VANCOUVER – Field hockey Olympian and film director Phyllis Ellis, road cyclist Michael Woods, the Canadian Soccer Players Association (CSPA) leadership, CAN Fund founder Jane Roos and journalist Sean Fitz-Gerald were honoured Friday night, as AthletesCAN – the association of Canada’s national team athletes – celebrated the 46th Canadian Sport Awards.
Ellis was honoured with the AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award and Woods took home the True Sport Award, while the CSPA’s leadership consisting of Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie, Sophie Schmidt and Quinn were recognized with the #AthleteVoice Award as Rep of the Year, and Roos earned the Bruce Kidd Leadership Award. Finally, Fitz-Gerald won the second edition of the revived Randy Starkman Award for Leadership in Sports Journalism Presented by the Toronto Star. Woods and the CSPA were unable to attend in person and accepted their awards virtually.
The celebration of trailblazers, athlete-centred accomplishments and initiatives was hosted by Scott Russell of CBC Sports at the Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel in Richmond, B.C. and served as the kickoff to the first in-person AthletesCAN Forum weekend since 2019. The event was made possible in part by the generous contribution of Richmond Sport Hosting.
Following Forum, a national digital campaign in partnership with CBC Sports along with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees for the People’s Choice Award for Most Trending Moment of the Year will take place in December, after the conclusion of the 2023 Pan American and Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
46th CANADIAN SPORT AWARDS WINNERS
AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award: Phyllis Ellis, Field Hockey
Phyllis Ellis directed the groundbreaking documentary Category: Woman which follows four female athletes who were forced out of competition by regulations that profile and target women athletes set by World Athletics. Her work documented the consequences to the bodies and lifestyles of these women as a result of the regulations that the, predominantly male, decision-makers set under the guise of fair play.
True Sport Award: Michael Woods, Cycling
Michael Woods became just the third ever Canadian this season to win a stage at the Tour de France, one of the most prestigious bike races in the world. Formerly an elite middle-distance runner and Canadian junior record holder in the mile, Woods’ track career stalled due to injury, and he took up competitive cycling at an age when many other cyclists are beginning to burn out. He is believed to be the only person in history to have run a sub four-minute mile and to have successfully competed in one of cycling’s Grand Tours.
#AthleteVoice Award – Rep of the Year: Canadian Soccer Players Association
Led by Janine Beckie, Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt and Quinn, the Canadian Soccer Players Association initiated a job action against Canada Soccer during the SheBelieves Cup in February, protesting significant budget cuts to the women’s program. The team skipped practice sessions and wore purple warmups as a sign of solidarity during the tournament which serves as preparation for the World Cup. These four representatives appeared in front of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to testify about how the women’s program receives less support than the men’s team in terms of funding for training camps, provision of medical and training teams, and compensation for representing Canada on the world stage. The CSPA negotiated a 2023 interim agreement with Canada Soccer that significantly increased the national team’s base compensation over 2021 levels.
Bruce Kidd Leadership Award: Jane Roos, Canadian Athletes Now Fund
Jane Roos was a promising track athlete, but a car injury ended her career at the age of 19. Roos turned her attention to helping other athletes fulfil their Olympic dreams and started CAN Fund, a non-profit dedicated to helping Canadian athletes pay for coaching, training, nutrition and living expenses. Over the last 20 years, CAN Fund has raised over $50 Million for Canadian athletes, and helped support 80 per cent of the Canadian athletes who have competed at the Olympics since the Athens 2004 Games.
Randy Starkman Award for Leadership in Sports Journalism Presented by the Toronto Star: Sean Fitz-Gerald
Sean Fitz-Gerald most recently worked for seven years as a Senior National Writer at The Athletic, having been one of the company’s first hires with its Toronto bureau in 2016. As a reporter, he has covered the Olympics and Pan American Games, and is well known for finding unique human interest angles and gaining insightful responses in interview features, particularly with Canada’s national team athletes. Prior to The Athletic, Fitz-Gerald also worked as a sports reporter for the Toronto Star, National Post and The Canadian Press.