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Mark Blinch/COC
Mark Blinch/COC

Meet the 2023 recipients of the Bitove Indigenous Awards

What excites Métis indoor volleyball Next Gen athlete Fynn McCarthy most about competing on the world stage with Team Canada is getting the opportunity to represent his community and Indigenous heritage.

McCarthy is one of six Indigenous athletes being awarded a Bitove Indigenous Award through the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

“As an Indigenous athlete, my community and identity mean everything to me. They are a huge source of strength and motivation. Being Indigenous is a source of pride, and a reminder of the responsibility I have to inspire future generations,” says McCarthy.

“The Indigenous Athlete Award is a tremendous support that will enable me to continue pursuing my passion both in sports and within my community. It provides the financial support needed for training, travel, and access to resources.”

Each year, five Indigenous athletes are awarded the Bitove Indigenous Award and receive $5,000 each to help with the financial costs of training and competing, or to support initiatives that athletes are contributing to within their Indigenous communities. 

Also among the 2023 award recipients is Canada’s first-ever World Champion in ski jump, Olympic bronze medalist and member of the Nihtat Gwich’in Indigenous Community, Alexandria Loutitt.

“My work ethic was inherited from my Gwich’in lineage. Developed through my family’s struggles in the North, perseverance and passion for life was passed down from my grandfather to my father, and then to me. I proudly embody the fight and heart many Indigenous people have used to survive for generations under pressure and oppression,” says Loutitt.

“In the modern world I use it to bring people together and I aim to correctly inform people from around the world about Canada’s rich Indigenous cultures. I proudly fly not just the Canadian flag, but the Indigenous flag of Canada.”

The 19-year-old is actively involved in First Nation schools and activities as well as the Calgary Youth Police Foundation and the Fast & Female charity for girls in sport.

“My greatest reward is seeing the positive change I am creating, influencing young girls and Indigenous athletes to chase their dreams despite it being a daunting challenge, and to influence others to be champions in their respective fields.”

The Canadian Olympic Committee is committed to acting on Calls to Action #87-91 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And last year, the COC unveiled the Team Canada Impact Agenda, a commitment to making sport safe, inclusive and barrier-free so more young people can play and stay in sport. These awards are part of this commitment, recognizing the need to lead a more diverse and inclusive Team Canada to podium success.

The Canadian Olympic Foundation is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of the Indigenous Athlete Awards:

Eric Brown — Swimming (Pointe-Claire, QC)

Eric plans to use the funding to offset college athletics fees, enabling him to continue to train at the highest level in his age category and remain competitive in qualifying for Paris 2024.

Justina Di Stasio — Wrestling (Burnaby, BC)

Justina plans to use award funding to offset medical expenses, such as physio and massage therapy, that help speed up recovery time between training and matches.

Trinity Ellis, OLY — Luge (Pemberton, BC)

Trinity’s funding grants her access to the top high-performance training facilities and staff in the nation by allowing her to move and train in Calgary in the summers leading up to Milano-Cortina 2026.

Liam Gill, OLY — Snowboard (Calgary, AB)

Liam’s funding will be invested into his technical progression as an athlete, covering costs of flights, accommodations, meals and training camps on the road to Milano-Cortina 2026.

Alexandria Loutitt, OLY — Ski Jumping (Calgary, AB)

Using her award funding, Alexandria plans to purchase high-quality, custom-made competition gear, such as ski jumping suits and a new helmet, which will ensure her personal safety and competitive edge on the slopes.

Fynn McCarthy — Indoor Volleyball (Lake Country, BC)

Fynn’s award funding will go towards his overall development as a high performance athlete, such as nutrition, to ensure he stays healthy throughout rigorous training and competition periods.

The Canadian Olympic Foundation thanks the Bitove Family for their investment in supporting Indigenous athletes in Canada through the Bitove Indigenous Awards, established in 2022.