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

2022-23 Board of Directors Graphic

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
613-526-4025 Ext. 224
[email protected]