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Murphy Family Awards Help Propel Athletes Towards their Dreams

“It was a blessing. It was a huge blessing to get this bursary.”

For Cynthia Appiah, Canadian bobsleigh pilot, it was the perfect time to learn that was one of the recipients of the Murphy Family Awards.

“Bobsleigh is a very, very expensive winter sport. Our runners alone (the blades upon which the bobsleigh rides) cost anywhere from CDN$10,000 to $12,000 per set. And with monobob being added as a second event at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games, we need double the runners,” she said. 

Appiah was in the process of trying to source and budget for enough runners to maximize her performance during the World Cup season leading up to Beijing. That meant taking into account the two-person sled, the monobob sled, and different runner profiles for ice conditions ranging from frosty or grippy to slick like glass.  

“When I was told that I was a recipient of the Murphy Family Award, I was so thankful. It helped a lot. I don’t know where I’d be right now if I didn’t have the sets of runners to be able to train on,” she said.

Instead, Appiah finds herself enjoying her best-ever World Cup finish in the monobob, claiming a silver medal in Altenberg, Germany in December 2021. That followed a bronze medal win in an Olympic test event in October in Yanqing, China – on the same track that will be the site of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Murphy Family Awards were created by Glenn and Stacey Murphy after they gained an appreciation of the significant financial need of Olympic hopefuls. 

Nominations are made by National Sport Organizations and nominees must meet the established criteria including a high international ranking in their sport and a high probability of representing Team Canada at the upcoming Olympic Games.

In addition to an intense training and competition regime, athletes continue to face challenges associated with COVID-19.

During the off-season, Appiah works for the Toronto Blue Jays as well as with a conference services company to fund her bobsleigh season. But the pandemic has restricted those opportunities for two summers in a row.

“Both sources of my income were completely gone. And so it was a scramble to try and scrounge up money. I hate having to go back to friends and family or consider a ‘GoFundMe’ campaign but I was close to that point,” she said.

“I can’t express my gratitude enough for having received this award. So thank you to the Murphy Family. Thank you to the Canadian Olympic Foundation. Thanks to everyone involved in this. I really appreciate it a lot.”

The Canadian Olympic Foundation is proud to announce the 2021 winter recipients of the Murphy Family Awards: 

Cynthia AppiahBobsleigh
Kristen Campbell and Ella SheltonWomen’s Ice Hockey
Abi StrateSki Jumping
Tristan WalkerLuge

Congratulations to the bursary recipients! 

Thank you to the Murphy family for their philanthropic leadership and commitment to Team Canada. Their support of Canada’s top athletes and Olympic hopefuls offers the critical financial resource to enable top-level training, coaching and competition readiness.

“It’s Olympic season. This is when it really counts. Any dollar amount, no matter how small you think it is, it’s going to help,” said Appiah. 

For more information about the Canadian Olympic Foundation and how you can support Team Canada, please visit