca website
  • Implementation of the new awareness pillar of the organization’s Strategic Plan
  • Public discussions and workshops with athletes on safe sport, governance and personal branding
  • Launch of the landscape equity, diversity and inclusion survey
  • Creation of leadership resources, including new Athlete Representation e-Learning Modules

Prior to the AGM, members also had the opportunity to attend the annual AthletesCAN Forum featuring virtual sessions on indigenous inclusion and accessibility, racial equity and anti-racism, trans and non-binary inclusion and safe sport, in addition to in-person networking socials.

With the conclusion of the 2022 AGM and Board election, AthletesCAN looks forward to the 45th Canadian Sport Awards, with finalists scheduled to be announced in December.

Cynthia Appiah (She/Her)

A standout shot put and hammer throw athlete at York University, Cynthia Appiah was introduced to bobsleigh in the summer of 2011 when she attended a testing camp. Within two years of deciding to make bobsleigh her prime athletic pursuit, she was competing on the North American Cup circuit as a breakwoman, and by 2015 would qualify for the World Cup circuit. Cynthia was named an alternate for the 2018 Olympics in PyeonChang, before shifting to the pilot position for the next quadrennial where she would compete at the 2022 Games in Beijing (finishing eighth in both competitions).

Cynthia has also played a significant role on behalf of her peers, becoming one of the more vocal athletes demanding change and a new-athlete centred approach within Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, that eventually led to the election of a new President. She currently sits as an athlete representative on the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada’s (SDRCC) Athlete Advisory Committee for the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS). Cynthia holds a Bachelor of Arts in History along with a minor in psychology from York.

Chris de Sousa Costa (He/Him)

Chris de Sousa Costa is a former karate national team athlete, competing in the men’s kumite +84kg category from 2004-15. During his athletic career, he was an 11-time Canadian champion, three-time Commonwealth champion, two-time Pan-American champion, three-time North American champion, and winner of the US Open. Chris retired from competition after the 2015 Pan American Games in his hometown of Toronto, where he was team captain.

Chris has extensive experience in governance and advisory work, having been the Athlete Representative on Karate Canada’s Board of Directors for nine consecutive years, and is an advisor on their High-Performance Committee. Chris also created and served as chairperson of Karate Canada’s inaugural Athlete Council. He is currently an event national team coach, having coached at the North American Cup, Senior Pan American Championships, and Karate1 Series A events.

Chris completed his Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Communication Studies from York University and his Graduate Diploma in Business (GDB) program from Queen’s University through a scholarship between Game Plan and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s. Following his GDB, he spent three years at the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance carrier, providing risk transfer solutions for private and non-profit entities within management liability.  Currently, he is completing his Master of Business Administration with a specialization in innovation and entrepreneurship at Queen’s and is the current Chief of Staff of the Queen’s University Alternative Assets Fund – Canada’s first student-directed portfolio of alternative strategies, which holds over $600,000 in assets under management. 

Greg Stewart (He/Him)

Greg Stewart is a multisport athlete, having competed in para athletics, as well as both the sitting and standing para volleyball national teams for the past 20 years. Over the course of his career, Greg represented Canada at three Para Pan American Games – winning a bronze medal in both the 2007 and 2011 sitting volleyball tournaments, before earning a silver in 2019 in para shot put F46. A few months later, Greg finished second again at his World Athletics Championship debut. Following the pandemic postponement, Greg was selected to represent Canada for his first and only Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020, where we threw a record of 16.75 metres to become Paralympic champion.

Off the track and court, Greg sits on the Athletics Canada Board of Directors, as an Athlete Representative. He works in the import/export metal recycling and end of life vehicle recycling industry. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration majoring in Human Resources Management from Thompson Rivers University, where he also played for the men’s basketball team and was named U SPORTS Defensive Player of the Year.  Greg is excited and looking forward to continuing to give back to sport. 

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 Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN ensures an athlete-centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture. Follow us on social @AthletesCAN and Join #TheCollective today.

For more information, please contact: 

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