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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.

Government of Canada provides update and announces action on safe sport

MONTRÉAL – The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, accompanied by sport leaders and athlete representatives, provided an update on and announced measures for safe sport.

First, the Minister followed up on the roundtables launched on March 31, when an initial emergency meeting with various leaders of the sport system was convened to start a dialogue to identify collective solutions.

She noted that several observations clearly emerged from this period of consultation, including the need to improve organizations’ accountability, the need to promote better governance practices within organizations, and the need to increase the representation and voice of athletes in our system.

Second, the Minister took the opportunity to announce new measures that fall within her jurisdiction and will be led by Sport Canada.

Responsibility, Accountability and Governance: Effective April 1, 2023, Sport Canada will make changes to contribution agreements with organizations that will meet the new eligibility requirements of the Sport Funding and Accountability Framework. The goal is to ensure that sport organizations receiving federal funding meet specific governance, accountability and safe sport standards. Over the next few months, Sport Canada will work to develop new requirements and standards to achieve this objective.

Sport Canada Athlete Advisory Committee: This committee will be created to increase the representation of athletes in the sport system and to allow Sport Canada to obtain advice and guidance that reflect the realities of athletes in Canada.

The Minister also stressed the importance of the creation of the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC), which will become operational on June 20. She noted that this independent mechanism will gradually become mandatory for all national sport organizations. She described the establishment of the OSIC as an important step to challenge the culture of silence and to provide a clear and reliable way for all participants in sport to report abuse and mistreatment and to be heard and supported. Budget 2022 proposed an investment of $16 million over three years to support the OSIC.

Finally, Minister St-Onge committed to continuing the work, noting that these new measures are only part of the solution, which is that responsibility must be shared by all leaders in the field. She concluded by noting the importance of the consultations for the renewal of the Canadian Sport Policy in the current context and expressed her support for a constructive dialogue with provincial and territorial partners, which is essential to achieve a change in sport culture.

The Government and its sport partners will continue to work together to ensure that we collectively create a safe and inclusive sport environment for all Canadians.

AthletesCAN, Western Law announce new incoming Program Managers to Sport Solution

AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes and the Faculty of Law at Western University are pleased to announce the appointment of Samuel Gan, Safiya Nanji and Laura Wade as incoming Program Managers with Sport Solution.

Gan, Nanji and Wade – who are all entering their second year at Western Law in London, Ont. – began their respective terms on May 2 and will be with the program for the next two years.

“We are excited to welcome Samuel, Safiya and Laura to the Sport Solution team," said Amanda Fowler, Sport Solution’s Supervising Lawyer, and an Adjunct Professor with Western Law specializing in representing professional and high-performance athletes “They have already produced excellent work, and we are confident they will make a positive impact in the lives of AthletesCAN members with our unique collaboration.”

Sport Solution was founded in 1996, when AthletesCAN joined forces with the Sports Law Centre, the Faculty of Law at Western, and the Dispute Resolution Centre to create a program that would help Canada’s national team athletes resolve and prevent legal conflicts in sport.  

The program is the only one of its kind in North America, and is available free for all members, providing relevant information, assistance and guidance on sport issues that may require legal counsel.

With these new appointments, AthletesCAN and Western Law thank outgoing Program Managers Brittany Bates, Greg Cherniak and Tyler Matthews, who have served Sport Solution since 2020 and will graduate from law school this spring. Hannah Dobie and Rheanna Geisel enter their second year with Sport Solution, continuing in their roles until Spring 2023.

“For over 25 years, Sport Solution has helped amplify the voices of Canada’s national team athletes. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Western Law with our new slate of program managers and help ensure athletes are heard in formal sport processes such as team selection, carding, safe sport, discipline disputes and anti-doping matters.”

Erin Willson - AthletesCAN President

2022-24 SPORT SOLUTION PROGRAM MANAGERS

Samuel Gan headshot

Samuel Gan is a second-year JD/MBA student at Western. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from St. Francis Xavier University before working for two years in a technology start-up. During Gan’s first year of law school, he volunteered with Project Consent for Pro Bono Students Canada, where he provided consent education to local high school students.

Gan recently completed his U SPORTS varsity athletics career with the Western Mustangs track and field team after initially competing with the St. Francis Xavier X-Men varsity football and track teams. With extensive experience in team and individual sports, Gan values the diversity of approaches to high-performance athletics and understands the challenges of balancing the pursuit of greatness in sport with the stresses of everyday responsibilities.

Gan is excited to be joining the Sport Solution Clinic as a Program Manager and eager to contribute to the important work of supporting Canadian athletes. Through his work, Gan hopes to remove obstacles and issues faced by athletes so they can focus on being the best that they can be.

Safiya Nanji headshotSafiya Nanji is a second-year law student at Western University. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University and a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University, where she specialized in human rights. Her thesis focused on the exploitation and abuse pertaining to restorative justice in international conflict zones. 

 Prior to law school, Nanji interned at Parliament and Physicians for Human Rights, where she gained valuable experience instituting change at both the grassroots and macro-policy levels. These transferable skills will be particularly beneficial in serving clients’ interests and communicating with large organizations.

During her first year of law school, Nanji worked with the Sport Solution Clinic as a caseworker and thoroughly enjoyed combining her passion for advocacy and sports. She has been particularly interested in the area of safe sport and ensuring that all athletes have a safe physical and mental training environment. Nanji is excited to be taking on the role of a Program Manager and is committed to upholding the Clinic’s high standard in serving and supporting Canadian athletes.

Laura Wade headshotLaura Wade is a second-year law student at Western. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and criminology from St. Thomas University (STU). Prior to attending law school, she worked in the field of corporate law policy and operations to which she gained transferable skills in research and promoting client’s interests.

During her undergraduate degree, Wade was involved in the athletics community and administration which sparked a passion for advocating for athletes. She was further involved in the Senate Committee at STU, where she represented the student population and advocated for more regard for students’ mental health in academic affairs.

Wade is quite excited to be involved with the Sport Solution Clinic as a Program Manager. She is committed to upholding the Clinic’s standard of excellence while supporting and advocating on behalf of athletes. This opportunity to utilize her skills combined with her legal education and passion for sports will allow her to empower athletes, which she is very much looking forward to.

About Sport Solution

Sport Solution is committed to supporting an athlete-centred sport system and strives to achieve this objective by counselling and advocating on behalf of Canada’s high performance athletes so their voices are well represented when resolving sport related issues that affect them. Follow us on Instagram @sportsolutionclinic or 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

Ashley Wiseman
Communications Specialist
Western Law
519-661-2111 Ext. 82126
ashley.wiseman@uwo.ca

Statement: Bobsleigh / Skeleton Open Letter

TORONTO – AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, released the following statement in response to an open letter sent to Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton.

AthletesCAN has been made aware of an open letter sent to Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton by over 80 athletes from the sport. These athletes provided an overview of the mental, physical, emotional, and financial suffering they have endured over years from their own federation.

AthleteCAN fully supports the athletes’ call for an authentic independent investigation with its findings made public in a written report, while at the same time, when requested, protect the anonymity of the athlete(s). Furthermore, we fully endorse that the selection of any hearing body appointees or independent investigators must be agreed to by the athletes.

An environment that allows all Canadian national team athletes to feel safe and engages athletes in decision making processes is essential to the success and well being of all athletes.

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.

For more information, please contact: 

Alan Hudes

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

Advisory Notice: AthletesCAN Job Scam

TO: ATHLETES, MEMBERS, AND STAKEHOLDERS

We have become aware of an active job scam targeting individuals who wish to interview for a position at AthletesCAN. Please be advised that there are currently no opportunities with AthletesCAN at this time. Any job openings available with AthletesCAN will be shared on our website, from our verified social media accounts, and job posting websites.

If you are contacted about a job with AthletesCAN from an unauthorized account, please do not share any personal information or engage with the sender. AthletesCAN will not ask you unsolicited to provide this information, or to purchase anything as part of any legitimate, verified hiring process through our organization.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and are actively addressing this situation including reporting to the appropriate authorities.

For more information please contact:
info@athletescan.ca
1-888-832-4222
613-526-4025