AP Photo/David J. Phillip
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

A day to celebrate the dads of Team Canada

The highs and the lows that can come with sport mean that much more when you have someone looking up to you and cheering you on every step of the way.

This Father’s Day let’s take a look at some of Team Canada’s dads of Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022. Whether it is being a role model for their little ones or cheering their children on as they pursue their own passions, these dads truly are real-life superheroes!

Aaron Brown – Athletics

You might remember Aaron Brown’s son Kingsley from the photo he kept in his bib during the 200m final at Tokyo 2020. After that race Brown was quoted as saying “I run for Canada. I run for my fans. But most importantly I run for my wife and son.”

Kingsley shows up pretty regularly on Brown’s social media. From cheering on his dad to winning some races of his own, this little guy has a bright future and we know that his Olympic medallist father will be cheering him on every step of the way.

Charles Hamelin – Short Track Speed Skating

With six Olympic medals, including four gold, Charles Hamelin is tied as Canada’s most decorated Winter Olympian. He capped off his Olympic career with a gold medal at Beijing 2022, also becoming the first male short track speed skater to win a medal in five different Olympic Games.

a man holds his daughter and waves
Charles Hamelin carries daughter Violette on his celebratory lap around the Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal at the end of the 2022 ISU Short Track World Championships (Photo: Speed Skating Canada)

After announcing his retirement in April 2022 and capping his career with his 38th world championship medal, Hamelin made his last lap around the ice in Montreal with his biggest cheerleader — his daughter Violette — in his arms.

In January 2023, Violette took on the role of big sister as Ludivine arrived to create a happy family of four.

Damian Warner – Athletics

After not only winning gold in the decathlon at Tokyo 2020, but having led the two-day, 10-discipline event from start to finish, you might say that Damian Warner must be a master multi-tasker. That’s a skill we can only assume comes in handy when he is chasing his little buddy — son Theo — around. Should we add professional Theo wrangler to the World’s Greatest Athlete’s resume?

Keegan Messing – Figure Skating

Keegan Messing’s Beijing 2022 experience was a wild one to say the least. Through it all, he never lost sight of his biggest (and smallest) supporter — son Wyatt — who he proudly showed photos of while waiting for his marks in the kiss and cry, as he had done all season.

READ: Keegan Messing ‘stoked on life’ after wild ride to Beijing 2022

After announcing that 2022-23 would be his final competitive season, Messing adjusted his kiss and cry ritual at Skate Canada International in October, showing off sonogram images that revealed he and wife Lane were expecting again. The due date? The day of the men’s free skate during the Canadian championships in January. After winning his second national title, Messing rushed home to Alaska, arriving just in time to welcome daughter Mia into the world.

Brad Gushue – Curling

Landing in St. John’s after being away from The Rock for about six weeks was that much sweeter for Brad Gushue when he and his Olympic bronze medal were welcomed home from Beijing 2022 by his wife, Krista, and their two daughters, Hayley and Marissa. Fun fact: In 2020, Gushue teamed up with his oldest, Hayley, to compete in Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincial mixed doubles championship. Now both girls have been bitten by the curling bug, which seemed a little stressful for dad at the U16 provincials.

Mark Nichols – Curling

In the 16 years between Mark Nichols’ gold at Turin 2006 and bronze at Beijing 2022 — setting with Gushue the Canadian record for longest gap between Winter Olympic medals — he added a couple of kids to his cheer squad. Sons Beckett and Emmett couldn’t wait for him to be back home after the Games, running up to him with hugs as soon as they saw him.

Geoff Walker – Curling

Geoff Walker made his Olympic debut at Beijing 2022 where he was the lead of the bronze medal-winning men’s curling team. He was welcomed back home by his wife Laura and one-year old son Liam, who helped design a sign for his dad at the airport. Not long after, Laura announced on Instagram that their family would be growing. Weston was born in August 2022, adding another member to the Walker cheer squad.

Antoine Valois-Fortier – Judo

Antoine Valois-Fortier has come a long way since he won bronze in his Olympic debut at London 2012. This three-time Olympian can now add being a dad to his list of accomplishments after welcoming his son Louis in February 2022. He’s since become the head coach of Canada’s national judo team, providing guidance to another generation of judokas.

Max Parrot – Snowboard

Three-time Olympic medallist Max Parrot competed for Team Canada at Beijing 2022 less than three years after finishing his treatment for cancer. He won Canada’s first gold of the Games in the men’s snowboard slopestyle event. It was during the Games that Parrot also shared that he was going to be a dad. Three months after returning home he and his fiancée Kayla welcomed baby boy Blake into the world. Parrot took the 2022-23 season away from competition to spend as much time as possible with his little one.

Andre DeGrasse – Athletics

In his first two Olympic Games, Andre De Grasse won six Olympic medals. By reaching the podium in every event he entered, he became Canada’s most decorated male Olympic medallist. But he’s also a dad, raising his two daughters and a stepson. It’s no wonder he wrote a motivational picture book for kids!

Laurent Dubreuil – Long Track Speed Skating

Two-time Olympian Laurent Dubreuil was seen mouthing “I love you” when he stepped on the podium to receive his silver medal at Beijing 2022. When asked about it later he said “That was for my daughter. I’d much rather be winning but she prefers when I finish second because she’s two years old and for her 2 is much better than 1”.

To say that his daughter Rose has him wrapped around her finger would be an understatement. In September 2022, she had to learn how to share her father’s affections with baby brother Nathan.

Ted-Jan Bloemen – Long Track Speed Skating

At PyeongChang 2018, Ted-Jan Bloemen ended an 86-year Olympic medal drought for Canada in long track speed skating’s 5000m and 10,000m events for men. When he laced up his skates again to compete at Beijing 2022 he had another set of tiny hands cheering him on from home — his toddler daughter Fiene.

In November 2022, Baby Bloemen number two was born as son Thias joined the family. That’s a team pursuit squad right there!