COC photo: Jenna Muirhead-Gould

Olympians Honoured in Toronto

TORONTO – Twenty five of Canada’s Olympians and Paralympians gathered today at Toronto’s iconic Royal Ontario Museum today to be honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. The athletes were joined by Canadian Olympic Committee CEO and Secretary General Christopher Overholt, and were each awarded the coveted medal by the Minister of State (Sport), the Honourable Bal Gosal.

“When you become an Olympian, you really do get the sense that you’re a part of something so much bigger than yourself and today is just another example of that,” said Derek Drouin, London 2012 Bronze Medallist in the High Jump. “It’s an honour to be here today with many of my team mates who shared the whole incredible journey in London. All of us were so proud to represent Canada and I know all of us are incredibly proud to receive the Diamond Jubilee medal today.”

“Watching these outstanding young men and women be honoured like this is a great feeling,” said Canadian Olympic Committee CEO and Secretary General, Christopher Overholt. “Being awarded this prestigious medal in recognition of their service to Canada, Canadians and to their communities is a wonderful way of expressing our nation’s thanks to our athletes and all they do to inspire those around them.”

“As Minister of State for Sport and a big fan of our Canadian Olympians and Paralympians, I couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments of our outstanding athletes,” said Minister of State Gosal. “The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is one of many ways in which we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the Throne. This afternoon, in Her Majesty’s honour, we recognize the achievements of exceptional athletes who have worked hard to serve their communities and country.”

“We are here today to recognize and celebrate great individuals for their dedication, passion, and commitment to the advancement of the Paralympic movement in Canada,” said François Robert, Executive Director of Partnerships for the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “These leaders have inspired countless Canadians with their contributions on and off the field of play and we very grateful for their continued support.”

The Diamond Jubilee medals provide a unique opportunity to honour exceptional Canadians for their contributions to their fellow citizens, communities and country. During the year of celebrations, 60,000 deserving Canadians from across the country and various walks of life will be recognized.

In total, 25 Olympians and Paralympians (or their representatives) were present to receive the honour:

1. Jessica Phoenix, Equestrian, Cannington, ON
2. Brittany MacLean, Swimming, Etobicoke, ON
3. Joseph Veloce, Cycling , Fonthill, ON
4. Reid Coolsaet, Athletics, Hamilton, ON
5. Shona Thorburn, Basketball, Hamilton, ON
6. Joe Bartoch, Swimming, London ON
7. Diana Matheson, Soccer, Oakville, ON
8. Nikkita Warner (née Holder), Athletics, Pickering, ON
9. Natalie Mastracci, Rowing, Thorold, ON
10. Sultana Frizell, Athletics, Perth, ON
11. Jacqueline Brooks, Equestrian, Cedar Valley, ON
12. Janine Hanson, Rowing, London, ON
13. Derek Drouin, Athletics, Corunna (Sarnia), ON
14. Natalie Achonwa, (represented by her father, Manny
Achonwa), Basketball, Guelph, ON
15. Blake Worsley, Swimming, Vancouver, BC
16. Jason Burnett, Trampoline, Etobicoke, ON
17. Steph Horner, Swimming, Montreal, QC
18. Crispin Duenas, Archery, Toronto, ON

19. Rachael Burrows, Athletics
20. Joel Dembe, Wheelchair Tennis
21. Leah Robinson, Athletics
22. Robert Joshua Cassidy, Athletics
23. Tracey Ferguson, Wheelchair Basketball
24. Tamara Steeves,Wheelchair Basketball
25. David Blair, Rowing