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10 Olympian-led projects receive the 2021 OLY Canada Legacy Grant in recognition of community impact

TORONTO (December 20, 2021) – On Monday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) awarded 10 Olympian-led projects with 2021 OLY Canada Legacy Grants. The $10,000 grants recognize projects led by Olympians that draw on Olympic values to build stronger communities.

The 2021 grants were awarded in three categories: Service to BIPOC Communities, Society through Sport which support Olympians retired from competition, and the Career Transition category which supports active Olympians planning their future transition out of competition.

Team Canada’s Official Outfitter lululemon partnered with the COC on the initiative this year. With lululemon’s support the 2021 grants have doubled from previous years and include an opportunity for all eligible applicants to participate in a virtual wellness experience and receive official Team Canada products. 

The 2021 OLY Canada Legacy Grant recipients are: 

Service to BIPOC Communities:

Nickolos Farrell, OLY – Boxing 1996
(Hamilton, Ont.)

Farrell Boxing Foundation Non-Profit: A grassroots program that helps local youth develop vital life skills through the teachings of basic boxing techniques. Youth gain increased self confidence, focus, respect and compassion for others. 

Leah Ferguson, OLY – Wrestling 2012
(Winnipeg, Man.) 

Push to North American Indigenous Games 2023: A grassroots wrestling program solely focused on indigenous youth to prepare them for the North American Indigenous Games. NAIG can be a life-changing experience often leading to a chance to attend university for many of these young athletes. 

Emily Nishikawa, OLY – Cross Country Skiing 2014, 2018
(Whitehorse, Yukon) 

Northern LYTES (Linking Youth to Elite Sport): This program was developed as a way to inspire Yukon athletes to continue working hard in their sport and be inspired by Olympians attending their camps. Isolated from the rest of Canada, many of Yukon’s talented athletes do not get the same exposure to high level athletes and expertise that those developing in other parts of the country do. 

Tim Peterson, OLY –  Swimming 2000
(Vancouver, BC)

North Vancouver Cruisers Aquatics Spring Festival:  The Festival, fully subsidized for kids from BIPOC communities, will be an open-door event to invite kids into a welcoming and safe space to discover aquatic sports.

Service to Society through Sport:

Tim Berrett, OLY – Athletics 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008
(Edmonton, Alta.)

Walking Champions de Marche – This project will develop and deliver no-cost school-based programming introducing youth to the life-long benefits of walking. Those range from a means of enhancing physical and mental health, to promoting walking in all its forms as a broadly accessible activity that also offers opportunities for social interaction. 

Guylaine Dumont, OLY –  Beach Volleyball 2004
(Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Que.)

The Spirit of Trust Survivor-Led Programs: These virtual programs aim to ensure victims of maltreatment in sport in Canada have a safe place to go at any stage of their life-long healing journey. Its goal is to show victims they are not alone and that there is hope as they look to reclaim their strength, their voice and their life. 

Oluseyi Smith, OLY – Athletics 2012,  Bobsleigh 2018
(Calgary, Alta.) 

Racing to Zero: This is a growing project/venture in the form of a sports environmental sustainability consulting firm. RTZ will offer its services including carbon emission measurement and analysis, hosting process improvement and providing sustainability education marketing and communications support to sport directors. 

Career Transition:

Cendrine Browne, OLY – Cross Country Skiing 2018
(Mont St-Anne, Que.) 

Féminaction: Cross-country skiing camps for girls ages 13 to 16 from across Quebec aimed at creating a 100% female community where athletes can work and progress together. 

Eli Schenkel, OLY – Fencing 2020
(Vancouver, BC)

S-Class Presents: FENCING FOR ALL: A project aimed at increasing the accessibility of fencing by drastically decreasing the cost of entry and turning any venue into a potential fencing space. Thanks to its virtual and technological components,  participants of all ages can learn the sport safely and without costly equipment. 

Michelle Russell, OLY – Canoe/Kayak 2020
(Halifax, NS) 
Madeline Schmidt, OLY – Canoe/Kayak 2020
(Halifax, NS)

FUNSports – A Halifax-based multi-sport program where youth get to learn up to eight different sports in a year. This free access helps remove barriers to sport participation as the team is now looking to expand across the province. 

For more information on the 2021 OLY Canada Legacy Grant process and the selected projects, visit the OLY Canada website

About OLY Canada

OLY Canada is an alumni initiative that was launched in 2017 by the COC’s Athlete Marketing and Olympian Legacy team. The program was created to complement the global initiative started by the World Olympians Association that gives Olympians post-nominal letters (OLY) in recognition of their years of hard work, dedication and promotion of Olympic values.

QUOTES:

“The 2021 OLY Canada Legacy Grant will allow Northern LYTES to reach and inspire many more Yukon youth this year. We know the impact that Olympic heroes have on youth, and we are thrilled to be able to offer additional support to Yukon sport organizations. Having Olympians travel to Yukon communities provides opportunities these youth would otherwise not have to be inspired to work hard towards their goals in sport and maintain their healthy lifestyles. Being a recipient of the OLY grant will have an enormous impact on the lives of Yukon youth.”

– Emily Nishikawa, OLY – Cross Country Skiing 2014, 2018

“Thanks to this grant, we will be able to continue our mission to improve the retention of women and girls in sport through our Feminaction program. This funding will increase our reach and will help us inspire more athletes! This is terrific news for female sport.”

– Cendrine Browne, OLY – Cross Country Skiing 2018

“We are so proud to welcome lululemon to this important initiative. With its support we are able to help Team Canada Olympians give back to their communities in an even more pronounced way. That we received a record number of applicants speaks to the dedication Olympians have for making a difference in this especially challenging year. I’d also like to thank our selection committee for the near-impossible task of picking this year’s recipients.”

– David Shoemaker, COC Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General

“We are proud to join the Canadian Olympic Committee in honouring the incredible Team Canada Olympians whose ability to elevate their communities across Canada through inclusive local programs is truly inspiring and reflects the values at the heart of lululemon.” 

–  Michelle Davies, lululemon VP of Global Sports Marketing and Partnerships

“Team Canada and lululemon’s partnership was founded on a shared purpose to inspire, unite and transform the world through sport. The OLY Canada Legacy Grants are a clear example of that purpose and will help Olympians past and present positively impact their communities and make sport safer and more inclusive for all Canadians.”

 – Jacquie Ryan, COC Chief Brand and Commercial Officer and CEO Canadian Olympic Foundation

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Josh Su, Specialist, Public Relations
C: 647-464-4060
E: jsu@olympic.ca 

Thomas Hall, Director, Communications and Media Relations
Canadian Olympic Committee
C: 514-709-1054
E: thall@olympic.ca

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