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Testimonials

As athletes, we’re incredibly fortunate. We’re fortunate enough to have the luxury to complain about the things we want or need in training, where the Canadian sport system is seemingly failing us, about how unsupportive our universities are sometimes, about a middle seat on an airplane to a competition, or how crappy the weather is for training some days. I would characterize these as first-world problems. At some point, it’s really important for us all to recognize that we get to do what we love every single day, and for that reason, we’re very lucky people.

Every athlete was an inspired kid at some point, and I think that’s a cycle which we’re obligated to sustain. Being a great role-model, leading by example, and taking an active role in our communities and local schools are all ways to affect positive change in our youth, and ensure that the next generations of athletes have people to look up to, just like we did. The word “Champion” has two meanings: a person who wins a competition and someone who fights for a cause. As athletes we have an awesome opportunity to champion causes which we feel strongly about. There are so many charities, foundations and causes out there to choose from, that every athlete’s passion, personal experience or story can serve to promote or advocate one or more. It feels great to win, but it feels profoundly gratifying to use what you’ve just won to promote something of importance.

Adam van Koeverden
Olympic Champion – Kayak
So many Canadian athletes are engaged with their communities and are making a difference. Being in a position to use my voice and to have a positive impact in the lives of others is most fulfilling.
Jennifer Heil
Olympic Champion - Freestyle Skiing
I learned as a young athlete that this notion of giving back is very much the Canadian way, a trait that is natural in us as a nation - natural because of our history. It is what we do and I saw this when traveling the globe, representing Canada, and seeing the work of CIDA and Canadian volunteers in all corners of the globe. To all of the athletes out there: realize that not only can you be inspiring; you can also be inspired. Connecting with others and understanding the human condition is the greatest victory one can have in sport, and in life, too!
Clara Hughes
Multi Olympic medalist - Cycling & Speed Skating
Giving back is about getting more energy. In life, there are commitments that leave you drained of energy, then there are commitments that leave you energized once the task is complete. These latter commitments seem to defy newtonian physics, and are the reasons why I give back. It took a lot of experimentation until I found the community involvement that optimized my energy, but it was worth it!
Adam Kreek
Olympic medalist – Rowing
Sport began as an outlet for the British-elite, grew into a global forum for peace, and now is on a trajectory to become just another Hollywood fixture - something to watch, but not be a part of. We need to ask ourselves not only what kind of sport do we want, but what kind of athletes do we want and moreover what can athletes do for helping create a value-based sport system? Through my experiences and involvement with AthletesCAN, I have become aware of a pivotal ideological shift in the social consciousness of elite athletes in Canada. To that end, I decided to pursue a Masters Degree to investigate the motivations and implications of social responsibility among elite athlete populations. Through my research I found that athlete social responsibility can and does have a positive impact on an athlete's overall performance, personal development, and continued sport participation.
Erin Carter
Olympic medalist – Cycling
When I found out I was the recipient of the True Sport Award at the 41st Canadian Sport Awards, I was incredibly honoured. Being at the end of my career, I have been more focused than ever on staying true to myself and this award is a reflection of that – I hope it inspires others to do the same.
Jillian Officer
Curling (2018 True Sport Award Recipient, 41st Canadian Sport Awards)
The 2018 Canadian Sport Awards will always hold a special place in my heart. It was so exciting to be able to play a small part in the revival of, what I feel to be, a necessary piece in the growth of sport culture in our country. The Canadian Sport Awards make us feel like what we are doing as athletes is seen, and that it matters. I am really looking forward to participating in this event for years to come!
Sarah Pavan
Designer
Being part of KidsCAN School Day is special in a lot of ways. The opportunity to get to interact with the kids is always meaningful. Whether it is seeing the smiles on their faces and the wheels turning in their heads when they're trying a new sport or the sparkle in their eyes as they listen to our stories. Time and time again this is one of the most fun days for me and a great active and interactive way for athletes to give back.
Mercedes Nicoll
Snowboard (Halfpipe)
I think it’s wonderful that AthletesCAN and Dale Carnegie provide national team athletes with the opportunity to take this course. I found the practice of getting up in front of my classmates each week to speak was invaluable. It’s one thing to learn the concepts of effective speaking, but having the opportunity to put these lessons to the test each class was hugely beneficial.
Megan Nagy
Beach Volleyball
One of the most predominant conversations in amateur sport these days is the one around athlete career transition. As an athlete that had always had an interest in business, I often found it difficult to find opportunities that would help to build relevant skills for life after sport. I can say without a doubt that the Dale Carnegie Leadership course that I attended was the single most relevant opportunity to develop transferable skills.
Cody Sorensen
Olympian, Bobsleigh
The Dale Carnegie Course I was able to access through AthletesCAN was outstanding! Overall, it was a tremendous experience; I know I came out a better person. The skills and awareness I developed have already transferred to multiple aspects of my life. I am very grateful for the AthletesCAN and Dale Carnegie Scholarship partnership.
Erica Gavel
Rio 2016 Paralympian, Wheelchair Basketball
AthletesCAN’s scholarship for the Dale Carnegie Course was a big part in empowering me to be comfortable in front of a crowd. I discovered new tools to help me be a more effective public speaker, and I continue to use what I’ve learned in everyday life. I would recommend the course to any athlete who wants to step up their speaking game. Since finishing the course, I've been able to speak at over 25 events across the country.
Sam Effah
2-time Canadian Champion, 2-time World Championship and Commonwealth Games finalist
I had an awesome forum experience! It was a fast paced weekend filled with great people, fun and learning. I felt engaged and empowered. I left forum with knowledge, fun stories, and close friendships. I couldn't stop raving about it when I got home. It was one of the best conferences I have ever attended.
Kyle Shewfelt
Artistic Gymnastics
The AthletesCAN Forum was an incredible experience.  I had the opportunity to learn about some very important issues pertinent to sport in Canada and had the opportunity to discuss our personal challenges to gather feedback from others in sport to reach more effective solutions.
Benoît Huot
Mutli-Paralympic Champion, Swimming
My advice to all Canadian athlete reps is to plug-in to the AthletesCAN dialogue and be a part of the movement; you'll likely be surprised to find that you do matter when it comes to shaping Canadian sport policy and that your voice will be heard.
Ryan Blais
8 World Cup podiums, Freestyle Skiing
The AthletesCAN Forum was truly multifaceted and the presence of the media throughout the course of the days was testament to the profile of this event. However it doesn't just educate and promote on the business of sport, from its inception the Forum has been a positive presence in every city that has been lucky enough to host it.
Perdita Felicien
Olympian, 2-time World Champion, Athletics
The Dale Carnegie Course was a great learning experience and I would like to thank Dale Carnegie and AthletesCAN for making this opportunity available to me. The lessons I learned will not only help me in my athletic career but also in my daily life. I encourage others (athletes and otherwise) to get involved in this program. The benefits will last a lifetime.
Brad Gushue
2006 Olympic Gold Medalist, Curling
Throughout my life, public speaking has been something I have had to struggle through. I always felt uncomfortable and unsure of how people would react to my disability. On the other hand, I always knew that if I had the ability to confidently network with people around me I could bring awareness to my disability and the amazing opportunities that my sport of blind water-skiing has created in my life.

Within the Dale Carnegie Course setting I had numerous opportunities for self-reflection, where I discovered how many stories I have that deserve to be shared with people in a manner that they can understand and relate to. The course really took me out of my element and made me think more critically on my feet. It has provided me with the skills to put my ideas and thoughts together into something worth sharing.

Since my participation in the program I am more assertive and take initiative in speaking to those in my community in hopes of making more meaningful connections with the people around me.

Ryan Riehl
Canadian Adapted Champion 2007-2013, Blind Water Skier
I wanted to be on the board because I want to be able to use my voice in an impactful way. I want to be able to learn from this organization and this amazing group of people I met. I want to have an opportunity to grow as an athlete, an individual and even as a policy maker. I want all national team athletes, and not just the top tier athletes, to know what AthletesCAN is and does and how they can be involved in the process. I am so excited to be part of this organization. I am excited about what I am going to be able to learn over the next year, work on my collective athlete voice and see more of how athletes can make a difference in sport in Canada.
Joy SpearChief Morris
Athletics Former Board Member
Recently I completed my Dale Carnegie Course and I cannot say enough about the experience that I was privileged to have over the last 3 months. The entire course was unbelievable and the atmosphere was infectious. The Dale Carnegie Course was an amazing life changing experience.

My Major Benefit & Breakthrough: I successfully negotiated the shipment of a product (speed fins) from Russia to Canada.

The cost of the fins would have been roughly $450 CND, if I was to purchase them from speedfins.net myself, compared to the other companies where I would have had to pay around $800+ CND to import them into the country.

By seeing the need for an alternative option for speed fins in the Lifesaving Sport, I was able to provide a cost effective way because of my ability to communicate clearly - even over a language barrier and then problem solve.

As a result, of my efforts, I received the speed fins for free from the company, while adding the growth of speedfins.net by increasing the popularity of their fins and also elevating my own image in the Lifesaving Sport, as both an athlete and a leader, in dealing with communication, people skills, and human relations over any obstacles.

In summary, I was able to increase the money in my pocket, while giving many athletes the ability to obtain top of the line equipment at a cost effective rate. I helped the company to extend their reach into the North American market place, and potentially helped them to increase their revenue greatly thus creating a “Win, Win” scenario/partnership!

I accomplished this all by learning and using the principles that I have been taught in our Dale Carnegie Course, in an efficient and skillful manner.

I’m truly happy, I decided to put my application in to take part in this course and I would highly recommend it to everyone and anyone who is looking to have a more influential role in their communities, business lives and in relationships, both professionally and personally. It will lead you to living a more satisfying and fulfilling life.

Mackenzie Salmon
Lifesaving Sport